News Links – 2019

Forbes, December 30, 2019: The Rarest Honey In The World Comes From This Near-Extinct Tree In Hawaii

If you’ve taken a stroll through the honey section at any gourmet store, chances are you’ve seen a variety of expensive honeys ranging in taste, flavor, texture and color. It’s crazy to think that there are over 300 types of honey worldwide, each produced by the incredible honeybees that play an enormous role in the pollination of our ecosystem. The rarest honey in the world hails from the Big Island, more specifically a 1000-acre forest named Puako which doubles down as a natural bee habitat. The forest is home to Kiawe, a desert mesquite tree that is native to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which was introduced to the Big Island in 1828. These distinct wispy trees grow up to 60 feet tall and sprout bright yellow flowers from which honeybees collect nectar to produce Kiawe honey. The honeybees that produce this honey almost exclusively feed off this type of tree’s blossoms making the honey nearly 100% monofloral…

Allentown, Pennsylvania, Morning Call, December 30, 2019: From Yuletide icon to dinner for goats: Christmas tree recycling gets creative in the Lehigh Valley

Some kids love Christmas trees more when they don’t come with presents, ornaments or lights. Kids of the four-legged variety, that is. That’s because ― with Yuletide activities in the rearview mirror ― some Lehigh Valley farmers are collecting discarded Christmas trees and providing them to their goats as a nutritious winter treat. The goats eat the needles and bark, and also like to play on the trees. “It’s like putting a plate of cookies in front of toddlers,” said Jessica King, who has 13 goats at Blue Barnyard in Lower Saucon Township. “It’s a boredom buster, and the vitamin C from the needles is really good for them.” King has collected Christmas trees for her Nigerian dwarf dairy goats for the last several years, and they love it. They’ll headbutt each other to see who gets to the tree first. It takes about 24 hours for four goats to strip a tree of its needles and bark, King said. She then burns the rest…

Eureka Alert, December 30, 2019: How do conifers survive droughts? Study points to existing roots, not new growth

As the world warms, a new study is helping scientists understand how cone-bearing trees like pines and junipers may respond to drought. The research addresses a classic question in the field: When conditions are dry for long periods of time, do trees survive by growing new roots to tap water sources, or by relying on established roots that already go deep? The answer, at least for some cone-bearing trees, known as conifers, may be the latter, says Scott Mackay, PhD, professor of geography in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences. Mackay is an expert in ecohydrology and how trees take up water. In the new study, he led a team that used computational modeling to investigate how pines and junipers access water sources during prolonged dry spells. In simulations, trees of both species survived a five-year drought when they entered the dry period with deep roots already reaching into fractured bedrock, where water can be found. These modeled trees also used water in ways that matched well with observations of real trees that successfully weathered drought conditions at the Los Alamos Survival-Mortality (SUMO) experiment site in New Mexico…

Sunset, December 30, 2019: Trees Grow Best When Planted in Square Holes, but You’ve Known That For Awhile

An article published in The Guardian earlier this month has been making the garden news rounds, turning tree planting on its head with the notion that recent scientific research has finally, unequivocally, shown that it’s better to plant trees in square holes than round ones. At first I was like, “What the Sarah Jessica Parker is this?” but it turns out it’s true. It also turns out it’s been known for more than a century and a half. “There is a difference of opinion as to whether the holes should be made square or round,” wrote horticulturist Robert Thompson for The Gardener’s Assistant, Practical and Scientific in 1859. “We much prefer the square form. In the first place, a larger hole can be sooner made; but there is a point of still greater importance. Although the ground may have been well dug, yet, when the (roots) come to the side of the hole, they have to penetrate a firmer medium than that of the more recently loosened soil the limits of the hole, whether this be round or square. In the former case, however, resistance is more direct…”

Warren, Ohio, Tribune Chronicle, December 30, 2019: Downed trees vandalized in Warren

The saga of the downed trees behind the Women’s Park between the Kinsman House and the Perkins House continued Saturday as they were vandalized late Friday night or early Saturday morning. The trees, many of which were healthy, were cut down Dec. 22 to make room for a bocce court for the Italian-American Heritage Festival, which is being moved from Courthouse Square to Perkins Park. The cutting of the trees sparked outrage among some of Warren’s groups and associations dedicated to preservation of historic and significant areas in the city. The vandalization read “Corruption,” “Murder,” “Thanks (expletive)” and “Why Doug?,” an apparent reference to Mayor Doug Franklin. There has been a push for several years to move the festival to the park to alleviate wear and tear on the Square, where food trucks and vendors drive over the slate and onto the grass, according to outgoing Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa, who also is on the Italian-American Heritage Festival committee. Cantalamessa Thursday apologized for not consulting the organizations and “meant no disrespect,” but Courthouse Square is an historic area, too, and with the city owning both properties, a decision had to be made…

San Diego, California, December 29, 2019: Christmas Tree Sparks Electrical Fire, Kills Father and Children in Hemet Fire

The cause of a fire that tore through a Hemet apartment complex Friday morning, leaving a man and three of his children dead, has been determined. Hemet Fire Department and Police Department determined that the cause of the fire was a result of a Christmas tree sparking an electrical fire. The fire was reported about 1:15 a.m. near Alessandro Street and Latham Avenue. Four members of the family of seven were killed after the fire started in their residence and spread to nearby units. The four family members killed in the fire were identified as 41-year-old Juan Moreno, 12-year-old Maria, 4-year-old Janessa and 8-year-old Isaac. Juan Moreno died after entering the burning home in a desperate attempt to rescue the rest of his family, police said. On Saturday, the aunt of 8-year-old Isaac Moreno confirmed to NBC4 he had died from his injuries. He was previously hospitalized in grave condition…

Providence, Rhode Island, Journal, December 29, 2019: Consumers’ hunt for green December a boon for Christmas tree farms

While Mother Nature and the lingering effects of recession created challenges for some New England Christmas tree growers and retailers this year, many experienced a brisk early business driven in part by growing demand for an all-natural holiday. James Horst, executive director of the New Hampshire-Vermont Christmas Tree Association, which represents about 200 primarily wholesale growers in the two states, said it was a good year for the industry. “We had quite a few calls from customers who weren’t previous customers who were looking for trees,” said Horst, who has 60,000 to 70,000 trees on a farm in Bennington, Vermont. Horst believes most, if not all, wholesale tree growers sold out their crops this year. Stephen Higgins, president of the Maine Christmas Tree Association, said it was a “seller’s market” this year. Tree shortages in parts of the Midwest and South, created in part by growers who scaled back on plantings after losing business during the recession, had buyers seeking trees in New England and Canada. Considering it can take eight to 10 years to grow a Christmas tree, that contributed to a tighter supply…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, December 29, 2019: Mystery log stumps tree expert

First of all, I hope everyone had a merry Christmas, and I also hope you’ll have a happy New Year. I really enjoy this time of year because of the chance to celebrate the birth of Christ and the family get-togethers, and I hope everybody else does too. I don’t, however, think much of the short periods of daylight that pass for a workday, but I already know that no cloud is all silver lining. Oh well. By the end of the month, days will start getting longer, which is important to trees, and the slowly lengthening days will start teeing up spring, even in the depths of winter (which is just starting). Recently, when I was handling some tree debris, it got me thinking about how often trees and tree products are misidentified. The particular logs I was handling at the time were very aromatic pieces of wood that looked like big, beautiful chunks of red cedar. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most people would have looked at that tree when it was standing and confidently said that it was a cedar. Frankly, and I know this seems odd, while I personally wasn’t sure what kind of tree it was, I do know the different species of trees that are actually cedars, and this tree wasn’t one of those. I’m fairly confident that it was a cypress or juniper of some kind…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, December 26, 2019: Someone chopped down the lone tree in ‘world’s smallest park,’ Portland’s Mill Ends Park

Portland’s smallest park, tucked into a median on Naito Parkway, is now bare, thanks to the work of some criminally minded fiend — or fiends — who cut down the park’s only tree. According to OPB, a stump is all that’s left of the tree that was planted in the 2-foot-wide Mill Ends Park, which the Guinness World Record book lists as the world’s smallest park. This isn’t the first time someone has stolen a tree from the tiny park. OPB reported that someone took a sapling from the park six years ago but dropped it back a few days later, and it was replanted in Mount Tabor Park. A park employee said that it’s more common for people to drop items off at the park than take them away, but said he did not know what had happened to the tree…

USA Today, December 27, 2019: Can you guess what happens to unsold Christmas trees?

Firs. Pines. Spruces. Cedars. Millions of these prickly evergreens are chopped, shipped, sold and decorated every holiday season. In fact, roughly 96 million American households are expected to put up a Christmas during the holidays, according to an annual survey from the American Christmas Tree Association, and 19% of those are live trees. But what happens to the lonely trees with sparse spots and broken limbs that never make it to a toasty family room corner? Many are chopped up, ground down and fed to plants and animals, according to Rocco Malanga, the owner of Cedar Grove Christmas Trees in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. “On a commercial level, they become wood chips that are made into mulch,” Malanga said. “That’s very common. Aside from that, they go to farms for livestock. But if we’ve done our job correctly, there’s not a lot that we have to deal with…”

Washington, D.C., Post, December 24, 2019: He was arrested for disturbing the peace with his lawn mower. His neighbors ‘could not take it anymore,’ police said.

A Florida man spent Christmas Eve in jail for being a naughty neighbor. Robert Wayne Miller of Zephyrhills, Fla., was arrested Sunday around 9 p.m. for disturbing the peace with his lawn mower, according to a Pasco County complaint affidavit. He faces misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. In body-camera footage obtained by WFLA, Miller’s lawn mower can be heard idling in the background as Deputy Michael O’Donnell, who responded to the complaint, approached Miller’s property. O’Donnell called out to Miller, and Miller revved the engine of his mower. Miller had no-trespassing signs on his property, so O’Donnell tried to coax him to the patrol car to serve him his citation for disturbing the peace after being served a warning. Miller refused to go with O’Donnell, so he said he was placing Miller under arrest and warned him that things would get worse if he didn’t cooperate. “I’m placing you under arrest for disturbing the peace, so either you come out of here or I’m going to drop more charges on you,” O’Donnell told him. “You can either go now, or I’m going to have more charges for you and you’re going to have us up here every night.” “For what?” Miller replied. “For disturbing the peace.” O’Donnell said. Then the deputy appears to point to houses around the neighborhood. “I’ve had your neighbor there come out and tell me she can’t take it anymore, I’ve had that neighbor, I’ve had that neighbor, I’ve had that neighbor; I’ve had four people come out and tell me that they can’t take it anymore.” “Whatever,” Miller replied. Then he went back and turned on his lawn mower again…

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Journal, December 27, 2019: Parallel efforts are close to reviving the American chestnut tree

It is hard to overstate the value and cultural importance of the American chestnut tree for those who came before us. The native hardwood was once so ubiquitous, it has been said, that a squirrel could travel from Maine to Georgia in the chestnut canopy. The largest trees, spreading 100 feet or more, dropped 10 bushels of nuts, and in the fall the ground was covered with a nut blanket four inches deep, sociologist Donald E. Davis writes in a 2005 paper. The bears and turkeys feasted, the farmer’s hogs feasted, and the people who lived in chestnut territory feasted — on that sweetened Appalachian ham but also on the economic value of the trees and their nuts. The chestnut’s arrow-straight timber was valued for its size and rot resistance and today endures in the posts and beams of old farmhouses and barns

Lincoln, Nebraska, Journal Star, December 25, 2019: Ash borer update: Some trees to get reprieve; replanting plans not taking root everywhere

Not all of Lincoln’s ash trees are destined to turn to dust. Most will still face a death sentence, because the city’s war on the emerald ash borer relies heavily on removal. Its chainsaws took out another 1,000 public trees this year, bringing the three-year total to about 1,900. But officials will soon start identifying what they call high-value trees, whose size, significance, health and location could make them candidates for long-term — and more costly — chemical treatment. “We anticipated there would be some public trees that were important enough that we would continue to treat those,” said Lynn Johnson, director of the Parks and Recreation Department. “We would want them to be trees that are in good enough condition they have many years of anticipated life.” He pointed to possibilities: The five mature trees that shade tiny Witherbee Park near 44th and N streets; and the autumn purple ash that line both sides of Goodhue Boulevard just south of the Capitol, between G and H streets. But it’s early in the process. They haven’t established selection criteria yet — he’ll ask the Community Forestry Advisory Board for help with that — and they don’t know how much money they’ll have to work with…

San Francisco, California, Examiner, December 25, 2019: Man killed after tree falls in Muir Woods

A man was killed by falling debris when a tree fell in Muir Woods in Marin County Tuesday, a county fire captain said. A 29-year-old man was killed around 4:30 p.m. in the Hillside Trail area, Capt. Ben Ghisletta said. A tree fell and it fell into other trees, causing some large debris to hit the man, Ghisletta said. Another person suffered injuries not considered life-threatening and was taken to Marin General Hospital. Ghisletta said what caused the tree to fall isn’t clear. As of Christmas morning, the area where the tree fell was closed to the public for safety reasons…

Raleigh, North Carolina, News & Observer, December 25, 2019: When you’re done making merry, your Christmas tree can make mulch

One way to end the season of giving on a sparkling note is to recycle that fragrant fresh Christmas tree as a benefit to the environment. Wake, Johnston and Durham counties, along with some local municipalities, collect or accept used trees from right after Christmas until after the new year. Raleigh residents can leave their bare Christmas trees (no decorations, no lights, no tinsel, no tree stands) at the curb and crews will pick them up on your regular recycling day. Trees will be turned into mulch for local parks. Real trees only; artificial trees cannot be recycled. Information about recycling other holiday detritus is available on the city’s website. Wake County residents can drop off their trees to be used in the Happy Trails Christmas Tree Recycling program, which accepts trees for one month, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 26. You can take old tannenbaum to any of eight drop-off locations: four county convenience centers and four county parks. The trees need to be clear of all ornaments, tinsel and twinkling lights…

Vancouver, Washington, The Columbian, December 25, 2019: 2 renowned scientists warn Amazon ‘tipping point is here, it is now’

Continued deforestation and other fast-moving changes in the Amazon threaten to turn parts of the rainforest into savanna, devastate wildlife and release billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere, two renowned experts warned Friday. “The precious Amazon is teetering on the edge of functional destruction and, with it, so are we,” Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University and Carlos Nobre of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, both of whom have studied the world’s largest rainforest for decades, wrote in an editorial in the journal Science Advances. “Today, we stand exactly in a moment of destiny: The tipping point is here, it is now.” Combined with recent news that the Arctic permafrost may be beginning to fill the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, and that Greenland’s ice sheet is melting at an accelerating pace, it’s the latest hint that important parts of the climate system may be moving toward irreversible changes at a pace that defies earlier predictions. The speed of the transformation in some key planetary systems, such as Greenland’s ice and the Arctic’s permafrost, has “indeed been underestimated by climate science,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “And that’s partly because we cannot really capture them well in our models…”

Seattle, Washington, KUOW Radio, December 23, 2019: A Jolly Good Year for Christmas Tree Farmers

For the first time in years, it’s a wonderful time to grow Christmas trees. Christmas tree growers say 2019 has been the industry’s best year in decades — in part because of a number of bad years, says Chal Landgren, a Christmas tree specialist at Oregon State University. Landgren grows trees on a five-acre farm north of Portland, Oregon, and says seedlings planted in 2019 have seen good rates of survival. That wasn’t the case from 2015 to 2018, when dry, hot summers led growers to plan for losses. “Some of them lost their entire crop in those years,” he says. “And it was hard to get seedlings because people were trying to back up two or three years worth of seedling loss.” The industry’s good year comes alongside an increase in demand: A study by the National Christmas Tree Association found a 20% spike in real Christmas tree purchases during 2018. A spokesperson told CNN millennials are driving the influx in sales. But Landgren predicts the industry will see another decline in production in about six years because of that aforementioned seedling loss. In 2006, 800 licensed Christmas tree farmers grew almost 7 million trees, he says. Now, following a period of oversupply, he estimates about 366 growers produced 4.5 million trees…

Futurism, December 23, 2019: Farmers Could Use Drones to Grow Better Christmas Trees

Researchers at North Carolina State University are exploring the use of drones to monitor the growth of Christmas trees in the Blue Ridge Mountains. “Instead of going out and measuring individual trees, a person could fly a drone,” research associate Justyna Jeziorska said in a statement. That could prove especially handy since the most popular Christmas tree species in the area, the Fraser fir, grows best in mountainous areas and on steep slopes. Drones have been used to 3D-scan natural landscapes in the past, but current landscape analysis software tends to make individual trees appear like short domes rather than anything that actually looks like a tree. That makes the process of analyzing the trees’ height and diameter near impossible, which is why the NC State team is developing new 3D-processing techniques. In addition to monitoring the Christmas trees’ size, drones could also tell farmers if the trees are diseased by detecting discoloration or even spray herbicides and pesticides on them from above, according to the researchers…

Forbes, December 23, 2019: Trees That Have Survived Millions Of Years Feared Lost In Recent Bushfires

The Wollemia pine is a species in the Araucariaceae, a family of coniferous trees dating back at least 110 million years. Believed to be extinct since the Cretaceous, some 65 million years ago, Wollemia was only known through fossil records until the Australian species Wollemia nobilis was discovered in 1994 in a temperate rainforest wilderness area of the Wollemi National Park in the northern Blue Mountains in eastern Australia. In the geological past widespread, today the Wollemia pine can be found only in four small patches in a remote series of narrow, steep-sided sandstone gorges, with an estimated 250 individual trees growing within a two miles radius. As the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service officers confirmed yesterday, a large bushfire in the Gospers Mountain, part of the Blue Mountains range, swept across firebreaks and barriers that had been laid down to protect the trees. Fires have burnt more than 220,000 hectares throughout the Blue Mountains. At the moment, the extent of the fire damage at the Wollemia sites is unknown. There is evidence the original trees have survived fires in the past, according to Dr. Maurizio Rossetto, a senior principal research scientist at the National Herbarium of NSW. Surviving adult trees are believed to be over 1,000 years old and some of the trunks are black and charred, suggesting that the trees can survive bushfires of a certain intensity. Bushfires may be a problem for saplings or young specimens; without a thick, protective bark, they likely can’t survive…

Montgomery, Alabama, Advertiser, December 24, 2019: Recycled Christmas trees to enhance Alabama’s fish habitat

Montgomery citizens can give their Christmas tree a life beyond the holidays by recycling their trees. The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Department is using recycled trees to enhance fish habitat in 20 small public fishing lakes across state. Recycled Christmas trees attract more fish than any other habitat type, according to a press release from the ALWFF. “Unfortunately, these trees break down quickly and attract fish only for a few years and must be replaced with newer trees,” the press release reads…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV, December 22, 2019: North Carolina farmers use genetics to grow the ‘perfect’ Christmas trees

North Carolina growers hope their newest project will create the perfect Christmas tree. Jeff Owen, a tree specialist with North Carolina State University’s N.C. State Extension, says the Christmas tree business is booming in the state. “We are probably shipping Fraser firs to almost every state in the country,” he said. Officials say North Carolina is the number two state for growing Christmas trees and that it brings in about $250 million every year from the harvest. There’s one issue, though — when Christmas tree farmers plant seeds every year, they have no way of knowing if the seeds will yield a good tree or a bad one. A lot of the Fraser firs that are sold today are grown from native seed, and that seed represents the population of trees in the forest — not necessarily ones that make the best Christmas tree,” Owen said. The N.C. State Extension is working with the College of Natural Resources and the State Agriculture Department on a project that uses genetics to remove “bad seeds…”

Norfolk, Virginia, The Virginian-Pilot, December 21, 2019: Virginia seeing sudden surge in deaths of oak trees around state, foresters say

Around mid- to late summer, Adam Downing started receiving about double the number of calls he usually does about oak trees dying. Downing is a forestry and natural resources agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and he could tell this was a “pretty significant increase” in calls, mainly from homeowners. He’d even noticed one oak, which he passed each day on his drive to work, go from healthy to being removed. Particularly strange was how quickly the trees seemed to perish. “Generally, trees die slowly,” he said. This “was a sudden browning of leaves. That was different. “This is acute.” Though there aren’t yet any hard numbers, tree experts around the commonwealth say they’ve seen more oaks dying this year than is typical. Most of them are white oaks in urban environments…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2019: Christmas Trees: Is Bigger…Worse?

What is the right size Christmas tree to fit a room? “The biggest damn tree you can fit through the front door,” my mother believed. To accommodate a massive Scotch pine dripping with silver icicle tinsel, she decorated the living room with what she called “placeholder furniture”— a lowboy cabinet and armless rocker which, every December, she moved to the basement. Each year my father swore as he lugged a too-big tree into the house and got it into place, but she pronounced it a “Christmas miracle.” I consider myself more flexible on seasonal décor than my mother—who did not believe in fake trees, blinking lights or tree toppers other than angels with lacy wings. But every year I want a gigantic Christmas tree that requires the angel to hunch over, crunched against the ceiling. My husband would prefer a smaller tree. “Don’t you think a tabletop tree looks classy?” he asks every year. No, I do not. After decades of marriage, however, I understand the value of avoiding a public fight in the middle of the pop-up Christmas tree lot next to the highway. So before we headed out this year, I sought professional advice about how to choose the right size Christmas tree…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, December 22, 2019: The little-known, parasitic mistletoe stunting B.C. trees

Every so often, David Rusch climbs into his white pickup truck and rumbles up a gravel forest service road into the endless lodgepole pine forests surrounding Williams Lake, B.C. He’s on the hunt for mistletoe, and not the festive kind. Rusch is tracking local dwarf mistletoe because it’s a destructive, explosive parasite that races through the woods and sucks the life from trees at a blistering pace. Rusch, a veteran forest pathologist with province’s Ministry of Forests, can spot bristly clusters of infection sapping strength from a single, free-standing tree as the truck lurches past. “You get the eye for it after a bit,” he said. Managed properly, dwarf mistletoe is a normal, even healthy part of B.C.’s forest ecosystem, but improper management and natural disasters can clear the way for infestations that stunt fledgling trees and wreck up to 40 per cent of the volume — and profitability — of a forest. It’s such a troublesome pest because failure to consider the mistletoe will doom young trees before they have a chance to grow and replenish the forest. It plays a role in how companies plan to regenerate an area after harvesting its lumber…

Silicon Republic, December 19, 2019: ‘World’s oldest forest’ sheds fascinating insight into tree evolution

Scientists have uncovered the world’s oldest forest dating back 386m years in an abandoned New York quarry, according to a new study. Fossils of a network of trees believed to be wiped out by a flood were found in the sandstone quarry in the town of Cairo, throwing new light on the evolution of trees and their role in shaping the world. A team led by scientists from Cardiff University, Binghamton University in New York, as well as New York State Museum, have mapped out 3,000 sq meters of the forgotten forest in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in the Hudson Valley. It is believed to be around two or three million years older than what was previously thought to be the world’s oldest forest in Gilboa, also in New York State, some 40km away. The Cairo forest is believed to be older than Gilboa’s because its fossils were lower down in the sequence of rocks. The scientists say the extensive network of trees, which would have spread from New York all the way into Pennsylvania and beyond, was possibly wiped out by a flood due to the many fish fossils found on the surface of the quarry…

Houghton, Michigan, Michigan Technological University, December 19, 2019: Rethinking the Supply Chain to Save Endangered Trees

A Michigan Tech Forest Biomaterials researcher is working with the U.S. Army and the U.S. Forest Service to identify sustainable hardwood products for military trailers. Apitong trees, native to Southeast Asian rainforests, have existed on Earth for more than 100 million years. Apitong trees can grow upwards of 200 feet tall, and one can imagine dinosaurs enjoying the leathery, prominently veined leaves for lunch. The tree’s flowers are palm-sized and starfish-like, their five petals tilted like a pinwheel in spin. Southeast Asian rainforests are some of the most biodiverse areas of earth, with up to 1,200 different tree species per hectare. The beautiful and lofty Apitong trees, which include more than 40 subspecies of the Dipterocarpus genus, are also internationally recognized as critically endangered, with overharvesting threatening to soon end their eons-long tenure. The wood was incorrectly perceived by the Army and the commercial trailer industry as being resistant to rot and pests, a perception that has for decades made Apitong lumber the choice material for trailer decking and other applications. Virgin Apitong (also known as Keruing) stands are currently being clear-cut on a wide-scale — often illegally and with disregard to local indigenous peoples — to make way for palm oil monoculture plantations. For some decades, the Army has relied on the wood from Apitong trees for trailer decking. The trailers are used to transport supplies, equipment and vehicles. Army trailer decks must be, in a word, rugged. The wooden decks are exposed to sun and heat, rain, microbes, insects, abrasion, rough roads and general abuse…

Baltimore, Maryland, WBAL-TV, December 20, 2019: Beware of the fire dangers of dry Christmas trees

Whether your Christmas tree is natural or artificial, improper care can turn a holiday hallmark into a holiday tragedy. On Thursday, researchers at the University of Maryland College Park demonstrated the fire hazards Christmas trees can pose. When a well-watered, natural Christmas tree caught fire, it did not immediately burst into flames. But when an un-watered Christmas tree caught fire, it ignited fast. Officials said they hope it serves as a reminder to make sure your tree is properly watered. “These fires are not incredibly common. It’s not like we are having thousands of them every year, but they are persistent. We have several hundred of them a year. And when they do happen compared to other home structure fires, they are three to four times more deadly,” said Isaac Leventon, of the fire research division. Fire experts said artificial trees aren’t free from concern. If a fake tree catches fire, it can release harmful toxins into the air. The best way to stay safe is make sure your tree gets plenty of water, keep it away from any heat sources and when it starts drop its needles, throw it away…

Phys.org, December 19, 2019: Understanding the mechanisms of seemingly chaotic synchronization in trees

The synchronization of seed production by trees has garnered attention due to its importance in agriculture, forestry and ecosystem management. Acorns shed by oak trees, for example, are an important source of food for wildlife, while crop trees such as citrus and pistachio nuts contribute to both human nutrition and the economy. Both oaks and citrus trees show synchronization of seed production, yet the cycles differ, with oaks showing irregular seed synchronization, while citrus show a distinct two-year cycle, known as alternate bearing. Understanding the timing and mechanisms that contribute to synchronized seeding can be a useful management tool. A team of scientists led by Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) have developed a method that can be used to model the wide range of synchronization behaviors exhibited by different tree species simply by changing the control parameters. Their findings were published on October 30, 2019 in Scientific Reports…

KUOW Radio, Seattle, Washington, Two new Seattle council members pledge stronger tree protections in 2020

More safeguards for Seattle’s trees. That’s something two newly elected Seattle City Council members say they want to secure in legislation next year. In a briefing Wednesday, scientists told the council members that trees help counter storm water runoff and heat waves associated with climate change. Critics said Seattle’s current rules are too lax and fall short of what other cities like Portland are doing to increase tree canopy. Columbia City resident Susan Zeman said Seattle can find a way to combine growth with the benefits of tree preservation. “I am not anti-development,” she said. “I am aware that by promoting urban density we are reducing suburban and exurban density and all of the tree-cutting and climate change that comes along with that.” Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen and Councilmember-elect Dan Strauss said they’re committed to passing new legislation in 2020…

Kenosha, Wisconsin, News, December 18, 2019: Village to revive ‘Twelfth Night’ tree bonfire tradition

The village is reviving a fiery tradition in order to dispose of discarded Christmas trees. A Twelfth Night tree-burning bonfire, which last took place 26 years ago, will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 6 at the RecPlex Wruck (Beach) Pavilion, located along Park Drive on the west side of Lake Andrea in Prairie Springs Park. The event began in 1980 and continued through 1993, with residents gathering around the fire to sing songs and share holiday treats. According to village officials and the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society, both Pleasant Prairie and Kenosha hosted the ceremonies to dispense with dried Christmas trees…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, December 17, 2019: Firefighters Rescue German Shepherd That Chased Cat Up A Tree

It’s the type of 911 call dog owner Sharon Thurston says she never expected to make. “I was so scared. Like that dog is my baby, like she’s everything to me,” Thurston said. On Saturday, Thurston says she took her two-year-old German Shepherd “Baby” off her leash for just a few minutes when she ran off. Moments later, Thurston heard Baby barking and realized her pooch had gotten into a precarious position. I looked up and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s going to fall,’” she said. It turns out, Baby booked it up a branch in pursuit of cat. “I called all my neighbors and was like, ‘Guys help me’ you know? And somebody suggested I called the fire department,” Thurston said. As soon as firefighters got that call, they couldn’t believe it…

Visualistan, December 17, 2019: Christmas Trees: The Battle Between Pine & Plastic

The time before Christmas is synonymous with shopping – and not only for presents. During the early and mid-December, a majority of American families go on a tree shopping outing to find the perfect tree for their Christmas gifts. Once the tree is found, it is lugged home and decorated to its finest glory. But did you know that many families are gradually starting to experiment with plastic trees too? Fake Christmas trees provide convenience – and one can simply pack up the tree after Christmas is over to reuse the next year. The price of tree is another factor that many shoppers consider. According to National Christmas Tree Association of America, the price of a real tree went up to $78 in 2017 while plastic trees can easily be purchased for around $105. Sales of replica Christmas trees is also increasing gradually and reached more than 23 million in 2018. During the same year, 32.8 million real trees were sold in America – the highest total since 2013. However, despite the sales, farmers claim to plant fewer numbers of trees during the recession and thus supply of real trees can be limited this year. So does this mean, more US families will opt for plastic trees for Christmas 2019 or follow the traditional protocol of pine…

Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, December 17, 2019: Anne Arundel, Howard take steps to preserve trees as researchers develop a map of forest loss across Maryland

Researchers are building a map of nearly every tree across Maryland to learn whether state forests need better protection — but leaders of some counties aren’t waiting for the results to act. Lawmakers in Anne Arundel and Howard counties have in recent weeks adopted significant changes to forest conservation rules, requiring developers to replant more of the trees they cut down. Advocates already are pushing for similar actions in other parts of Maryland, after two years of debate produced no resolution over similar policies at the state level. Reform of the state’s overarching forest preservation laws still could be coming. Aerial images being gathered now could settle a disagreement between environmentalists and builders about whether tree cover is dwindling as new housing and shopping centers pop up around the state. Forest advocates say that, under current state law, builders can clear densely forested land with no requirement to replant any trees, but their opponents argue there is no evidence of a net loss in trees. Analysis of the data, which was due to state lawmakers this month, is now not expected to be completed until next summer. But early glimpses of it suggest tree losses in Central Maryland, at least, could be mounting…

Fenton, Missouri, Times, December 17, 2019: Real Christmas tree sales are growing

On Saturday, Dec. 14, the Sweeney family partook in their annual tradition — choosing and cutting down a real Christmas tree at Branching Out Nursery and Landscaping. “We do this every year,” said Dan Sweeney of Fenton. “Bring the family and go tree hunting.” This family includes wife Jean, sons and their significant others, grandchildren and dogs. Once the right Fraser Fir was chosen, son Jeffrey Sweeney of Westland cut it and then they all rode back on the trailer. Jeffrey loaded it up with nursery employee Tyler Petts. While Christmas trees are mostly the same as they’ve ever been, people are buying them earlier in the year, and starting to buy bigger again. Branching Out co-owner Art Vance said sales of 13-foot Fraser Firs increased by 20 percent. The time of the year for sales is also shifting. Co-owner Dave Petts said they sold 10 trees before Thanksgiving, which he said has never happened before. The peak used to be this past weekend — mid-December, but now it’s closer to Thanksgiving. They also see sales first thing in the morning, which was rare in previous years…

Seattle, Washington, Post-Intelligencer, December 17, 2019: As California thins forests to limit fire risk, some resist

Buzzing chainsaws are interrupted by the frequent crash of breaking branches as crews fell towering trees and clear tangled brush in the densely forested Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco. Their goal: To protect communities such as Redwood Estates, where giant redwoods loom over the houses of tech workers who live in the wooded community just 20 miles from the heart of Silicon Valley. With California’s increasingly warm, dry and overgrown landscape, wildfire has become a perpetual danger. Among the most important tools the state has against fires is to mimic their effects: thinning trees and brush by hand to reduce the amount of vegetation that would become fuel in a fire, and using controlled burns to keep undergrowth and shrub lands in check. State lawmakers committed more than $200 million annually to fire prevention efforts and Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to spend even more, motivated by infernos such as one last year that killed 85 people in Paradise, California, some who died in their cars while trying to flee…

Science Daily, December 17, 2019: In ancient Scottish tree rings, a cautionary tale on climate, politics and survival

Using old tree rings and archival documents, historians and climate scientists have detailed an extreme cold period in Scotland in the 1690s that caused immense suffering. It decimated agriculture, killed as much as 15 percent of the population and sparked a fatal attempt to establish a Scottish colony in southern Panama. The researchers say the episode — shown in their study to have been during the coldest decade of the past 750 years — was probably caused by faraway volcanic eruptions. But it was not just bad weather that brought disaster. Among other things, Scotland was politically isolated from England, its bigger, more prosperous neighbor that might have otherwise helped. Propelled in part by the catastrophe, the two nations merged in 1707 to become part of what is now the United Kingdom. Such a famine-related tragedy was never repeated, despite later climate swings. With Brexit now threatening to isolate the UK from the European Union, the researchers think politicians should take this as a cautionary tale. “By joining England, Scotland became more resilient,” said lead author Rosanne D’Arrigo, a tree-ring scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “The bigger message for today is arguably that as the climate changes, nations will be stronger if they stick together and not try to go it alone.” The study appears in the early online edition of the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat, December 16, 2019: Trees power up fishing at Swepco Lake

There’s a healthier forest around Swepco Lake and better habitat for fish thanks to a week of teamwork on land and water. Workers from Southwestern Electric Power Co. and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission thinned the forest of more than 500 trees on 1,600 acres of power company property. The trees were sunk in the lake to become much needed fish habitat. The growl of chain saws filled the forest Dec. 3-6 around the 500-acre Swepco Lake that is one of Northwest Arkansas’ favorite fishing lakes, especially during winter. Warm water released from the Swepco coal-fueled Flint Creek Power Plant keeps the lake temperature springtime warm even in January. Fishing for black bass is excellent and may get even better with the added trees. Game and Fish does two major habitat improvement projects each year around the state, said Jon Stein, Northwest Arkansas fisheries biologist with Game and Fish. He and biologist Kevin Hopkins manage the fisheries at Swepco, Beaver and other lakes and streams in the region. Swepco was tabbed for a project this year. A platoon of Game and Fish employees from around the state joined power company workers to complete the task. Trees beneficial to wildlife, such as acorn-bearing oaks, were left standing. Most trees removed were small to medium sized elm and hickory and cedar trees…

Oakland, California, KTVU-TV, December 16, 2019: 100-year-old walnut tree damaged in Tubbs Fire reborn; family finds renewal

A Sonoma County family that lost their home in the Tubbs Fire has come full circle with the return of their iconic tree. “It was about 115 years old according to several arborists,” said Brad Sherwood of Larkfield Estates, describing how the sprawling walnut tree anchored his front yard and was a longtime neighborhood landmark. Sunday night, after a two year absence, the tree came back to the household as a custom table weighing 800 lbs. By Monday night, Brad and Brandy Sherwood, with children Grant and June, were making good use of it with a spirited board game. “It’s beautiful, it’s more than we ever expected,” said Brandy, admiring the live edge table melded from four pieces, with a blue resin accent resembling a river, running down the middle. In the firestorm of October 2017, the Sherwood’s home burned, along with most of their subdivision…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WHYY Radio, December 16, 2019: On the tree farm, a Christmas favorite thrives. In the wild, it struggles

On the first day of cutting at Joey Clawson’s Christmas tree farm, in the mountains outside Boone, North Carolina, four workers picked their way through Fraser firs planted in neat rows. It took just a few seconds to chainsaw each tree, which Clawson has spent years pampering. He has about 95,000 trees in the ground, of various sizes and ages. For nearly a decade before harvest, workers fertilize individual trees by hand, shape them one by one with giant machetes, and, if needed, help them fight pests. “It’s four to five months that I’m out here weekly, with magnifying glass, checking bunches of trees in every field,” Clawson said. “That’s a lot of hours I’m spending taking care of my trees.” Pests have become a problem on tree farms like Clawson’s, which tend to be lower in altitude than the trees’ native range. If Clawson spots an outbreak — of various aphids, mites, hemlock scale, or the balsam woolly adelgid — he sprays with insecticide. All in the name of a perfect Christmas tree…

The Street, December 16, 2019: How Much Does a Christmas Tree Cost in 2019?

Decking the halls in holiday style will cost a few more dollars this year, as the average price of a real Christmas Tree will rise to $81. That’s up from $78 in 2018, according to the National Christmas Tree Association (yes, there is such a thing.) The average fake Christmas tree costs significantly more, at over $104 a tree, although some luxury model trees can go for as much as $700 this year. Buyers still love their fake trees, however, as 24 million units were sold in 2018, up 12% from the year before. The association says that inventory on “live trees” is tighter this year, which has triggered a moderate bump-up in prices for holiday trees. Additionally, unseasonable weather in key evergreen tree states like Oregon and Michigan, along with fewer trees planted during and immediately after the Great Recession over a decade ago has also contributed to higher Christmas tree prices in 2019. Prices for holiday trees have also doubled since 2008, when the average price of a tree stood at $36.50. Yet even as prices rise, holiday consumers are still digging deeper and buying trees. In 2018, consumers spent over $2 billion on 32.8 million Christmas trees…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, December 15, 2019: Recession prompts Christmas tree shortage a decade later

Just a few days into December, John Hamill has received a number of queries from worried callers: Does he still have Christmas trees available at his Roanoke farm? Their concern is prompted by a national Christmas tree shortage, a consequence of the economic downturn of the late 2000s that’s being felt a decade later. But industry experts say holiday revelers in search of a tree should be able to find one. “I tell them it’s not serious enough for panic,” Hamill said. Robert O’Keeffe, a board member of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association, said the recession is to blame for the nationwide shortage. Farmers planted fewer trees when the economy was weak. O’Keeffe said the industry is now in a “game of catch-up.” And given that it takes 10 to 12 years for a Fraser fir — “Cadillac of the Christmas trees,” O’Keeffe said — to grow up to 6 or 8 feet in height, the shortage is likely to continue beyond 2019. “It’s going to be like this for a few years,” he said…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, December 15, 2019: Tempers flare over toppled apple trees in Londonderry

Some residents say Woodmont Commons developers overstepped when they cut down more apple trees from a roadside than originally permitted, but town officials say the vague wording in the master plan allows for the clearing. In August 2013, as the master plan for the mixed-use development was being finalized, a group of residents organized a number of rallies in the hopes of preserving some of the apple trees that lined the roadways. They succeeded when the master plan stipulated that three rows of apple trees be kept on the frontage of Gilcreast Road, along with one row of trees on Hovey Road and Pillsbury Road. But crews hired by Woodmont developer Pillsbury Realty Development took down all but two rows on Gilcreast Road last Tuesday, leaving some residents outraged. Resident Jack Falvey was part of the original group that formed Save Woodmont Apple Trees. Falvey told the Union Leader he believes the developers are taking down more trees than agreed upon and he says they are motivated by greed. “(There were) 10,000 trees and they had to have 100 more,” Falvey said. He said the trees are an important feature of historical and cultural significance and an aesthetically pleasing screen from development

Harrisonburg, Virginia, Daily News Record, December 15, 2019: Trees planted to help improve Chesapeake Bay watershed

Steve and Rose Harvey brought their kids, Geneveive, 6, and Oliver, 3, from Front Royal to plant trees at a farm in Timberville Saturday (Dec. 7) as part of an effort to have healthier livestock and streams and rivers. But to the Harveys, it was also about teaching their children the importance of being environmentally conscious. “It takes an effort to keep our environment safe and healthy — we can’t be passive about it,” Steve Harvey said. “We are aware of this need and decided we wanted to help.” He said the No. 1 thing people can do to slow down and reverse the damage that is being done is to plant trees. More than 300 trees were planted Saturday at Nico and Barbara Sutmoller’s farm through a project spearheaded by the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, with support from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.The agencies have worked together on projects like the one at the Sutmollers’ property as part of an ongoing effort to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which includes Rockingham County…

Global News Canada, December 15, 2019: Clearcutting B.C. forests contributing more to climate change than fossil fuels: report

While B.C. aims to drastically cut fossil fuel emissions, a new report from an environmental action group says the province should end an even more dangerous contributor to climate change: clearcutting forests. The report released last week by Sierra Club BC found 3.6 million hectares of forest were clearcut across B.C. between 2005 and 2017 — an area larger than the size of Vancouver Island. Those areas are considered “sequestration dead zones” for 13 years after they’re clearcut. That means until newly-planted trees grow and mature, the areas release more carbon into the atmosphere from decomposing matter and soil than those young trees can capture and absorb. After reviewing provincial data, the report found logging in B.C. contributes 42 million tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Add on the 26 million tonnes of carbon per year that cannot be captured because of clearcutting, and those emissions outpace the 65 million tonnes of emissions recorded annually in B.C., mainly from fossil fuels…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, December 12, 2019: Crash shines light on immigrants in Christmas tree workforce

It was nighttime when Pedro Lucas came home, clutching receipts showing he had paid a funeral home to have the bodies of three immigrant laborers returned to Guatemala from Oregon. The three, including two of Lucas’ cousins, were killed when a pickup truck slammed into a van carrying them and 10 other Guatemalans home from work at a Christmas tree farm. Lucas’ father, who arrived in America just seven months ago and sent part of his earnings to his wife in the village of Chacaj, was also in the van and remains in a coma, his back broken. “It’s unknown if he’ll walk again,” Lucas said in Spanish. The Nov. 29 crash shined a light on Oregon’s immigrant farm workers, the driving force behind the state’s $121 million Christmas tree industry, the nation’s largest. “People don’t realize that the majority of this industry is immigrant labor,” said Reyna Lopez, executive director of a farm worker union called PCUN, an acronym in Spanish for Pine Workers and Farmers United of the Northwest. The victims of the crash spent their last day loading Christmas trees onto trucks at Holiday Tree Farms, one of the world’s largest Christmas tree farms. They received paychecks from a contractor that Friday night in Salem and were headed home when the pickup truck crumpled their van. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division is investigating, though a spokesman declined to provide details…

Seattle, Washington, KOMO-TV, December 12, 2019: Shoreline neighbors push to save trees that could be cleared for new sidewalks

A group of neighbors are fighting to save the trees that line their street, despite a city plan to chop them down to make room for sidewalks. The trees stretch along the 15700 block of Dayton Avenue North were the state Department of Transportation is remodeling one of its regional headquarters. When WSDOT applied to retrofit the building, officials with the city of Shoreline asked that they also spruce up the street out front. Part of that request includes building sidewalks, but 130 trees stand in the way. They’ve been there for decades. “This is a big deal for the people who live here,” said Melody Fosmore, a neighbor who learned about the plan and quickly formed a group called Save the Shoreline Trees. The renovation that WSDOT plans is so extensive that it triggered a provision in Shoreline’s city code requiring on-site and right-of-way improvements, to help maintain the city’s transportation infrastructure…

APS Physics, December 12, 2019: Wonder Material Grows on Trees

To shape the future, next-generation materials need not be as exotic as topological insulators and metamaterials. Researchers are investigating the potential of nanocellulose—a nanostructured form of cellulose that can be obtained from the humble wood chip—for applications ranging from microfluidic devices to rechargeable batteries. A team led by Liangbing Hu at the University of Maryland in College Park reported at the 2019 Fall Meeting of the Material Research Society in Boston that a material that combines nanocellulose with graphite has mechanical properties that surpass those of steels and of other established structural materials. The recyclable composite could offer an environmentally friendly alternative for building lightweight vehicles, aircraft, and body armor. Hu presented an overview of his quest for replacing traditional materials with sustainable ones based on wood nanocellulose. The cellulose fibers that make up nanocellulose have diameters of between 5 and 20 nm and lengths of several micrometers. They are typically prepared from wood pulp using mechanical methods that rip the pulp’s wood fibers into nanoscale whiskers. “Wood and materials derived from [wood] have a lot to offer,” Hu says, noting that wood-based materials are recyclable, biocompatible, and biodegradable. “These are fantastic properties, but to make these materials successful, we need to show that their performance is superior to that of traditional materials,” he adds…

Bangor, Maine, WLBZ-TV, December 12, 2019: UNE professor working to restore the American chestnut tree one seed at a time

Professor Thomas Klak is a man with a mission. “We need to reinstill this knowledge in our culture of how important the American chestnut tree is to the eastern United States, and we’re going to do it,” Klak said as he sat in front of three bags of American chestnut seeds from wild specimens in Maine. The professor of environmental studies has been working to speed breed American chestnut seedlings for the last year. He has seedlings in the greenhouse on the Biddeford campus of the University of New England and in a special growth chamber that looks like a huge white refrigerator. In the early 1900s, a fungal blight from Asia was brought to America, presumably accidentally, when smaller Asian chestnut trees were imported. The Asian chestnuts were immune to the fungal blight, but the American chestnuts could not have been more vulnerable. Klak said, from 1904 when the blight was first detected at the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx until 1950, the once prolific tree that grew from Maine to Alabama and as far west as Indiana was wiped out. Four billion trees were killed…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2019: Tariff Threat Dims Holiday Cheer for Christmas Tree Company

President Trump’s threatened new tariffs on Christmas decorations from China won’t take effect until next year—but that’s no comfort to Mac Harman, who has to do his 2020 holiday shopping now. Mr. Harman is chief executive of Balsam Brands of Redwood City, Calif., which sells artificial Christmas trees made in China. One of the factories that he buys from has given him a Dec. 20 deadline to place orders for next year. That usually isn’t a problem, but Mr. Harman says he can’t estimate demand until he knows whether Mr. Trump is serious about imposing 15% tariffs on an array of consumer goods including Christmas decor, starting at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. “You never know what the next day or the next hour will bring,” Mr. Harman said of the U.S.-China trade war’s head-spinning turns. “We’ve been growing and creating jobs, but two months ago we stopped hiring because we have to assume the tariffs are going into place and we will no longer be growing.” Other companies that import electronics, toys, apparel and other goods that would be subject to the new tariffs share the same predicament. Despite expectations that the tariffs will be delayed, no one is certain of what the president will do. “Everyone is kind of living on the edge,” said David French, the National Retail Federation’s senior vice president for government relations. “I don’t think anyone has a lot of clarity, even inside the administration, of what will happen…”

Austin, Texas, KXAN-TV, December 11, 2019: Austin buys carbon credits from new tree-planting program as carbon neutrality goal looms

A new program to plant saplings on private land and sell the resulting carbon credits locally kicks off this weekend. The nonprofit TreeFolks will take a group of volunteers to a landowner’s property in eastern Travis County on Saturday, Dec. 14, to plant 1,500 native Texas saplings, including walnut, bald cypress and a couple types of sycamores, launching the Travis County Floodplain Reforestation Program. Over the course of the current planting season, which runs through March, TreeFolks will plant 50,000 saplings on about 90 acres of land, both private and public, in the county. The group chose eastern Travis County floodplains because “it’s been so degraded through farming and ranching over the last hundred or so years,” said Valerie Tamburri, TreeFolks’ reforestation coordinator. New trees will help prevent erosion, clean water and keep the surrounding area cooler, she explained. But a big reason this program differs from other reforestation efforts is the sale of the resulting carbon credits to the city of Austin. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a main driver of climate change. By planting acres of new forest, TreeFolks is generating offsets for the carbon produced by driving cars, generating electricity and other activities that burn fossil fuels…

Tampa, Florida, WTSP-TV, December 11, 2019: That ‘walnut’ on your Christmas tree could harbor praying mantis eggs

A “public service announcement” published this week by the folks in Erie County, Ohio, warn of a walnut-sized mass on a Christmas tree. “Don’t fret,” the Facebook post reads, in part. “These are 100-200 preying [sic] mantis eggs!” Officials’ advice to anyone who comes across it probably is wise — clip the branch and put it in your garden, though the odds of coming across anything like it isn’t common at all. Snopes.com, citing a horticulture educator at the University of Illinois Extension, said post-harvest pests in Christmas trees are discovered in about one out of 100,000 cut trees. The picture published by Erie County government actually began circulating in 2017, Snopes found, which was about the time a pest control company claimed “as many as 25,000 bugs can live in one tree.” People aren’t likely to count up to that many, but those “Christmas tree hitchhikers” — if there are any in the first place — could include adelgids, aphids, mites or, yes, praying mantids.”You may never experience any problems with Christmas tree pests, or if you have, you may never encounter them again,” writes Chris Enroth at the University of Illinois…

San Luis Obispo, California, The Tribune, December 11, 2019: Sudden oak death is killing trees across California. Could Cambria be next?

North Coast property owners whose lands include oak or bay laurel trees are on alert. The dreaded sudden oak death that is decimating some species statewide is inching further south from Big Sur toward San Luis Obispo County. Sudden oak death (SOD) could be especially devastating in Cambria, where the town’s rare native forest of Monterey pines has been especially hard hit by bark beetles, fungal infections such as pitch canker and advanced age. The landmark 3,400-acre pine forest also includes many oak trees and bay laurels, both of which are susceptible to SOD. According to http://www.suddenoakdeath.org, the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, which is known to cause SOD, has had “devastating effects on coastal forests in California and Oregon…”

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, December 10, 2019: Department of Forestry’s new management plan is so vague it’s meaningless, critics say

Oregon Department of Forestry officials will meet Wednesday with commissioners from the so-called forest trust land counties, the first such gathering since those counties won a $1.1 billion damage award in a lawsuit against the agency for failing to maximize logging on state forests. The purpose of the meeting is to review the agency’s new vision for managing 613,000 acres of forests in Western Oregon. It could be a lively discussion. The 180-page draft document laying out that vision, called a Forest Management Plan, was six years in the making. It’s inherently controversial because of the competing demands on state forests to provide various economic, social and environmental benefits. Indeed, the last version of the plan and the agency’s implementation of it landed the agency and the counties in court. This version could prove just as contentious. Barely a week after its release, stakeholders from across the spectrum are criticizing the draft plan as lacking the specifics they were expecting from the agency. They say it doesn’t deliver on the agency’s directive to come up with a plan that improves both financial and conservation outcomes. And as it stands, they say, it falls woefully short of something they can support…

Boston, Massachusetts, WCVB-TV, December 10, 2019: Tree company worker killed on the job in Wakefield, officials say

A worker for an independent tree company died while on the job in Wakefield, officials said Tuesday afternoon. The 34-year-old man was working around 11 a.m. in a wooded area at a residence near Greenwood Street, according to Wakefield police and fire officials. Authorities got to the scene and discovered the worker had suffered “traumatic” injuries, officials wrote in a statement. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene. His name is being withheld pending positive identification and family notification, officials said. Officials did not release information about exactly how the worker became injured. The name of the tree company was not released. A witness told WCVB News that a tree snapped, throwing the worker into the woods. Wakefield police have secured the Greenwood Street area as the investigation continues. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office will also investigate the death…

Lahore, Pakistan, The Daily Times, December 10, 2019: Elm trees are making a comeback in Britain thanks to the development of new breeds

Elm trees could make a comeback after dying in their millions during the 1970s when they were ravaged by disease. Varieties that are more resistant to Dutch elm disease have been identified and could be used to repopulate the country. The Future Trees Trust has found mature specimens around the country that have successfully resisted the fungal infection – and elm saplings have been bred which are not harmed by it. Karen Russell, co-author of a report into the elm, said: ‘It was our second most important timber broadleaf tree after oak. Private individuals and organizations now have a great opportunity to enable the return of elm to our countryside and communities.’ The Daily Mail’s Be A Tree Angel campaign is calling for readers to donate money or Nectar points to help plant trees across the UK – creating a greener country and fighting climate change at the same time. Part of the project is planting 1,000 orchards in 1,000 schools. The report on the elm said European and North American species had little resistance to the disease – a fungus called ascomyta spread by the elm bark beetle…

Austin, Texas, KVUE-TV, December 9, 2019: Residents band together to stop removal of 104 trees, Williamson County says it’s too late

Between 2012 and 2014, Hairy Man Road – which turns into Brushy Creek Road – had 47 accidents on the road, according to data collected by Williamson County. Only one resulted in a fatal crash, but others led to drivers or passengers getting injured, vehicles getting damaged, and/or trees getting damaged to the point of dying. The county used that data and continued to collect more through 2019 to justify expanding the roadway to two feet on each side to create a shoulder with a rumble strip. “You can add a rumble strip so if your car veered out of the lane, it hit that rumble and – oh! – you wake up. You’re conscious again and you pull back into your lane,” County Commissioner Terry Cook said. The public safety changes to this road are taking place within Cook’s precinct. She added at the heart of this issue, it’s up to drivers to be better. “The county would not have to spend one penny on this road – except routine maintenance – if drivers were responsible,” Cook said. “This is not big government coming in to take out our trees.” However, a Facebook group argues this is not the answer…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Telegram, December 9, 2019: Thieves cut top off blue spruce tree at west Omaha event center

Tree thieves ran off with most of a blue spruce tree they cut outside the Arbor Hall event center. “I’m sure that someone is using it right now as a Christmas tree,” said Molly Pagels, who operates Arbor Hall at 14040 Arbor St. “We have (surveillance) video of them cutting it down, but it was 2:30 in the morning, so it’s hard to see them.” The incident occurred Nov. 28 near a back corner of the hall, which is rented for weddings and other special events. The surveillance video shows two people with a handsaw cutting off the top 6 feet off the tree and carrying it toward nearby apartments. At one point in the video, Pagels said, a car drove by, prompting the thieves to drop the tree and lie on the ground until the vehicle passed. Pagels estimated the value of the tree, planted four years ago, at $250…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Tribune, December 9, 2019: Harrison tree service company emphasizes safety as they reach new heights

B.J. Schaltenbrand recalls the time BeaverJack Tree Service received a request that was out of the ordinary. A woman from Pittsburgh called the Harrison-based company because her parrot had flown 50 feet up into a tree, and she needed help getting it down. “She was in panic. (She said) ‘I can’t get the firefighters. I can’t get anybody here. I need to get this parrot down. He means so much to me,’ ” said Schaltenbrand, who owns the tree and landscape maintenance company. Schaltenbrand contacted one of his climbers — the employees who climb trees to maintain them — with a new assignment: rescue the parrot. “He’s like, ‘Whatever it takes. Let’s go,’ ” Schaltenbrand said of the employee, who rescued the bird and reunited it with its owner. “I think that that was one of the most extraordinary calls that we’ve ever received…”

Phys.org, December 9, 2019: Scientists accidentally discover a new water mold threatening Christmas trees

Grown as Christmas trees, Fraser firs are highly prized for their rich color and pleasant scent as well as their ability to hold their needles. Unfortunately, they are also highly susceptible to devastating root rot diseases caused by water molds in the genus Phytophthora. Scientists in Connecticut were conducting experiments testing various methods to grow healthier Fraser trees when they accidentally discovered a new species of Phytophthora. They collected the diseased plants, isolated and grew the pathogen on artificial media, then inoculated it into healthy plants before re-isolating it to prove its pathogenicity. “Once the organism was isolated, the presence of unusually thick spore walls alerted us that this may not be a commonly encountered species,” said Rich Cowles, a scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station involved with this study, “and so comparison of several genes’ sequences with known Phytophthora species was used to discover how our unknown was related to other, previously described species.” In fact, they had discovered a new species altogether. The fact that these scientists so readily discovered a new species of Phytophthora infecting Christmas trees suggests that there could be many more species waiting to be discovered…

Denver, Colorado, KUSA-TV, December 9, 2019: Is planting trees in Denver the natural thing to do?

The Downtown Denver Partnership released its annual report outlining a plan to try to double the percentage of tree canopy coverage in the coming years. But is Denver really supposed to have that many trees? “There’s a lot of things that make it less than ideal for trees,” Mike Bone said. He is a horticulturist and the curator of Steppe Collections for Denver Botanic Gardens. Bone said first, prior to people, trees never thrived on the land that Denver sits on. “We’re smack dab in the middle of the Great North American Steppes,” Bone said. “So, there’s not a lot of trees that are native to this site.” Denver is supposed to be short grass prairie land with trees growing only near water because water is a problem here. “The dry rain shadow of the Rockies makes it very difficult for trees to survive here,” Bone said. The climate is a factor too, he said. “Extremes of hot summers and cold winters and especially when the weather changes dramatically as it does from time to time…”

Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin, December 8, 2019: Aggressive action in Minnesota slowing spread of tree-killing beetle

The state’s population of ash trees should have been ruined by now. Instead, the invasion of a tree-killing beetle has dramatically slowed, leaving millions of ash trees still standing. “We got kind of lucky,” said Jeff Hahn, an entomologist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Hahn is not declaring victory over the emerald ash borer, which is expected to eventually destroy most of the state’s 1 billion ash trees. But he is noting that on the 10th anniversary of the bug’s arrival, its advance has been slower than was originally predicted. In Michigan, in only 10 years, the beetle wiped out 30 million ash trees, and spread to almost all of its 83 counties. But after a decade in Minnesota, the destruction has been limited to 17 counties, mostly in the metro area and southeast Minnesota. “It’s remarkable that we still have ash trees in the metro area,” said Rob Venette, director of the U’s Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center. The beetle was first spotted in St. Paul in 2009. Its arrival led to fears every ash tree in the metro area would soon be killed. Experts believe that Minnesota’s cold snaps to minus-30 degrees help kill the beetle. Michigan’s winters are more mild — compare St. Paul’s record cold of minus 41 degrees to Detroit’s minus 13…

Digital Journal, December 8, 2019: How to Check for Signs of Spotted Lanternfly Before Purchasing a Christmas Tree

Finding the perfect Christmas trees is one of the highlights of the holiday season. However, with the recent invasion of the Spotted Lanternfly, many Pennsylvanians are left wondering if they should be hesitant about bringing a possible tainted topiary into their home. The experts at Giroud Tree and Lawn explain what to look for on Christmas trees before buying one. Spotted Lanternfly came from Asia, where natural predators keep the species from multiplying too quickly. Unfortunately, here in the United States, it’s spreading rapidly because those known predators aren’t around to keep it in check. While Spotted Lanternfly have invaded Pennsylvania heavily in the last few years, there’s not much cause for concern on your Christmas Conifer. The PA Department of Agriculture and Penn State have been working closely with the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association, and they have been diligently training all tree growers on proper inspection practices. Although the Spotted Lanternfly has been seen on many species of trees, they don’t appear to show an interest in the varieties used for Christmas trees. In a recent article published by the Penn State Extension, Tanner Delvalle, a horticulture extension educator explains, “Christmas trees are not a preferred host for spotted lanternflies, so the probability of finding a spotted lanternfly or an egg mass on Christmas trees is low and should not be a reason for anyone to forego having a live holiday tree…”

Madison, Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Journal, December 8, 2019: How to best maintain your Christmas tree

Any tree can be successfully maintained to outlast the holidays, but Ray Guries, professor of forest and wildlife ecology at UW-Madison, said fir trees are easier because they hold the needles best. Fraser, balsam and Douglas firs retain needles better whereas spruce and pine trees are prone to shedding, he said. Laura Jull, associate professor of horticulture at UW-Madison, said balsam firs and Fraser firs are more aromatic. She said any type of spruce tree should be avoided because their needles drop quickly. Buying the freshest tree possible ensures the least amount of needle shedding, Guries said. The longer it has been since the tree was harvested, the drier and therefore more likely it will be to shed the twigs and needles. Guries suggests going to a u-cut farm and harvesting your own tree. Once the tree is home, keep it in a cool place out of the wind before putting it on display, and put the cut-end in water. Before putting it up, cut at least an inch off the trunk to remove the resin seal so the tree can keep taking in water. A fresh tree that has been handled correctly will continue to transpire, which means it is able to conduct water through the stem, branches and needles, Guries said…

New York City, WABC-TV, December 8, 2019: Tree vendor in SoHo selling 20-foot fir for $6,500

A vendor in SoHo Is selling what is likely the city’s most expensive Christmas tree. ‘SoHo Trees’ is offering 20-foot Fraser firs at $6,500 a pop. Other vendors nearby are selling similar trees for less – but not by much. The salesman insists the high tree price – at $325 per foot isn’t fazing buyers. Vendors blame the hefty price tags on a shortage this season of the favored Fraser fir…

Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer, December 5, 2019: It’s time to band trees in Charlotte. What for, and are those green worms going away?

It’s an annual tradition in Charlotte. Cooking up a big Thanksgiving dinner, shopping for presents, decorating for Christmas and — banding your trees to battle the cankerworm. The pesky, lime-green, leaf-eating worm makes itself most annoying in the spring, when millions of them drop from the trees of Charlotte, littering your porch, hitch-hiking on your dog, or even worse, getting caught in your hair. The good news: after spending decades and millions of dollars battling the insect, it appears the city of Charlotte may actually have conquered the canker. [In 2016: 38,948 worms; in 2017, 32,434 worms; in 2018, 4,963 worms; and in 2019, 184 worms.] For those of you who prefer math, that’s a 99.5% decrease. “While we don’t know for certain what the cause is, our best guess is that in back-to-back years, we had several consecutive nights of hard freezes in early spring that may have killed the newly hatched caterpillars at the tops of the trees, as well as the foliage in the trees that they need to feed on,” said Laurie Dukes, assistant city arborist. Besides being a nuisance, the cankerworm is a voracious eater, chowing down on the leaves of the city’s larger trees. The sheer number of worms can severely damage or kill these old and fragile trees…

Newsweek, December 5, 2019: Tree Farmers Upset About Commercial That Calls Artificial Christmas Trees More Eco-Friendly

A holiday commercial from retailer Canadian Tire has tree farmers upset because it positioned artificial Christmas trees as an eco-friendly alternative to cutting one down. Canadian Tire, which has 1,686 locations in the country, released its Christmas commercial a few weeks ago. In the clip, a father and daughter walk through a snowy forest, saw in hand, to cut down a tree for the holiday. After the young girl shows her dad that the trees are home to a wide variety of animal life, he reconsiders and they head inside to decorate an artificial tree for their holiday. Although the advertisement might seem anodyne, tree farmers are protesting the implication that their livelihood is damaging to the environment. Jimmy Downey of Downey Tree Farm & Nursery spoke to CBC News about the clip. He pointed out that the majority of artificial trees are made in China of nonbiodegradable plastics, and even though they can be used for multiple years they still represent a larger carbon footprint in manufacturing, shipping and disposal. “Natural trees live in the environment for 15 years, producing oxygen for us, and they are recycled. Ultimately, they are better for the environment…”

National Geographic, December 5, 2019: How to live with mega-fires? Portugal’s feral forests may hold the secret

When the speeding BMW emerged out of the smoke of burning eucalyptus trees, heading straight for her firetruck, Filipa Rodriguez had no time to react. “I had time only to think, ‘We’re going to crash,’” she says, massaging the burn marks on her arms, and then the car plowed into them, and the five volunteer firefighters stumbled out from their ruined truck into an inferno. It was high summer in 2017, and they had just crossed into the outer bands of the worst firestorm to ever hit Portugal, a presage for a new age of mega-fire that would soon stalk across landscapes from Spain to Australia. Rodriguez, then 24, stepped outside and her safety goggles immediately melted to her face; as she ripped them off, skin came with them. She blinked through the smoke at eucalyptus trees flying by, burning, in the winds of the biggest flames she had ever seen. Rodriguez was not a professional—like three generations of her male relatives, she was a member of the bombeiros, the volunteer firefighting corps that since the 1950s has served as first line of fire defense for the towns of the rugged, hardscrabble, limestone hills of the Portuguese interior. Every summer all types—doctors, teachers, mail carriers, college students—take their vacations at the local fire station, where they wait round the clock for word of fire…


Imperial Beach California, Eagle & Times, December 5, 2019: How To Choose A Christmas Tree: Tips From Expert Arborist Mark Chisholm

There’s more to decking the halls with just the right Christmas tree than many people realize. Here are seven hints that can help. Before you head to the lot or store to pick out this year’s tree, you must be certain of where you want to place the tree and the space available. Try to avoid spots near heat sources such as radiators, fireplaces, heating vents and even televisions or sun-drenched windows. Also, try to tuck the tree into a low-traffic area to avoid accidental bumping and possible safety issues. Next, you’ll need to measure the space dimensions you have to work with, bearing in mind that a tree stand will add a few extra inches of height, as will a star or angel to finish the top. If you’re like me and look forward to contributing to the spirit of the season while picking a tree, you can look for charitable lots. One I like to shop at donates all of its proceeds to a children’s hospital. Another option would be to get an extra tree and then donate it to a family that can’t afford one or to an organization that will find that tree the right home. At the lot you will likely see three or four common varieties of trees. Some things to consider when choosing are the color, shape and feel of the tree. Some trees are dark green, and others have gray or white shades. There are trees with tight branching patterns and some with more spaces. One thing to remember is that if the tree looks very full while absent of ornaments, it may be difficult to decorate…

New York City, The New York Times, December 3, 2019: Report Detailing PG&E’s Failures Raises New Hurdles for Utility

A damning report about the cause of the deadliest wildfire in California history poses a huge setback to Pacific Gas & Electric as it tries to resolve a complex bankruptcy and prove to its customers and elected officials that it takes safety seriously. PG&E repeatedly failed to properly maintain a power line built nearly a century ago even though it cuts through a heavily wooded and mountainous area that experiences strong winds, a 700-page report by the California Public Utilities Commission concluded. A live wire broke from the line, called the Caribou-Palermo, in November 2018 and ignited the Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise. The report, which the commission posted on its website over the Thanksgiving holiday with no announcement, could jeopardize PG&E’s future as an independent business. The company was already on probation after being convicted of six federal criminal charges for causing another disaster — a gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno, south of San Francisco, in 2010. Critics of the company, including a group of California mayors and Gov. Gavin Newsom, have proposed selling PG&E to Warren E. Buffett’s holding company, breaking it up, having the state take it over or turning it into a cooperative owned by its customers…

York, Pennsylvania, WPMT-TV, December 4, 2019: Wolf Administration encouraging Pennsylvanians to purchase real Christmas trees this holiday season

The Wolf Administration is encouraging Pennsylvanians to purchase real Christmas trees this holiday season. Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf were joined by Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and his wife, Nina Redding, to shop for a Christmas tree at McCurdy’s Tree Farm in Carroll Township, which is a part of PA Preferred, the state’s branding program for locally grown and processed products. “Pennsylvania is home to more than 1,400 Christmas tree farms,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “Visiting one of these farms is not only a great family tradition, but an opportunity to support your neighbors and Pennsylvania’s economy…”

Taunton, Massachusetts, Gazette, December 4, 2019: Christmas tree biz heats up on Route 44 on Taunton-Raynham line

The competition for selling Christmas trees on Route 44 in Taunton and Raynham just became keener. Taunton’s City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to grant a renewal of a “temporary fixed vendor’s license” to Wolffe’s Christmas Trees and its owner Nicholas Wolffe. Wolffe now has the green light to sell his wares in an open area located at 3 Cape Road, which directly abuts Globe Liquors at 5 Cape Road and is owned by the liquor store’s proprietor. The council voted 4-to-3 the previous week to deny the petition for the vendor’s license. The main objection was a concern about traffic safety at the busy entrance and exit to the site, which also borders Borges Auto Center. Councilor Deborah Carr also objected to the fact that the petition was not included in the weekly agenda packet. “It’s a violation of the open meeting law. We can’t discuss any matter that isn’t on the agenda,” Carr said…

Phys.org, December 4, 2019: Deer and elk can help young Douglas-fir trees under some conditions

Long considered pests by forest managers, deer and elk can help Douglas-fir seedlings thrive under certain vegetation management conditions, a five-year study by Oregon State University shows. The research, published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology, is important because global demand for forest products continues to rise and because wildlife conservation is often viewed as a hurdle to meeting that demand. The findings quantified the effects of intensive forest management on wildlife and wildlife habitat. OSU College of Forestry scientists found that deer and elk can play a key role in controlling the broadleaf vegetation, such as alder and maple, that compete with the “crop trees”—the Douglas-fir seedlings—in the replanted clear-cuts deer and elk heavily rely on for forage. This sort of benefit is called an “ecosystem service.” Deer and elk generally prefer to eat broadleaf and herbaceous vegetation but will eat Douglas-fir seedlings if they’re reachable…

MNN.com, December 3, 2019: A relative of one of the most famous trees of all time is hiding in plain sight

It’s never easy having famous relatives. No matter how distantly you may be related to a celebrity, people will still want a piece of you. Sometimes, even literally. That’s why you won’t see so much as a picture of a certain lifelong resident of the Stanford University campus in California. It’s fully enrolled in a kind of witness protection program … for trees. As the Mercury News reports, this specimen bears witness — at least genetically — to one of the most influential trees of all time: the one that inspired Sir Isaac Newton to come up with the theory of universal gravity. It all began back in 1666 when, by several accounts, the famed physicist was ruminating in the shade of a kind of apple tree known as the “Flower of Kent” in Lincolnshire, England. And then came the plunk that was heard around the world. No, the apple probably didn’t bounce off his head, as later retellings of the story had it. Nature is more subtle than that. Newton would have to sleuth out the workings of gravity on his own. Of course, being a bit of a genius, he didn’t have much trouble identifying a universal force that applies to all things on this planet and beyond…

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Journal, December 3, 2019: After someone stole the general store’s Christmas tree, people in Dobson took the investigation into their own hands

Store owner Kristi Proffit and a few of her employees had spent hours decorating, as they do each Christmas, when they called it a night on Sunday around 6 p.m. When Proffit opened the store Monday around 5:30 a.m., the tree, the centerpiece of the decorations, was gone. Proffit posted on Facebook about the theft and included video stills of the white truck. The post was shared more than 600 times, and lots of folks got down to business, scouring the area for the truck. “I had a lot of people stop by the store and tell me they were taking time out of their day to look for this vehicle,” Proffit said. The clues they provided to the Surry County Sheriff’s Office helped detectives crack the case. “They just had to go and pick it up,” Proffit said. A detective found the truck and the tree, stuffed the tree in the back of his cruiser and delivered it to the store around 4 p.m. Tuesday…

Seattle, Washington, KIRO-TV, December 3, 2019: Tacoma has the lowest tree canopy in Puget Sound region; city wants to change that

Ask residents in Tacoma if the city has a lot of trees and most would probably say “yes.” “On this street, we do. I know because I rake the leaves every year,” said Mary Denend, who lives in the city’s Proctor neighborhood. But according to a study by the city, Tacoma has “the lowest assessed tree canopy in the Puget Sound region.” In short, there are not enough trees. Part of the reason is a lack of regulations. “For instance, the city of Tacoma has one of the least heavy-handed regulations around tree protection in the region,” said Michael Carey, Tacoma’s Urban Forest Program manager. The City Council wants to change that and, literally, grow the canopy. An Urban Forest Resolution before the council Tuesday kicks off an action plan to get more trees in the city and keep mature trees alive and thriving. Carey says more trees would mean a number of benefits. “Trees do things like remove air pollutants from our atmosphere. They absorb carbon. They filter through stormwater and help provide cleaner stormwater to our Puget Sound,” Carey said…

Daytona Beach, Florida, News-Journal, December 3, 2019: Count on Florida native trees and shrubs for fall color and more

The purple-haired leaf peepers certainly don’t arrive by the busloads for North Florida’s fall foliage, but that does not mean we don’t have our own version of colorful foliage. It is more like late fall or winter foliage season. And just because it takes a little longer to develop, does not mean it cannot deliver plenty of vibrant punch on a variety of native trees and shrubs. Our foliage here on the St. Johns River will be turning perfectly brilliant in the coming weeks. The huge hickory that commands the riverfront always astounds us when it turns golden yellow. The sweetgums down by the road are another fall show-off, going from bright yellow to brilliant shades of red to orange and even burgundy. No sugar maple can light a candle to those colors! And the beautyberries are already displaying impossibly purple berries that offer a feast for wildlife. These “edible” berries can be used to make a unique purple jelly that boasts a elderberry/grape flavor with a twist all its own…

Lansing, Michigan, WILX-TV, December 2, 2019: Tree farms lose money on dishonest tree cuts

When you go to cut your Christmas Tree for the holiday season, you’re usually paying by the foot. Unfortunately some people are finding ways to get around that, and it’s costing tree farms money. If you cut your tree a foot or two from the bottom, you’ll save a little money. But that money you’re saving is hard earned money that tree farm is missing out on. “It’s like stealing. It’s like going to a car lot, putting a dent in it, and saying, ‘this car’s got a dent in it. Aren’t you going to give me a deal on it?’ But people don’t see it that way,” said Damon Glei, owner and president of Glei’s Orchard and Greenhouse. Glei says each of the thousands of Christmas trees he sells takes anywhere from eight to 10 years to make. “And someone does what they did to this tree and leaves a foot and a half of stump on the ground, they quickly turn an 8-foot tree into a 6-foot tree,” he said, gesturing to a tree a customer cut short…\

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Journal Sentinel, December 2, 2019: Here’s how technology could help Wauwatosa with its goal of planting more trees

There are more than 30,000 publicly owned trees in the city of Wauwatosa. All those trees could generate a lot of paperwork when one needed to be taken down. In fact, it used to take about six separate paper forms for a city worker to cut down a tree and plant a new one. A form to approve the removal. A form after the tree was removed. A form to remove the stump. Another form to create a new hole for the new tree. And so on. But Wauwatosa is trying to change that process. It’s now using a geographic information system (GIS) to change how trees are pruned, removed or planted. The city is putting that system to work by cataloging all of the trees that exist on public property in Wauwatosa. This is saving the city time and money, according to Paul Vepraskas, the GIS manager for Wauwatosa “It gives us a good idea of where we can plant trees, what we can plant and how we maintain those trees,” said Vepraskas. “It then saves us time and money in how we manage those trees…”

Science News, December 2, 2019: A tree in Brazil’s arid northeast rains nectar from its flowers

It’s night, and plant biologist Arthur Domingos de Melo is looking up at the open, ivory flowers of a tropical, hardwood tree. Though it’s the dry season in the arid, thorny Caatinga region of northeast Brazil, a slow drizzle begins to fall. But not from the sky. Domingos de Melo is under the tree’s canopy, and the “rain” is sweet. Behold Hymenaea cangaceira, a species whose flowers make so much nectar that it overflows and falls in unusually copious and fragrant showers, even though the price of water in this part of the world is steep. Domingos de Melo and colleagues at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, had been studying bat pollination of local plants for two decades in the region when, in 2015, one type of bat-pollinated tree struck them as odd. Its nectar, rather than the just the flower petals, was imbued with its own perfume — a phenomenon poorly understood in bat-pollinated plants — and the plant made loads of it. From 2015 to 2018, the team studied a population of H. cangaceira in Brazil’s Catimbau National Park. Each day after sunset during the trees’ reproductive season, between December and March, hundreds of flowers bloom on each tree and drip with nectar before wilting with the dawn…

Sacramento, California, KTXL-TV, December 2, 2019: Modesto residents are asking for city’s help to stop falling trees

With fallen trees, missing limbs and holes in the ground, families said living on Modesto’s Ardmor Avenue is like gambling with their safety. “It’s like a nightmare on Ardmor Street because trees are just falling everywhere,” said resident Heidi Fountain. “It’s a concern for me because the trees are over 65 years old. They’re old,” said resident Eldon Glenn. Fountain said one of those trees crashed near her daughter’s car in the last week of November. “We would just like to be able to park our cars, live in our homes and not worry about trees falling,” Fountain told FOX40. Fountain said this time, the fallen timber only scraped the back of her daughter’s car. Her neighbor’s work truck wasn’t so lucky. And in the summer of 2018, neither was her daughter’s brand new Hyundai.“If the trees need trimmed, we shouldn’t have to wait for a disaster next door for you to come trim other trees,” Fountain said…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2019: How Many Christmas Trees Do We Chop Down Each Year?

Americans cut down 15,094,678 Christmas trees in 2017, according to the most recent year of data from the U.S. Agriculture Department. Growing all those trees requires about 19.7 square miles of land. That much ground would cover about 50% of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., or 86% of Manhattan. On average, trees are grown on about 6 feet by 6 feet of space, or about 1,200 trees per acre, according to a report by Michigan State University. Christmas tree farms take up 461 square miles in total in the U.S., according to the USDA. That far exceeds the annual cut-tree acreage because it takes multiple years to grow a Christmas tree. How high would all those trees reach? The average height of a cut Christmas tree is 7 feet, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. If stacked on one another, 15.1 million trees would nearly reach Geosynchronous Orbit, where satellites can match the Earth’s rotation…

Indianapolis, Indiana, WXIN-TV, December 1, 2019: Thief steals 15 trees worth hundreds of dollars from Girl Scouts’ Christmas tree lot

A thief targeted a Christmas tree lot in Carmel and stole from Girl Scouts. “It was our second day in the tree sale, and it’s not the way you want to start,” said Denisse Jensen, leader with Troop 1898. The trees were unloaded, counted and ready to sell. Then over the weekend, 15 trees disappeared overnight from right outside the Carmel Lions Club. “We realized the trees that were missing were at this end of the area, that was quick access to the alleyway that’s when we realized someone had taken them,” said Jensen. The 15 stolen trees are worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars. The lot is being used as a fundraiser, and the scouts were counting on the money for their high adventure overseas trip and the Gold Award, which is the highest award in Girl Scouts. “You always watch ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ and it’s like no one would do that, no one would become a Grinch, and then this happens and it’s like why?” said Isabelle Woodward, a Carmel Girl Scout. The scouts and their leaders were talking about possibly canceling plans, and that’s when some sweet strangers took over. Jill Slavin and Beth Mackey are with Club Canine in Carmel. The two women saw a post on social media and knew they had to do something. Slavin and Mackey showed up to the tree lot and paid for 15 trees and didn’t take a single one home…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WCAU-TV, November 30, 2019: Pennsylvanians to Be Allowed to Paint Trees Purple to Warn Trespassers

Pennsylvania will allow landowners to legally notify hunters and others that they’re trespassing by painting purple stripes on trees or posts. The bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Tom Wolf is designed to ease a landowners’ task of posting “no trespassing” signs that deteriorate over time. The law takes effect in 60 days. The purple stripes must be vertical lines at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. They must be 3 to 5 feet off the ground, readily visible to a person approaching the property and no more than 100 feet apart. The law applies everywhere, except in Philadelphia and Allegheny County. Numerous other states have adopted a purple-paint law, and paint manufacturers have formulated cans of spray paint and brush paint specifically marketed as “no hunting” paint…

Hays, Kansas, Post, December 1, 2019: Months of flooding killed Kansas’ trees and state park tourism

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism stands to lose millions of dollars after record spring rains led to park closures, property damage and washed-out roads. In most of Kansas, the rain started in early spring and didn’t stop until the end of June. High water levels at reservoirs (where most state parks are located) inundated campgrounds, boat docks and roads. “We’re not talking about for a week.” Parks Director Linda Lanterman said. “We’re talking six weeks, eight weeks … so the damage is significant until you can get that water down.” The timing couldn’t have been worse for Kansas state parks, which depend upon revenue during what Lanterman calls the “Million-Dollar Months” — May, June, July and August — to stay afloat for the rest of the year. But state parks failed to reach $1 million in each of those months this year. In May, the parks brought in $981,586 compared with $1,065,033 in 2018. The dropoff was even more severe in June, when revenue was $568,743 compared with $1,563,780 in 2018. Understanding how important these months were, several parks managers tried to stay open until campgrounds were inaccessible. Lanterman said she had to tell a few parks they had to close earlier before floodwaters made it impossible to remove cabins and other equipment…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KITV, November 26, 2019: Guam Christmas trees treated with gas to stop invasive pests

In the U.S. territory of Guam, the Christmas season so far smells like frankincense, myrrh and methyl bromide. The Pacific Daily News reports that Guam’s Customs and Quarantine’s BioSecurity Task Force is filling containers of imported Christmas trees with methyl bromide gas to kill potentially invasive species. Officials say they have treated six containers of more than 2,500 imported trees, wreaths and garlands and expect to treat another seven containers in the coming weeks. The Guam Invasive Species Council approved the fumigation policy in 2016 to keep unwanted pests from impacting Guam’s agriculture, natural resources or the homes of Christmas celebrants. Each container is released after a customs inspection to ensure the treatment was successful…

Orlando, Florida, WKMG-TV, November 26, 2019: Iconic oak trees in downtown Ocala could be removed

Although they’ve grown with the city, Ocala city leaders are looking into the possibility of removing some notable oak trees from the downtown square. The oak trees have been around for decades and are a popular element of the city’s downtown holiday decorations. Peter Lee, Ocala planning director, said the oak trees have grown too big for the square and now, they’re slowly dying because their roots have nowhere to go, especially the large one to the west of the gazebo. “It is really locked in by asphalt,” he said. “Its natural root zone is probably diminished by 80 percent, which is a big part of why the tree is stressed.” Recently, city leaders discussed what do to about the trees, whether it’s replacing them or seeing if they can be repaired. Presentation slides show how the trees are losing their canopy and are continuing to deteriorate at an accelerated rate…

Forbes, November 26, 2019: Lightning Discovered To Be Main Killer Of Tropical Trees

In the tropics, lightning strikes thousands of trees every day. Lightning frequency here is the highest in the world. The tropics are also home to lush forests with trees that mostly composed of carbon. Understanding tree death is key to figuring out how much carbon is being stored in forests. This information feeds into our understanding of global carbon cycling and how climate change will impact us both now and in the future. Researchers based in Panama and the United States focused on determining the role of lightning in killing large, old-growth trees—trees that are over half a meter in diameter. It was common to assume lightning played a minor role in tree death. Previously, this assumption couldn’t be disproved due to the limitations of tree surveys conducted every 5 to 10 years in addition to rapid decomposition of dead trees in the tropics. At a field site on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, the researchers installed a camera system that allowed them to triangulate lightning strike locations. They would find the lightning strike locations just days after the trees were hit, in contrast to the years that might pass with traditional survey methods. Then, the scientists would re-visit sites regularly for 1 to 2 years following the strike (surveys are still ongoing)…

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, November 26, 2019: South Tampa residents rally to defend Plant High School trees

As the words of its alma mater indicate, the community around Plant High School, which stands “‘neath the pines of Palma Ceia, near the bay’s deep blue,” takes its trees very seriously. Though the trees are safe for now, a plan to renovate the Plant High track had many South Tampa residents firing off emails to the Hillsborough County School District and rallying online to stop what they feared could be the removal of more than 60 trees. In May, Plant High sent a letter to surrounding property owners and neighborhood associations saying, “the school district would like to inform you and the neighborhood association about updates and repairs to Plant High School’s track. Several trees around the track and football field will have to be removed to accomplish this project.” The letter stated the school would host an informal community open house to explain the project. Three people showed up. None of the attendees were satisfied with answers from school officials. “It was a complete waste of time,” said Caroll Ann Bennett, one of the three attendees. “They didn’t know costs. They didn’t know how many trees would be cut. They weren’t briefed on the project. They couldn’t answer a single question…”

Portland, Oregon, KOIN-TV, November 25, 2019: Tree of Heaven: A slow-growing menace — Portland homeowner frustrated while trying to protect his property

It’s called the Tree of Heaven, but most people think it comes from the opposite place. An invasive predator from below: a tree a local man did not plant is damaging his home, a tree that he believes is not on his property caused him to face repair costs of tens of thousands of dollars. “I am very frustrated because this is all I have,” said homeowner Reggie Williams. “I’ve put my whole life and soul into this.” The Portland resident said through the years he experienced problems with the tree causing damage to his roof. The city required Williams to fix the sidewalk at the base of the tree, but he did not see the underground threat coming to his home’s foundation. His situation can now serve as a warning about something growing in neighborhoods all over the area. It can cause destruction which leaves homeowners on the hook for thousands. It’s been nearly 2 years since Williams realized something was wrong in the basement of his Northeast Portland home. “The cracks run all the way to the back,” he said. “When the engineer got here, she said she seen enough.” According to a February engineer’s report, 2 foundation walls have “cracking that is likely causing the structure to become unstable.” The culprit? The engineer said it is the tree in between Williams’ house and the neighbors. The roots come from what’s known as a “Tree of Heaven” — but don’t let that name fool you. The City of Portland described it as an “alien plant invader.” The Tree of Heaven is on the city’s list of nuisance trees , and there was even a government-backed local group called “Tree-of-Heaven Eradication Now” that declared, “these trees have cracked foundations, shifted pipe, and caused an untold amount of damage…”

Albany, New York, Times Union, November 25, 2019: Christmas tree farmer: Industry has ‘tremendous potential to grow’

It’s beginning to look — and smell — a lot like Christmas at Peter Brooks’ farm. After years of work, Brooks is preparing his first batch of Christmas trees for harvest later this week at his Boulder Brook Farm near Saratoga Lake. To celebrate, he was joined Monday by several other local tree farmers and state Agricultural Commissioner Richard Ball to saw down the first two trees of the season. One tree will be displayed at the Adirondacks New York Welcome Center, while the other will be donated to a nearby CAPTAIN Community Human Services shelter for homeless youth. For Brooks, a first-generation tree farmer, the harvest is the culmination of a five-decade-old desire to start his own tree farm, ever since he spent a summer working with Christmas trees on a farm when he was 18. Brooks said he was encouraged by the industry’s “tremendous potential to grow.” It doesn’t hurt that trees are much easier to handle than livestock: “The great thing about Christmas trees is they don’t try to break out of the fence,” Brooks said…

Washington, D.C., Post, November 25, 2019: He was fined for cutting down a tree without a license. Then police called ICE

An undocumented immigrant from Maryland is suing a state police agency whose officers turned him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after fining him for improper removal of a tree. José Ricardo Villalta Canales, 31, was helping a relative cut down a dead tree at his home in Rockville on Aug. 7 when he was approached by police from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources, said attorneys with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. Villalta, who had no prior criminal record, did not have the appropriate license to cut down the tree, a violation of state law punishable by a fine of up to $500. The police officers allegedly took five minutes to fine Villalta $320, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. But they detained him for more than two hours after making a routine check of a national database to see if he was the subject of any outstanding state, federal or local warrants. The database showed ICE had filed an administrative warrant for deportation, also known as a detainer. Maryland state agencies are supposed to act only on judicial or criminal warrants, the Department of Natural Resources said in a recent letter to state lawmakers who had inquired about Villalta’s case. But the officer acted on the administrative warrant, detaining Villalta until federal agents arrived. He was consequently arrested and has remained in ICE detention in Frederick County for more than three months…

European Union, Horizon, November 26, 2019: Transparent wood: the building material of the future?

When Timothée Boitouzet studied architecture in Japan, where buildings need to survive earthquakes, he realised the next smart material might be one that humans have used for thousands of years – wood. ‘In France, we build more with concrete and stone than wood,’ he said. ‘When I was exposed to Japanese building culture, I realised how you could build fantastic structures with wood. This material that we considered an old material, without innovation, was actually super smart. This got me excited about wood.’ In 2016, Boitouzet founded material science company Woodoo in Paris, France, which retrofits timber to give it new properties. His focus is on transforming the construction industry through replacing steel with wood, for example. Unlike other construction materials, such as stone or concrete which contains sand, wood is a renewable resource, making it an attractive sustainable building material, Boitouzet said. Building more with trees could also help curb the construction industry’s large carbon footprint, which is accelerating climate change. A recent report by the World Green Building Council estimates that 11% of global carbon emissions come from materials and construction processes throughout the building lifecycle. As trees contain carbon, using wood in buildings is a way of storing carbon…

MLive.com, November 23, 2019: Michigan’s famous Christmas Tree Ship sank 107 years ago today

The shipwreck legend of Michigan’s famed “Christmas Tree Ship” remains shrouded in equal parts myth and mystery. But what we do know is this: 107 years ago today, that worn-out schooner helmed by a man nicknamed “Captain Santa” and weighed down heavily by a load of U.P. Christmas trees bound for Chicago was fighting a mighty battle against intensifying winds and waves of a coming storm. In their final minutes, the Rouse Simmons’ crew had thrown out the schooner’s port anchor into Lake Michigan, hoping to hold her into the wind, archeologists later discovered. In the words of the dive team who pieced together her last tragic moments: “something had gone seriously wrong aboard the vessel.” Overcome by large waves, the three-masted schooner went down hard on the afternoon of Nov. 23, 1912, her bow leaving a 10-foot-deep gash in the bottom of Lake Michigan. Lost with her were 16 souls – her captain, crew, and a group of lumberjacks who were hitching a ride to the Windy City so they could get home for the holidays. For years after her sinking, Christmas trees washed up on the shores of Lake Michigan. Divers a century later found her cargo hold still packed with Christmas trees, some with needles still intact…

San Jose, California, Silicon Business Journal, November 22, 2019: What’s happening to the iconic palm trees on Park Avenue?

The iconic palm trees that line Park Avenue in downtown San Jose are pulling up roots and moving off the street. No, they’re not going to a farm upstate or retiring to a sunny beach somewhere. They’re not heading off to the wood chipper, either — they’re going around the corner to a new home on Almaden Boulevard. According to the city of San Jose, the removal and relocation of the trees is being paid for by Jay Paul Co. The San Francisco-based developer owns two high-profile projects one either side of the strip of palm trees: 200 Park Ave., which recently began construction and will be a 19-story, Class A office tower; and CityView Plaza, a multibuilding complex that Jay Paul plans to demolish and replace with what is expected to be the largest office development in Silicon Valley. “We are covering the expenses upfront and will be reimbursed at a later date,” said Matt Lituchy, chief investment officer of Jay Paul Co., in an email to the Business Journal. Lituchy declined to share the cost of the palm tree relocation project or why the developer decided to front the costs. San Jose city officials were unable to provide details about the reimbursement at time of publication…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2019: The Secret Messages of Swaying Trees

Here in London, I regularly run on a path by the Thames that is covered by a beautiful canopy of trees. After a night of howling wind, I often find huge broken branches obstructing my path, casualties of the wind’s violent pummeling. The leafy top of a tree acts like a sail, and the force on the tree as it is caught by gusts of strong wind is enormous. Yet those splintered boughs are the exception, since most trees manage to withstand the storm. The secret to this resilience is simple: Trees sway when pushed. A completely rigid tree would snap in a strong wind, but because wood is flexible, trees behave like upside-down pendulums: The base is fixed, and the top rocks from side to side. Trees will mostly sway at a fixed rate, just like the pendulum in a clock. In both cases, that rate depends on their structure. A longer pendulum will swing at a slower rate, and so will a taller tree. The time it takes for the top of a tree to bend to one side, swing away and then come back again can vary from half a second to 20 seconds. If you were to walk through a wooded area where each tree was labeled with its own natural sway rate, you would quickly notice patterns. Height is the dominant variable, but other parts of a tree’s complex internal structure also play a role. A slender tree will sway more slowly than a one with a thick trunk because the slender branch provides less resistance to movement…

Kansas City, Missouri, KMBC-TV, November 24, 2019: Popular Christmas tree in short supply

Opening weekend, the Fort Osage Farm is busy with families looking for the perfect Christmas tree. “We have Virginia Pine, Norway Spruce, very few Scotch Pines anymore. That’s the one we lost so many of and we decided we’d never plant those again,” said farm owner Bob Luke. Five years ago, a fungus wiped out thousands of those trees on Luke’s farm. “We’re still not back one-hundred percent but we definitely have trees to cut that are nice,” said Luke. “We sold a couple twelve-foot trees for the first time since 2013 so we are coming back slow but, it is coming back.” At Fort Osage Farm customers can cut their own tree or choose from the popular Fraser Firs imported from other states. Luke says Oregon was the largest producer of Fraser Firs until growers ran into a shortage three years ago. Depending on the varietal, it can take a decade to grow a Christmas tree. “When they ran out of trees they started getting trees from North Carolina and Michigan which also ship a large amount of Frasers so they started taking some of their trees which now produced a shortage for everybody on this side of the country.” He says he ordered his trees in February, securing six-hundred for his farm. The shortage has resulted in a slight increase in price. “We are still ten dollars a foot but we’ve added up to seven or eight dollars for a seven-foot tree for the shipping cost that have continually gone up over the years.” After losing so many of their home-grown trees in 2014, Bob Luke and his wife Kim decided to diversify their business by growing elderberries and turning their farm into a wedding venue, White Pine Lodge. “I think farms have to do that you have to change and you have to evolve or its hard to stay in business,” said Mrs. Luke. The farm hosts weddings February through October…

Daytona Beach, Florida, News Journal, November 20, 2019: Oaks instead of palm trees? Florida’s iconic palms don’t cut it with climate change

They are iconic to Florida, but palm trees offer little shade to urban heat islands and capture very small amounts of carbon, a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. South Florida’s palm trees are postcard promises of sighing sea breezes and sandy beaches, but the icon of the tropics may be an impractical adornment in an era of climate change. From the regal royal palm to the sometimes shabby cabbage, the perennial symbol of the Sunshine State offers little shade to baking urban heat islands and captures minimal amounts of carbon — a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. As city officials look for more ways to cool concrete jungles and balance carbon emissions, the priority for new plantings is often broadleaf hardwood trees, not the idyllic palm. Live oaks can absorb and store 92 pounds of carbon a year with a mature tree’s canopy spanning more than 100 feet. That’s compared to less than one pound of carbon for a royal palm and its compact crown of 15 to 20 fronds. “People coming from up north or other parts of the country are expecting to see palm trees, so I don’t see them disappearing entirely from the landscape,” said Charles Marcus, a certified arborist who wrote an urban tree management plan for West Palm Beach. “But it would benefit most communities if they increased the percentage of hardwoods and I think it’s something cities will have to consider…”

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, November 21, 2019: Weld County tree with eagle nest torn down; officials say it’s legal

A massive cottonwood holding a bald eagle’s nest has been torn down in Weld County, frustrating neighbors. The tree, off County Road 13 and County Road 34, was torn down by the property owner Thursday. “I was driving down this road this morning, and their tree is gone, the nest gone. And it just makes me heartbroken,” one woman who lives in the area said. “As I saw that, I started to cry because it’s an American icon. I don’t know why you would take anything away from an animal like that.” The news created angst on Weld County social media pages, with some questioning the legality of the move. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a rancher applied for and received a permit, allowing him to remove the tree as part of an irrigation project. It’s illegal under federal law to harm or disturb a bald eagle or its nest without a permit. “In this case, we issued a permit for removal of a nest that was not being used by eagles for nesting,” said Kevin Kritz, a wildlife biologist with Fish and Wildlife. “That’s because it’s outside the nesting season…”

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, November 21, 2019: Aging apple tree may be nearing the end of its life: Ask an expert

Q: I have an old apple tree that I acquired with my property. Based on the age of the parcel divisions, it’s at least 50 years old. It still produces very good apples, but the trunk has sun scald so badly that half the bark is gone, there are bore holes on every inch of bark, and there are clearly insect infestations in the wood. A large part of one of the main branches fell off this summer. It looks like a combination of rot and insects got it. My question is whether I should cut the tree and start over, or if I can still restore the tree.
A: Based on what you described it may be best to replace the tree. The insect that is boring into the tree is manageable (see this article), however considering the extent of the infestation, as well as the damage to the trunk and rot, it is most likely that the life of the tree is on a timer. It may live for several more years, or it may topple over with the next big storm. How long it survives will depends on how far the rot extends into the trunk. Based on the photo, it looks like the rot is not just on the surface. Having a rotten core in the trunk will decrease the structural stability of the tree, and the wound created by the broken branch may be too large to mend. You may get some more years out of the tree if you can control the borer and ensure that it is irrigated and fertilized properly, as well as prune away dead or infested limbs. However, it may be better to replace it at this point and start with a young healthy tree. It really depends on how much time and energy you want to spend on trying to salvage it, and the extent of the rot…

Grand Rapids, Michigan, WOOD-TV, November 21, 2019: Nation hit with Christmas tree shortage

Come Black Friday, John Vormittag title shifts from farmer to retailer. That is traditionally when business for the second-generation Christmas tree farmer really takes off for the season. But in some parts of the country, a Grinch is lurking on tree farms and lots this year. The most popular Christmas trees are in short supply. Wholesalers are scrambling to find farms that can supply them. “We do not do any wholesale,” Vormittag said. “But we do get a lot of calls. People are calling pretty regularly, looking for trees.” Two factors, occurring years ago, contributed to the shortage. In 2008, the economy was tanking. Many farmers across the country decided to either quit the business or plant fewer trees. For Michigan, drought conditions in 2012 added to the problem. “They like rain once a week or twice a week,” Vormittag said as he inspected a Frasier fir, the most popular species of Christmas trees. Vormittag says 2012 was a “very bad” year for the trees. Since it takes about seven years from the time a sapling is planted until it hits the 6 to 7-foot mark, the point at which most are sold as Christmas trees, we’re just now seeing the impact of the problems of the past. That’s the bad news. The good news? Since Michigan is the nation’s third-largest fresh Christmas tree producers, we get first dibs on the supply…

Farm & Dairy, November 20, 2019: Expert: Risk of spotted lanternfly on Christmas trees is minimal

Folks worried that the spotted lanternfly will put a “bah humbug” into their holiday by taking up residence in their live Christmas tree should toss those concerns to the side like used wrapping paper, according to Penn State Extension experts. “Real trees are part of an outdoor ecosystem, and there is always a chance that insects may be brought indoors with a tree, and the spotted lanternfly is no exception,” said Tanner Delvalle, a horticulture extension educator based in Berks and Schuylkill counties. “However, Christmas trees are not a preferred host for spotted lanternflies, so the probability of finding a spotted lanternfly or an egg mass on Christmas trees is low and should not be a reason for anyone to forego having a live holiday tree.” To further quell concerns, Delvalle said that Christmas tree growers follow integrated pest management practices to minimize such risks. And, in the case of spotted lanternfly, growers in the quarantine zone of Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill counties work with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to meet the spotted lanternfly quarantine requirements prior to the sale of Christmas trees…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Magazine, November 20, 2019: No, Spotted Lanternflies Are Not Hiding in Your Soon-to-Be-Christmas Tree

I, like so many others, find it necessary to usher in the holidays by picking out a good ol’ Christmas tree and plopping it in a watering basin in my living room. It’s a surefire way to get into the festive spirit — and a live tree fills your home with that fresh forest smell, after all. So this past weekend, I was dismayed when my equally holiday-crazed roommate told me she might not want to get a live tree. Why? Because of spotted lanternflies. My roommate fell prey to a spreading rumor that the dreaded invasive insects are infesting Christmas trees and ruining the holidays. But alas, after some frenzied digging, I’m happy to inform you that this rumor is false: Agricultural experts at Penn State Extension reported this week that the risk of a spotted lanternfly hitching a ride indoors on your Christmas tree is “minimal…” Everyone can now relax…

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, WITI-TV, November 20, 2019: ‘Looking for the perfect tree:’ Men busted with 3K+ pounds of fir boughs stolen from national forest

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office seized 3,800 pounds of fir boughs that were unlawfully taken from the Willamette National Forest. The sheriff’s office said Forest Patrol deputies stopped two men on Nov. 12 in a vehicle which was carrying the fir boughs on Highway 22 near Stayton. During the traffic stop, the deputies learned the fir boughs were unlawfully taken and were going to be used commercially for creating Christmas decorations. The men, identified as Jose Lucas Lucas, 42, and Juan Lucas Perez, 31, both from Washington County, were charged with unlawful cutting and transport of special forest products. The sheriff’s office said the illegal harvest and sale of special forest products in the state is a continuing concern. Christmas trees and boughs, cones, bear grass, salal, and firewood are a few examples of special forest products…

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, November 20, 2019: Metro-area Christmas tree lot owners warn of shortage

Owners of Christmas tree lots in the Denver area say there is a shortage of trees this year. The owners say the problem dates back a decade to supplies in states like Oregon and North Carolina. “It’s the perfect storm,” said Tyler Sherwood, who owns Jolly Christmas Trees, which has locations in Stapleton and Aurora. “The perfect storm of recession eight years ago and topography: diseases in Oregon with some of their trees.” Sherwood says he has trucked in about 1,400 trees from Michigan to make up for the shortage, so he is confident there will be enough Christmas trees this year and beyond. “It takes a long time for the market to recover,” Sherwood said…

Randolph. Massachusetts, Wicked Local, November 19, 2019: Christmas tree sellers get ready for short season

Half a dozen workers unloaded trees from a logging truck and sorted them by height at That Bloomin’ Place on Tuesday as owner Jeff Smeed inspected the trees through the plastic netting. “These are little five and sixers, but I can tell they’ll be gorgeous,” said Smeed. With Thanksgiving on Nov. 28 this year, Christmas tree sellers are getting their stocks ready for a shorter-than-usual selling period before the big day. Smeed, however, doesn’t see this as too big a problem. “It’s a condensed timeline, four weeks instead of five. It’ll mean more intense days getting set up,” said Smeed, who prefers an unusually short selling season over an unusually long one. He said that last year, when there was an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, he was begging for more trees from his suppliers. “I was out of wreaths, trees, everything, and there were still 10 days until Christmas,” he said…

Knoxville, Tennessee, WBIR-TV, November 19, 2019: Tennessee trying to bring back the nearly extinct American Chestnut tree

The Tennessee Environmental Council planted hybrid American Chestnut trees at Panther Creek State Park Tuesday. It’s part of an effort to bring back the once thriving tree in a new way. The trees once dominated our region, but a foreign disease and blight wiped them out in the early 1900s. Now, every hole shoveled and every sapling planted is a step in the right direction for the American Chestnut tree. Johnny Boling volunteered to come from Norris to Morristown to help plant the hybrid plants. “Naturalists have been trying to replace the trees that died about 100 years ago but nothing has worked over the years,” Boling said. The hybrid sapling may be small initially, but by the time it’s fully grown it could be close to 100 feet. Cynthia Hernandez, the program coordinator for the Tennessee Tree Project, said the tree will hopefully grow considerably in five to 10 years. “It’s been said to comprise 25 to 30 percent of the forest,” Hernandez explained of the native version of the tree. “So the forests today look a lot different than they did say 100 years ago.” The planting at parks across the state is an experiment to see if the hybrid version of the chestnut tree can grow and survive…

Portland, Oregon, KPTV, November 19, 2019: Historic Oregon Christmas tree farm closed due to tree shortage

An historic Christmas tree farm won’t be open this year for tree-cutting season. Kirchem Farm closed this season due to a shortage of fully grown Christmas trees. If you look around the farm, you’ll see lots of potential Christmas trees. But there’s just one problem. “It’s probably six feet to the tip or little under, and it’s not very full,” Kirchem Farm Co-Owner, Cher Tollefson, said. Many of the trees aren’t ready yet to be adorned with ornaments and sit in living rooms. “This tree’s tall enough, but it also needs to fill out, it needs to be a little more full up here,” Tollefson said, showing FOX 12 the trees. “And if you look around they’re kind of all that way.” For the first time in nearly 30 years, families won’t be able to choose their favorite tree at the historic farm. “Our trees just need a year to catch up,” Tollefson said. Tollefson says the shortage is due to a couple of factors, including a seedling shortage in the mid 2000s and scorching summers…

Seattle, Washington, KING-TV, November 19, 2019: Bellevue plants hundreds of Sequoia saplings to boost tree canopy

Volunteers planted several hundred Sequoia saplings in a Bellevue park Saturday as part of the city’s effort to increase its tree canopy. Bellevue plans to plant approximately 1,000 Sequoia trees in parks and open spaces this fall to aid efforts to boost the city’s tree canopy to 40%. On Saturday, 30 volunteers planned to plant approximately 300 two-foot tall saplings in Wilburton Park. The other trees will be planted at Ardmore, Kelsey Creek and Airfield parks, and Forest Park Meadows Open Space. The city says aerial imaging shows its tree canopy has shrunk from 45% in 1986 to 36% in 2017 when it leveled off. Steady development, including construction of the East Link light rail, poses a risk to Bellevue’s trees. To combat the problem, PropagationNation, which locates and propagates Sequoia and Redwood trees, donated $8,000 worth of Sequoia trees to the city. Although they aren’t native to Seattle, Sequoia trees were chosen, because they’re fast-growing, pest-resistant, and drought-tolerant. Over the last five years, native trees like western red cedar and western hemlock, have had a higher mortality rate due to drought stress, according to the city …

Los Angeles, California, Times, November 18, 2019: In the Sierra, scientists bet on ‘survivor’ trees to withstand drought and climate change

The sugar pine, with its foot-long cones and feathery branches that stretch out high above the forest, used to be one of the most common trees standing guard over Lake Tahoe’s clear waters. But drought, bark beetles and climate change have ravaged this beloved conifer, whose population was already diminished by logging, development and other human activities. From 2012 to 2016, drought and bark beetles killed more than 129 million trees in California, most of them conifers in the Sierra Nevada. On the drier, south-facing slopes on this basin’s north side, sugar pines were hit especially hard as mountain pine beetles attacked the water-starved trees, tunneling through their bark until many of them died. “You had literally side-by-side sugar pines, one alive, one dead,” said UC Davis forest biologist Patricia Maloney. But it’s not the dead trees that interested Maloney. It was the survivors…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, November 18, 2019: Brook Park begins process to rebuild depleted city tree canopy

A tree inventory and survey is under way as the first part of a multi-phase process to restore Brook Park’s ailing tree canopy. According to Certified Master Arborist Chad Clink of Bartlett Tree Experts, Brook Park’s tree canopy is less than 19 percent, “one of the lowest (for) municipalities in Cuyahoga County.” “This is about getting a baseline for what your tree population looks like, and then starting to think strategically about putting trees in the right places so they are assets in the long haul,” Clink explained to City Council at the Nov. 6 caucus, held just prior to its regular meeting. Brook Park Economic Development Commissioner Scott Adamsworked with Clink to secure a recently awarded $27,000 grant as part of the county’s Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program. A significant part of the restoration will involve the main municipal campus, known as the City Center, where a main park, playground, recreation center, branch library and Brook Park City Hall are located…

Palm Beach, Florida, WPBF-TV, November 18, 2019: ‘We may have to look for another state tree’: Disease is wiping out palm trees

Imagine your lush, tropical yard wiped out, killed by an insect creeping throughout the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. Homeowners are losing thousands of dollars in landscaping. “I miss the nice, big green tree,” said Valeria Fabiani, a homeowner. Fabiani used to have a window with a view. “There’s a tower that I don’t like and I was trying to cover it,” said Fabiani. She wanted to create a palm tree oasis in her backyard. “It started looking like this one. The leaves would yellow and the branches would get completely dry,” said Fabiani. “Once it gets the disease, it’s too late. If it’s infected, it has to be removed,” said Michael Zimmerman, the owner of Zimmerman Tree Services. The insect, a type of plant hopper, is the carrier of a disease known as lethal bronzing…

Phys.org, November 18, 2019: Scientists uncover resistance genes for deadly ash tree disease

New research has identified the genetic basis of resistance to ash dieback in UK trees, opening up new avenues for conservation. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew sequenced the DNA from over 1,250 ash trees to find inherited genes associated with ash dieback resistance. The study, published in leading journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, showed that resistance is controlled by multiple genes, offering hope that surviving trees could be used to restore diseased woodlands, either by natural regeneration or selective breeding. Professor Richard Nichols, author of the study from Queen Mary University of London, said: “We found that the genetics behind ash dieback resistance resembled other characteristics like human height, where the trait is controlled by many different genes working together, rather than one specific gene…”

Salt Lake City, Utah, Deseret-News, November 17, 2019: Growing greener: U.S. cities are losing trees and their life-giving benefits. The scramble is on to replace them

Two hundred trees don’t look like many, standing in a fenced enclosure, the majesty of the Wasatch Mountains behind them. Not many, that is, unless you’re among the city’s urban forestry staff who unloaded them, wrestling a seemingly endless supply of 20-gallon containers from the semi-truck that carried them from the Oregon nursery that raised them. At 7- to 10-feet tall each, they’re tricky for arborists who place them carefully on a Bobcat, then hurry alongside as they’re moved to the enclosure, to be lifted again and lined up by types. Viewed across the city’s Public Services Department yard, it’s hard to sense the scale they’ll achieve when they’re planted around the city, where some may live 100 years and grow 60 feet tall. Thinking that trees are just pretty is like reading a book jacket instead of the book. Those skinny trunks, resembling spindly legs of adolescent runners, may one day support a canopy that lowers temperatures warmed by city-hot asphalt, scrubs air, filters water, reduces flooding and shelters readers, strolling seniors and kids playing hide-n-seek. They may even slow mental decline…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, November 17, 2019: Tree-killing fungal disease native to Hawaii spreads on Oahu

An ohia tree-killing fungal disease local to Hawaii was discovered spreading on Oahu after wildlife officials conducted an aerial survey of the island forest, state officials said. State Division of Forestry and Wildlife officials tagged 41 more trees that could be ailing from rapid ohia death after first discovering an infected tree in the summer, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday. Dozens of trees need to be tested for the disease, but the area is rugged and difficult to reach, state protection forester Rob Hauff said. “It will probably take several months because they are all in different places,” he said…

Erie, Pennsylvania, Times-News, November 17, 2019: A new generation of trees

Vernon Peterson said he has always considered the stretch of Erie’s Bayfront Parkway as it passes West Eighth Street and Frontier Park “kind of the welcoming mat” to the city and its bayfront. Peterson, the executive director of the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier, expects the view to be even more welcoming in time, thanks to a cooperative effort involving donations of time and money that replaced a row of dead and dying trees with a variety of new ones. Work wrapped up Saturday on planting 31 trees along the Bayfront Parkway in city-owned Frontier Park to replace over 30 mature trees that were removed during the spring. The old trees, planted decades ago to serve as a noise barrier, were removed because some had been topped, others had grown into the overhead power lines, some were infested with insects and most of the pines had a fungus that weakened their immune systems, Peterson said. L.E.A.F. first partnered with Penelec parent company FirstEnergy, and the city of Erie to remove the trees. FirstEnergy agreed to cut down and stump the trees and remove the debris, which was a big cost savings to the city, Peterson said…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, November 17, 2019: If you care about old growth trees in B.C. now’s your chance to speak up

The province will spend months collecting more public feedback on how old-growth trees should be protected or cut down in yet another round of engagement over new rules for forestry and conservation in B.C. The Old Growth Strategic Review follows a similar consultation process, intended to result in the overhaul of B.C.’s forestry rules to better protect ecosystems, maintain jobs and reconcile with First Nations. The overhaul was a central plank of the NDP’s election platform in 2017. However, conservationists say the review is a stalling tactic and argue new legislation is needed now to slow the cutting of B.C.’s huge trees, some as old as 800 years. Andrea Inness, a campaigner with the Ancient Forest Alliance, says the planned meetings are another delay to meaningful action such as announcing increased protections for old growth forests. “They are kicking the ball down the field,” she said…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, November 14, 2019: With a ritual blessing and clean cut, Nova Scotians prepare Christmas tree for journey to Boston

It was a festive atmosphere in Pictou County on Tuesday as hundreds of people gathered in a wide ring around a 45-foot white spruce. This tree, on the property of Desmond Waithe and Corina Saunders, will soon be Boston bound. “My sister lives in Boston,” said Theresa Benoit, who had traveled up from Antigonish to be there to see the tree come down. “I’m going to call her tonight and tell her that I’ve seen the tree getting ready to go.” Since 1971, Nova Scotia has sent the city of Boston a Christmas tree to thank it for the support and aid for Halifax after an explosion 102 years ago killed 2,000 people and left the city in ruins. This year, the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry chose the 60-year-old spruce from Pictou County to make the 684-mile southbound journey. “I’m certainly going to miss the tree,” Saunders said. “It’s a beautiful tree.” There were free coffee, snacks, and games for all the students who had come from school to take part in the festivities. The smell of wood smoke and sage permeated the chilly air, mixing with the scent of fresh snow that had fallen hours earlier. Before the tree was cut, the crowd heard speeches from Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin and from Ryan Woods, commissioner of parks and recreation for Boston, where the tree will arrive on Dec. 5 for a tree-lighting the same day on Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States…”

Rancho Cucamonga, California, Daily Bulletin, November 14, 2019: Oak tree killer found in Wrightwood; here’s how you can stop the spread

A small beetle that kills giant oak trees has been found near the San Bernardino County mountain community of Wrightwood, and officials are placing the blame on imported firewood. The goldspotted oak borer, native to Arizona, was first found in San Bernardino County last year in Oak Glen. It was also found in the Sugarloaf area near Big Bear City this summer. The insect was detected in recently-killed California black oaks in Wrightwood and confirmed by a U.S. Forest Service entomologist. A news release from the Forest Service points the blame for all three infestations on borer-infested oak firewood brought into the areas. Officials urge the public to avoid transporting infested oak firewood into uninfested areas. Any places with coast live oaks, black oaks or canyon live oaks are vulnerable, including San Bernardino mountain communities and surrounding national forest lands, according to the Forest Service. While the San Bernardino and Angeles national forests, CalFire and local agencies are developing a plan for response in the county, at-risk communities are asked to familiarize themselves with the threat and report any suspected activity at gsob.org…

Science, November 14, 2019: A mysterious disease is striking American beech trees

A mysterious disease is starting to kill American beeches, one of eastern North America’s most important trees, and has spread rapidly from the Great Lakes to New England. But scientists disagree about what is causing the ailment, dubbed beech leaf disease. Some have recently blamed a tiny leaf-eating worm introduced from Asia, but others are skeptical that’s the whole story. Regardless of their views, researchers say the outbreak deserves attention. “We’re dealing with something really unusual,” says Lynn Carta, a plant disease specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Beltsville, Maryland. American beech (Fagus grandifolia), whose smooth gray trunks can resemble giant elephant legs, can grow to almost 40 meters tall. It is the fifth most common tree species in southern New England and in New York state—and the single most common tree in Washington, D.C. Its annual nut crop provides food for birds, squirrels, and deer…

Science Daily, November 14, 2019: Ash Dieback: Better news for European ash trees

For the past decade the outlook has been gloomy for European ash trees devastated by Ash dieback and facing the threat of more invasive pests. Now the latest scientific research brings better news. It reveals that European ash has moderately good resistance to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) a beetle which has severely affected ash species in the USA and some parts of Russia. Tests on a selection of ash species show that European ash — while not immune to initial attack by the EAB — has the resources to restrict the beetle’s development. The study finds that the frequency with which larvae of the EAB developed to later stages in European ash was much lower than in the highly-susceptible black ash. But European ash had similar resistance to that of Manchurian ash which co-exists with the beetle in East Asia. Previously, researchers were concerned that if EAB arrived in Britain, any native European ash trees that hadn’t succumbed to ash dieback may be finished off by the beetle…

Fort Myers, Florida, News-Press, November 13, 2019: Appellate court rules in favor of Lee County homeowners who lost citrus trees

Lee County homeowners who lost their citrus trees to the state’s failed canker-fighting campaign more than 15 years ago have won their case — again. Although the homeowners have won repeatedly in court, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has refused to pay the money. On Wednesday, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal in Tampa ordered the department and its commissioner to immediately pay the millions owed to nearly 12,000 households in Lee County, with interest — upholding a Lee Circuit Court judge’s order to hold them accountable more than a year ago. While he’s hopeful the latest ruling will result in full payment, Robert Gilbert, a Coral Gables attorney who represents the homeowners, isn’t so sure. “I think that they will ask for the court to reconsider their decision and come up with all sorts of mumbo-jumbo about how the court got it wrong,” Gilbert said…

San Diego, California, KFMB-TV, November 13, 2019: Is the city responsible for an overgrown tree filled with rats in Ocean Beach?

Rodents are making themselves at home in an overgrown tree. Neighbors in Ocean Beach aren’t exactly thrilled about rats living in the ivy-covered tree. Of course, there’s also the anxiety about what could happen on a windy day that makes the tree shake. “It could slip down and crush the homeowner,” said Kitty Belmonte, who lives just west of the palm tree. “We’ve got everything that lives up there [like] mice, rats, opossums, raccoons [and] skunks,” said Chris Taylor, who lives east of the tree. So, is this tree the city’s responsibility? News 8’s Shawn Styles looked into it. News 8 reached out the San Diego County Vector Control and the City of San Diego. The city did contact News 8 and said that planting invasive plants like ivy on city property is illegal, thus, the ivy is not its responsibility. The city will send a notice to the tree owner to remove it within 30 days…

Tampa, Florida, WFLA-TV, November 13, 2019: Duke Energy customer concerned with tree near power lines

Darryl Raulerson is concerned. Every time he walks in his backyard in St. Petersburg, he sees a tree scraping against the Duke Energy power lines. He thinks to himself, it’s only a matter of time. “When we get a bad storm or something, it’s going to come down and obviously take down the lines with it,” said Raulerson. “It’s been leaning like this for quite some time… It’s getting to the point right now where I’m getting worried with it.” So Raulerson called Duke Energy. Duke sent out a crew and workers told him the tree was fine. There was nothing to be worried about. Raulerson followed up and called Duke back and felt like he was getting blown off. “It sounded to me like he just didn’t care. He just wanted to talk to me on the phone and get me off the phone,” said Raulerson. “That’s that.” So he called 8 On Your Side. News Channel 8’s Chip Osowski called Duke Energy and the company issued this statement, saying in part, another crew will come back out to his home and reevaluate the situation: “The safety of our customers and line workers is a top priority for Duke Energy. We received the customer’s complaint on Nov. 3 and visited this morning (Nov. 13) to investigate, within our 10 business day timeline for non-immediate concerns. A vegetation management coordinator, who is also a certified arborist, inspected the tree that is located on a nearby neighbor’s property and also reviewed additional spans of power lines in the general area. Through a visual inspection from the ground, the coordinator found there to be no structural defects or damage that would cause an immediate threat to our lines. As such, it currently meets our reliability and safety specifications…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, KFOR-TV, November 13, 2019: New study: Oklahoma City’s metro has more tree cover than any time in its history

They’re here on business. Urban foresters Mark Bays and Riley Coy walk the paths at Will Rogers Park in search of a couple of big elms they heard about. “First, you have to go up and hug the tree,” smiles Bays, the Oklahoma Urban Forestry Coordinator. Together, they measure diameter, crown spread, and height. Their efforts provide a tiny sliver of a new and much larger picture. “You can imagine all the trees and whatever size they are,” Bays says. The Oklahoma Forestry Service, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation got together for a first-of-its-kind survey of trees across more than 500 square miles of the metro. They used satellites and thousands of tiny plots to get a picture of more than just fall colors. Bays explains, “We see that it’s a mosaic of trees. It’s open space and prairie grass and woodlands…”

Nassau, Long Island, New York, News 12, November 12, 2019: PSEG Long Island tree trimming apparently traps 85-year-old woman inside home

An 85-year-old woman says she was essential trapped in her home after PSEG Long Island trimmed a tree outside her house. Alice Cammiso, of Merrick, says she called a landscaper for an estimate to remove a 90-foot-tall tree. She says the landscaper told her first to call PSEG Long Island and have them trim the tree around the wires first. Cammiso says the crew showed up unannounced Monday morning and they ended up taking off the whole top of the tree. News 12 is told the mess blocked off the driveway and Cammiso’s daughter, Wendy Camestro, says that there was wood piled up to the top of her porch. She says Cammiso was unable to get out of her house due to the mess. Cammiso and Camestro say it took several calls to PSEG Long Island and some local officials, but PSEG Long Island did send a crew to cart away most of the mess. Prior to PSEG Long Island coming to the house to trim the tree, Cammiso signed an agreement with the utility that says in part, “In order that I may remove the tree safely, I authorize PSEG’s contractor to trim clearance to the conductors. I understand it is my responsibility to dispose of the brush and wood that results from the contractor’s trimming…”

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, November 12, 2019: 2 teens indicted on murder charges in death of Ohio photographer hit by tree branch

Two teens have been indicted on murder charges Tuesday in connection with the death of a photographer who was struck and killed by a large tree branch in early September in Hocking Hills, according to reports. WCMH Channel 4 reports Jaden Churchheus, 16, and Jordan Buckley, 16, are charged with murder, aggravated murder, and reckless homicide. They are being charged as adults after being arrested in early October. Both are accused of pushing a 74-pound log off of a cliff that struck and killed Victoria Schafer, 44, as she took photos near Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park on Sept. 2. Initial reports indicated Schafer had been killed by a falling branch. But officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources say they began investigating the two teens after receiving information that they might be involved in Schafer’s death. Investigators with the Hocking County Sheriff’s Department obtained a confession from the two teens about their involvement in Schafer’s death, according to reports. Schafer reportedly was taking senior photos of six high school seniors when the incident occurred…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, November 12, 2019: Man who destroyed Hamden’s ‘door tree’ avoids prison

The man who chainsawed the historic “Door Tree” in Hamden was granted a supervised diversionary program Tuesday in Superior Court, enabling him to avoid jail time and have the charges dismissed in two years if he complies with the program’s conditions. Curtis Pardee, 64, of Adeline Street in New Haven, apologized to the people of Hamden during the court session but not to his brother, David, who was known as “Mr. Door Tree” because of his love for the 200-year-old white oak with a doorway-like arch. Pardee told Regional Water Authority police he destroyed the tree because he hates his brother. Superior Court Judge Thomas V. O’Keefe Jr. noted the tree “meant a lot to a lot of people, including the defendant’s brother.” O’Keefe also spoke about his own love of trees, including a pine tree and an apple tree that had stood in his front yard. O’Keefe acknowledged some people might be upset with his granting the request by Pardee’s attorney Frank Riccio that Pardee enter the program rather than serve time in prison. But O’Keefe said, “It’s the right thing to do.” O’Keefe noted Pardee “has struggled with mental health issues his whole life. This program will be good for him and everybody else. It will help him deal with his illness…”

Resilience, November 12, 2019: Trees in the Field: Taking Farming to a New Dimension

Stephen Briggs scans the horizon where dark clouds are looming. He finished the grain harvest the day before, but the straw still needs to be baled and he’s not keen on rain just yet. But it does look as if a thunderstorm is heading our way, the wind has picked up and suddenly drives a cloud of dust towards us – it’s the soil from a neighbour’s field that has just been ploughed, explains Briggs. “Look at that,” he says, “that’s why I have planted all those trees.” Whitehall Farm lies just south of Peterborough; the land here is flat and the soil fertile. In 2007, Stephen Briggs and his wife Lynn were chosen from out of 85 applicants to be the new tenants of this 102 hectare Cambridgeshire County Council farm. Normally a tenancy is up for renewal every three years, not a good option for the Briggs who wanted to switch to an organic farming system. However, the landlord got behind the idea and granted them a 15-year tenancy, which has just been renewed for another 15 years. Neither Stephen nor Lynn Briggs come from farm families. Stephen’s background is in engineering. When he found out he didn’t particularly like his job in the car industry, he decided to retrain. He studied agriculture, did a Master’s degree in soil science and eventually used his Nuffield scholarship to research agroforestry. Lynn, too, is a soil scientist…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, November 11, 2019: ‘Scariest tree pathogen in the world’ spreading rapidly in California

Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a deadly disease for oak trees, is on the rise in California. According to a survey conducted by UC Berkeley scientists, the number of infected trees has almost doubled since 2018. Matteo Garbelotto, the director of the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory, has been involved in conducting the survey of 14 California counties (stretching from Humboldt to Monterey) for the past 12 years. This year, two aspects of the results stood out to him. “We found this year the most sharp increase ever in the number of trees affected,” said Garbelotto. However, this was expected due to the wet winters we’ve had in California for the past two years — the spores spread faster with significant rainfall. What was really unexpected was the scope of where they were finding the outbreaks. “I saw a lot of outbreaks that we had seen before in the 12 years of our program, but I saw all the outbreaks being expressed at once this year,” he said. In previous years, some outbreaks would decrease while others would flare up — this year, every outbreak flared up. “This patterns shows me that the organism has really spread into the ecosystem of Coastal California. Now it’s already established everywhere, and it flares up when the weather is favorable… “

Charlotte, North Carolina, Agenda, November 11, 2019: A Charlotte bakery owner delivers bread and comfort to migrant workers on North Carolina’s Christmas tree farms

One hundred miles from his Central Avenue bakery, Manolo Betancur pulls into the parking lot of a Latino grocery store in Sparta, a little mountain town where Christmas grows all year. He’s been traveling from Charlotte to the North Carolina hills weekly for nearly a decade, delivering fresh bread to the migrant workers who harvest Fraser firs and make wreaths you see in Walmart or Publix. Next door to the grocery is a bank. Recently a divider rose between the two parking lots. “They didn’t like all of the Latinos pulling in here and they put this fence here,” Manolo says. “But man, if it weren’t for all of these immigrants, this industry wouldn’t exist. There’s not enough hands.” He opens the back hatch and starts to unload long, plastic containers of pastries, bread, and donuts. Inside the store, customers can purchase everything from wallets to bananas to cowboy boots to a kids’ drum set for $39.99. The owner, Rosalba Caro… smiles and waves. She’s known Manolo since he dropped in one day in 2009 and asked her to try his food. She liked it and ordered some, then more, and now it’s 10 years later… This is Sparta’s busiest season. North Carolina ranks second in the United States for number of Christmas trees harvested each year. We’ll soon be number one, probably. Oregon, long the nation’s leader, has seen its production drop more than 25 percent since 2012, from 6.5 million trees to 4.7 million. North Carolina remained steady, though — 4 million trees in 2017 compared to 4.3 million in 2012. Fraser firs take seven to eight years to grow, and some struggling farms stopped planting after the 2008 financial collapse. That means in 2019 the tree-growing business is only beginning to emerge from the downturn…

Mongabay.com, November 11, 2019: LIDAR technology leads Brazilian team to 30 story tall Amazon tree

A combination of scientific curiosity and chance has led a research team that was creating a detailed forest biomass map of the Brazilian Amazon to a unique discovery: a tall tree for the record books. An individual red angelim (Dinizia excelsa Ducke), discovered in a remote area on the border of Pará and Amapá states, is 88.5 meters (more than 290 feet) tall — the equivalent of a 30 story building. It is the tallest canopy tree ever found in the region, which averages tree heights of 45 meters (147 feet). The discovery, news of which was first published this August in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, occurred while INPE (the National Institute for Space Research) was working on the map — meant to improve Amazon biomass estimation methods, and to enhance carbon emission estimation models due to land use change. Biomass mapping provides one means for calculating and verifying how much carbon dioxide a country emits due to soil changes brought by land use modification. “As a signatory to climate agreements, Brazil is committed to producing carbon emissions and sequestration reports. A biomass map… [tells] how much carbon is stored in a certain area, and how much is emitted in the event of a fire or deforestation, for instance,” Eric Bastos Gorgens told Mongabay; he is a researcher at the Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM) and member of the INPE biomass project team…

Time, November 7, 2019: Hawaii Man Dies After Falling 22 Feet Into Lava Tube While Trimming His Trees

An elderly Hawaii man died after falling into a 22 feet-deep lava tube in his yard, police said. Lava tubes are natural underground channels that allow lava to pass beneath the surface of a lava flow—sometimes miles from the eruption site. After the lava drains away, it can leave behind massive caves under the earth. Police arrived Monday at the elderly man’s home in Hilo in response to reports that he “had not been seen or heard from in several days,” according to a police statement Wednesday. Police found that he had fallen through “a soft area of ground into a lava tube on his property.” Police Maj. Robert Wagner told news outlet Big Island Now that the victim appeared to be “trimming some branches in his yard” before the incident occurred…

ANI.com., November 7, 2019: Trees – a feasible option for cutting down air pollution around factories

Planting trees around landscapes near factories and other pollution sources, is found to cut down air pollution by 27 per cent, a more viable and cheaper option than using technology. The study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, highlighted that it is the plants and not technologies for cleaning the air near a number of industrial sites, roadways, power plants, commercial boilers and oil and gas drilling sites, that too in cheaper ways. In fact, researchers found that in 75 per cent of the counties analyzed, it was cheaper to use plants to mitigate air pollution than it was to add technological interventions – things like smokestack scrubbers – to the sources of pollution. ‘The fact is that traditionally, especially as engineers, we don’t think about nature; we just focus on putting technology into everything, said lead author Bhavik Bakshi, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at The Ohio State University. ‘And so, one key finding is that we need to start looking at nature and learning from it and respecting it…

Denver, Colorado, KCNC-TV, November 6, 2019: Get Your Permit To Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree

Christmas tree cutting permits for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests are available now online through the U.S. Forest Service. Permits are $20 per tree. Households are allowed to cut up to five trees. The Denver/Front Range Christmas Tree Cutting areas are within the shortest driving distances from several cities along the Front Range, including Ft. Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs, CO. The Denver/Front Range Christmas Tree Cutting areas are within Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests, Pike National Forest and the White River National Forest…

Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican-American, November 11, 2019: High-tech chestnuts: U.S. to consider genetically altered tree

Chestnuts harvested from high branches on a chilly fall morning look typical: they’re marble sized, russet colored and nestled in prickly burs. But many are like no other nuts in nature. In a feat of genetic engineering, about half the chestnuts collected at this college experiment station feature a gene that provides resistance to blight that virtually wiped out the American chestnut tree generations ago. Researchers at New York state’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry will soon seek federal clearance to distribute thousands of modified trees as part of a restoration effort — a closely-watched move that could expand the frontier for genetically engineered plants beyond farms and into forests. The precedent-setting case adds urgency to a question scientists have already been grappling with: Should genetic engineering be used in the wild to help save or restore trees? Opponents warn of starting “a massive and irreversible experiment” in a highly complex ecosystem. Proponents see a technology already ubiquitous in the supermarket that could help save forests besieged by invasive pests…

Atlanta, Georgia, WABE-TV, November 7, 2019: Atlanta Researcher Looks To Trees To Help Ease Highway Air Pollution

Plenty of Atlantans spend time on highways, speeding or inching or swerving along. But many people spend a lot of time near the highways, too: at their homes, schools or workplaces. And that’s not great for their health. In addition to greenhouse gases that cause climate change, car and truck emissions have been linked to heart and lung problems. So a Georgia State University public health professor is studying how effectively trees can help filter out some of that pollution…

Yahoo News, November 4, 2019: Study: Alien grasses are making more frequent US wildfires

For much of the United States, invasive grass species are making wildfires more frequent, especially in fire-prone California, a new study finds. Twelve non-native species act as “little arsonist grasses,” said study co-author Bethany Bradley, a University of Massachusetts professor of environmental conservation. Wherever the common Mediterranean grass invades, including California’s southern desert, fires flare up three times more often. And cheatgrass , which covers about one-third of the Intermountain West, is a big-time fire promoter, Bradley said. “I would not be surprised at all if invasive grasses are playing a role in the current fires but I don’t think we can attribute to them directly,” Bradley said. University of Utah fire expert Phil Dennison, who wasn’t part of the study but says it makes sense, said, “In a lot of ways, California was ground zero for invasive grasses. Much of California’s native perennial grassland was replaced by Mediterranean annual grasses over a century ago. This study doesn’t look at invasive grasses in the areas that are burning in California, but invasive grasses are contributing to the fires there…”

London, UK, Independent, October 28, 2019: Amazon deforestation could be stopped by ‘miracle tree’

Amid devastating wildfires and clearances for agricultural land in the Amazon, a tree species that can help keep soil fertile could provide a sliver of optimism for the grave situation in the rainforest. The inga tree – also known as the ice cream bean tree – can not only grow on the very poor soil left by destructive slash and burn land clearing, but can ultimately improve the soil and make it fertile enough for other species to return. Meanwhile, the beans can be sold by farmers, leaves from the trees can be fed to cattle, and they can be coppiced to create firewood – giving people several reasons to invest in growing them…

Oddity Central, November 4, 2019: This Famous Tree Log Has Been Floating Vertically for 120 Years And No One Knows Why

A floating tree stump known as the “Old Man of the Lake” has been bobbing in the blue water of Oregon’s Crater Lake for at least 120 years, baffling scientists with its upright orientation and allegedly even controlling the local weather. The first account of the Old Man of the Lake dates back to 1896, when geologist and explorer Joseph Diller described a splintered and bleached white log floating vertically in Crater Lake. Five years later, Diller observed that the unusual log had moved 400 meters from the location it had originally been spotted at. Further research would show that the Old Man of the Lake is able to move more than four miles in just one day, despite lacking any apparent means of propulsion. How it’s able to do that is still a mystery, but it’s only one of many. Carbon dating suggests that the Old Man of the Lake is at least 450 years old, at least 120 of which it spent bobbing in the water of Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States, and the ninth deepest in the world. Experts believed the log, most likely a hemlock, wound up in the water following a landslide, but as to why it remained upright instead of floating horizontally, no one has a definitive answer. The laws of physics state that a floating object of uniform density will always have its center of mass as being higher than its center of buoyancy, which is why tree logs float horizontally, but the Old Man of the Lake is different. Despite being 9-meters-long, with a diameter of about 61 cm, it’s been bobbing vertically for the last 120 years

San Antonio, Texas, Express-News, November 3, 2019: Mesquite trees seen as blessing, curse in parts of Texas

Ranch manager Farron Sultemeier calls the mesquite a blessing and a curse. The San Antonio Express-News reports this most iconic of Texas trees is a blessing because the beans provide late summer feed for cattle and wildlife, as well as being a welcome shelter and shade from the burning sun. And the curse? Mesquite spreads ridiculously fast and is almost unstoppably invasive. “They’ve got such a deep root system that if you cut one down, it grows back stronger and more fiercely,” said Sultemeier, who manages ranches in Uvalde, Kendall, Mason and Gillespie counties. “Given the chance, they can get so thick they cut off grazing land.” Texas mesquites also produce thorns sharp enough to injure livestock and puncture a car tire. And they grow so gnarly and twisted, the wood is virtually useless for anything other than the outdoor pit where it imparts a bold smokiness to meat — a signature of Texas barbecue. But that soon may change with two new and improved mesquite trees developed by California-based Altman Plants, which operates a sprawling, 500-acre wholesale nursery on the far West Side. These experimental trees — only about 2,000 exist so far — grow erect, spineless and fast, while still being able to survive and thrive the in harsh, semi-arid climate of South Texas. Altman Plants recently shipped about 150 of its two experimental hybrids — dubbed Mojave and Sonoran — from California to the San Antonio nursery where they’ll be propagated. Specimens should be available for purchase within a year. These trees grew from seeds resulting from the cross pollination of two patented parents, one a rare and thornless Texas mesquite, the other a cold-hardy mesquite from Argentina that also was thornless

Los Angeles, California, KNBC-TV, October 31, 2019: Judge Approves Family’s Suit Against City Over Deadly Tree Fall in Whittier

Family members of a 61-year-old woman fatally hit by a falling 80-foot tree at her daughter’s 2016 wedding party in Whittier can take their lawsuit against the city to trial, a second judge has ruled. Norwalk Superior Court Judge Margaret Miller Bernal issued her ruling Wednesday. Judge Kristin S. Escalante handed down a similar ruling May 17, but the city submitted a second dismissal motion June 14, stating in its court papers that they contained facts that “arise from new circumstances and new evidence that the city was not previously able to raise regarding the location of the subject tree in an unimproved area of Penn Park.” Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for an injury caused by a natural condition of any unimproved public property, the city argued in its court papers. But lawyers for the relatives of the late Margarita Mojarro maintained in their court papers that the area in which the tree was located was “clearly improved, developed and actively maintained” by the city and its tree-care company. “This isn’t even a close call,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys stated in their court papers…

Columbia, Missouri, Daily Herald, October 31, 2019: Protester continues freezing vigil in tree

A nature activist said her resolve has grown stronger as she began day four of a sit-in protest against the use of eminent domain for a pedestrian trail. Following a night of temperatures in the 20s with snow and freezing rain, It’s Our Wild Nature chairperson Sutu Forte early Thursday remained in her tent pitched on a platform about 20 feet up in a Red Oak standing in the path of the proposed Shepherd to Rollins Trail. She remains committed to staying there until the city halts plans for a paved trail through the group’s property, she said. “I was told yesterday (Wednesday) by a number of old friends, you have to come down, this is wrong, it’s not going to help the cause,” Forte said. “I said I appreciate your concern, but I know what I’m doing. I will be here until I am physically removed. I have to. I promised the forest. These trees are more important than me and not many people were taking them seriously until now.” Mayor Brian Treece on Thursday praised Forte, a Juilliard graduate and accomplished pianist, for years of performing for the benefit of the community. City officials and many others are concerned for her safety as she sleeps outside in below-freezing temperatures, he added…

Euactiv.com, October 31, 2019: New scientific research offers hope for overcoming olive tree killer

A number of promising results from innovative EU funded research presented at a recent scientific conference suggest that we might be one step closer to beating the olive tree killer Xylella fastidiosa. The conference, which was held in Corsica and involved around 350 plant health specialists from around the world, focused on ways in which science can help find solutions to the plant pest that is wreaking havoc across Europe. Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterial disease which is decimating olive groves across Europe. First detected in Italy in 2013, it started to spread rapidly across Southern Europe. It has now been identified in France and Spain, where the area currently affected by the disease amounts to more than 134.000 hectares since October 2016. Some of the developments presented at the conference involved the innovative use of technology for monitoring the spread of this disease. The latest advancements from European research projects working on Xylella included the final results from the Horizon 2020 Pest Organisms Threatening Europe (POnTE) Project, a four-year project designed to protect Europe from emerging pests…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun-Times, October 31, 2019: Report: Poor planning makes tree trimming costly

Chicago is trimming fewer trees at a higher cost because city crews rely on 311 requests, instead of proactively using a grid system to trim trees on a regular basis, Inspector General Joe Ferguson concluded Wednesday. Ten years ago, a consultant hired by the Department of Streets and Sanitation concluded that switching to a grid system — already used for garbage collection and graffiti removal — could reduce travel times by 35 percent, cut costs by 60 percent and increase the daily productivity of tree trimming crews by a whopping 147 percent. That would reduce a “significant backlog” that has forced parts of the city to wait ten years for tree trimming services. On Wednesday, Ferguson chided the Department of Streets and Sanitation for ignoring the Monitor Group’s “overwhelming findings in favor of a grid-based approach” and continuing to trim trees only in response to 311 requests…

Biloxi, Mississippi, Sun Herald, October 30, 2019: Tree-cutting crews stopped in OS less than 12 hours after city OKs Live oaks removal

With removal crews in place Wednesday morning, the demolition of three Live oaks on a Front Beach property was suddenly halted. A stop-work order was filed by the City of Ocean Springs after crews were ready to cut down the trees as early as 7:30 a.m. Workers told the Sun Herald that they had received the permit to work that morning, but were quickly stopped and left around 9:30 a.m. to move on to other jobs. The Sun Herald was there Wednesday morning when tree-removal crews covered the property. They were accompanied by neighbors, representatives from the city and police who said they were “there to maintain the peace.” Jaklyn Wrigley, a local lawyer who lives across the street and has been fighting the trees’ removal, told the Sun Herald she got a phone call about the crews early Wednesday morning. “Fortunately, the City quickly put a ‘stop work’ order in place, and the crews ceased their efforts to remove the trees,” she said. “They were not successful in removing the trees this morning.” Wrigley said a new injunction is being finalized and will be filed later today. The first injunction was filed in Jackson Circuit Court October 28 against the original property owners Julius and John Frank Bosco, but they learned after Tuesday’s meeting that ownership has now transferred to Debra Littlepage…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, October 30, 3029: PG&E Reveals 118 Instances Of Wind, Tree Damage From Oct. 9 Power Shutoff

PG&E revealed Wednesday crews found 118 instances of damage that could have started fires on its lines from wind and tree branches during the Oct. 9 power shutoff. The utility said 74 lines were damaged by vegetation. Officials say that includes 44 instances that would have likely caused arcing, or a spark, if the lines were energized. PG&E also said during patrols, crews identified vegetation issues that pre-dated the Oct. 9 PSPS, which were not included in the filing Wednesday. All of the instances of vegetation damage that PG&E believes would have caused arching can be found here. According to PG&E, some of the locations where the 44 instances of damage occurred had not been inspected for over a year. The utility identified an additional 41 instances of damage that appeared to be caused by wind or extreme fire conditions, causing a broken tie wire. PG&E said 12 of those instances would have caused arcing…

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, October 30, 2019: Tree vs. sidewalk: One local man is rooting for the tree

“It’s majestic,” Matt Cafiso said as he pointed to the live oak tree in front of his St. Augustine business, Christe Blue. Tuesday, he saw a road crew on Anastasia Boulevard by his property. “They started ripping up the sidewalk here,” he said. It’s part of a Florida Department of Transportation routine sidewalk maintenance project. He asked one of the crewmen about the project and eventually, “he says, ‘We’re going to have to pull your down your tree.'” Cafiso was stunned. “It caught me off guard a little,” he said. “It’s a healthy tree. He told me, ‘It’s causing the sidewalk to buckle over there.’ And I said, ‘It’s a beautiful, old tree. And with everything going on in this town, with all the growing and building so quickly, why would we tear down a beautiful tree like that?'” So Cafiso called the Florida Department of Transportation. He also looked at his land map, and he believes the tree is on his property. ‘I’m just trying to find out what’s going on,” Cafiso said. “So I won’t be surprised and find people cutting down the tree one day.” DOT supervisors visited Cafiso Wednesday. They said they won’t take down the tree… for now. But they say they will have to address the issue later on. Cafiso is skeptical, and he worries the state will take the tree down eventually…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, October 30, 2019: What is ball moss doing to your tree?

Over the years, readers have asked about ball moss when they’ve spotted the gray-green spiky tufts perched on the branches of live oaks, crape myrtles, vitex and other trees. What is it, and will it harm trees? Ball moss (Tillandsia recurvata), an epiphytic bromeliad, is a flowering, seed-producing air plant. Like the related Spanish moss, it’s not a true moss. Yes, experts tell us ball moss is not a parasite that feeds on trees, rather it uses branches for support while absorbing water and nutrients from the air. I’ve heard no one quibble with this, and I’m convinced because the clumps also live clinging with their pseudo-roots or holdfasts to nonliving structures, including utility lines and screens…

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, October 29, 2019: Getty fire may have started with branch blown onto LADWP power lines, LA officials say

Sparks from power lines, after they were hit by a tree branch, may have ignited the Getty fire, Los Angeles city officials said Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 29. Investigators are looking into whether a dried eucalyptus tree branch found hanging from a telecommunications line underneath LADWP power lines was the cause of the fire that broke out early Monday, Oct. 28, near the 405 Freeway, according to a statement from the utility. The branch, which hung near the origin of the blaze near 1901 N. Sepulveda Blvd., is thought to have caused sparks in the power lines that ignited nearby brush, officials said. Mayor Eric Garcetti also informed reporters Tuesday afternoon of the results of the city’s preliminary investigation. “This was simply put an act of God,” Garcetti said. A motorist’s dash cam also caught the initial spark, officials said…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, October 29, 2019: Value of trees disputed in land condemnation in Katy

Three Fort Bend County property owners met Monday, Oct. 21, as members of a Special Commission appointed by Fort Bend Count-Court at Law 3 to conduct a hearing after which they awarded $44,000 in damages to a Katy man in a condemnation lawsuit filed against him by the North Fort Bend Water Authority. Mark L. Merrell, attorney for the NFBWA, filed the civil lawsuit in July stating that the authority needed a 20-foot wide permanent easement along the front of five acres owned by Robert Fontenot on Roesner Road “to acquire, establish, develop and construct pump station facilities, ground storage facilities and water line facilities for the transportation and delivery of water.” The water authority is working to meet state standards to switch from groundwater to surface water to reduce subsidence. That effort includes the Luce Bayou Inter Basin Transfer Project which involves the transfer of water from the Trinity River to Lake Houston. That surface water will be treated by the city of Houston Northeast Water Purification Plant, which is under expansion. North Fort Bend Water Authority is partnering with the West Harris County Regional Water Authority to build a surface water supply project that would bring that surface water from the plant to West Harris County and North Fort Bend. From there, transmission lines — such as that proposed across Fontenot’s property — would be built to serve water customers…

Laredo, Texas, Morning Times, October 30, 2019: CT beech trees affected by new pest

Scientists from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station have identified beech leaf disease on American beeches at three locations in Greenwich, New Canaan, and Stamford. This disease, which can kill trees within seven years of detection, was first discovered in 2012 in Ohio, and later found in Pennsylvania, western New York, and Ontario, Canada. With surveys underway to assess the extent of the disease in Connecticut, the disease appears to be limited to Greenwich, New Canaan, and Stamford. The disease is caused by a nematode, Litylenchus crenatae, a type of roundworm, subspecies mccannii. Symptomatic leaves tested positive in July. The nematode appears to cause disease only on American (F. grandifolia) and European beeches (F. sylvatica). The symptoms on beech foliage, best observed from below looking up into the canopy, are characterized by dark striping between leaf veins. How the disease develops, is spread, and how it may be controlled are the subjects of ongoing studies…

Biloxi, Mississippi, Sun Herald, October 29, 2019: After heated 4-hour meeting, Ocean Springs decides controversy over 3 trees on Front Beach

The battle for the fate of three Live oak trees turned the city hall boardroom into a courtroom for more than four hours Tuesday. At a special meeting, the Board of Aldermen voted 5-2 to deny the appeal of the Tree Committee’s decision in June allowing the removal of three Live oaks at 209 Front Beach Drive. That means the trees can be cut down. Aldermen Robert Blackman and Michael Impey voted in favor of the appeal. It’s a saga that’s been going on since February, and both sides were presented in front of a packed board room. One side, led by Chief Justice of Mississippi’s Supreme Court Mike Randolph who owns property next door to the home, believes the trees should be saved. Randolph brought before the board multiple “expert witnesses” including an arborist, community members, lawyers and multiple architects…

Pensacola, Florida, News Journal, October 28, 2019: Does Pensacola need a stronger ordinance to protect trees?

The city of Pensacola already has much stronger tree protections than Escambia County, but Councilwoman Sherri Myers is concerned it’s not enough. So Myers asked her appointee on the city planning board, Laurie Murphy, to put forward a proposal to strengthen the city’s tree protection ordinance. Murphy, who is also executive director of Emerald Coastkeepers, presented her proposal Thursday to the city planning board. “There’s been a lot of clear cutting,” Murphy said. “We don’t have a lot of canopy left.” Myers said she believes a change is needed because lots are continuing to be clear cut for new developments. “What concerns me is we’re not preserving trees that could be preserved, and we’re not incentivizing business (to preserve trees),” Myers said. The proposal redefines protected “heritage trees” from trees with a diameter of 34 inches to trees with a diameter of 12 inches. It also expands the list of protected tree species to include longleaf pine trees. In addition, the proposal increases the number and size of trees that must be replanted if a protected tree is to be removed…

University of Missouri Extension, October 28, 2019: The Weight of the Scale – Japanese Maple Scale Attacking Missouri’s Trees

Shipments of oyster-shell shaped insects are being brought to Missouri on nursery trees. Unfortunately, instead of a pearl, an exotic, plant-thirsty, armored scale called the Japanese Maple Scale (Lopholeucaspis japonica) resides underneath the protective waxy covering. They can be hard to spot since outwardly they don’t look like an insect at all. Lacking the typical traits of six legs, wings and wiggly antennae, they are a motionless, legless bead that attaches onto the trunk and branches. Looking at a single scale – it doesn’t appear that they possess the capacity to create a nuisance, but they are continuously feeding on the plant’s nutrients that flows just beneath the bark with their piercing sucking mouthparts. Strength in numbers make this minute insect a formidable pest that will instigate twig and branch dieback, thinning canopy, and a gradual decline in the health of trees and shrubs. Unlike its name, Japanese Maple Scale (JMS) feeds on more than just the Japanese maple. In fact, they are not picky eaters as the scale’s known host range includes trees and shrubs in more than 45 genera in 27 families. It infests many of the most common nursery and landscape plants in Missouri including red maple, lilac, dogwood, redbud, pear, crabapple, cherry, magnolia, hornbeam, honey locust, stone fruits, birch and broadleaf evergreens like holly and firethorn. It initially arrived on the east coast, but is rapidly expanding its range with the help of infested nursery stock. JMS was first observed in Missouri in 2013 on some hornbeams that were direct shipped to St. Louis from a nursery in Tennessee. However, it is being found more commonly in nurseries all over the state as many more shipments of infested plants are being received. Missouri Department of Agriculture inspectors look for and stop sale infested plants, but you should be on the lookout for this pest as well. Japanese Maple Scales’ wide host range is not the only challenge of this emerging pest. Since armored scales are typically small and blend well with the plant bark, they are frequently overlooked. Because of this, scouting for the pest is an essential step to spot the scale when the population is low…

La Junta, Colorado, Tribune Democrat, October 28, 2019: Some trees in La Junta will be coming down

La Junta has been designated as a Tree City, U.S.A., and is proud of the designation. However, our climate and the age of the trees lining the streets has become a major problem in recent years. The city has a revolving maintenance program every three years: trees, commercial sidewalks, residential sidewalks. This is a tree year. “The city will pay half of the cost of tree removal for trees that qualify,” said Brock Hinkhouse, Parks and Recreation director. To qualify, the tree must be within 11 feet of the curb. Many of the trees being removed this year were part of an unseasonably early freeze a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, we had an early freeze this year, too, so it’s a good thing the program is ongoing…

Redding, California, KRCR-TV, October 28, 2019: Time to Trim it Up: A Redding tree service warns home owners ahead of high winds

On Monday, Sierra Vista Tree Service in Redding said it has certainly stayed busy since the winds rolled into the Northstate. Most of their work has come from storm damage, but on Monday one homeowner put in a different request. Instead, Sierra Vista Tree Service was asked to begin trimming their trees, to help prevent future damage from occurring. David Papcke, Owner of Sierra Vista Tree Service says preemptive actions can help remove weak branches and expose damage from a previous storm. “So, they had us come to pollard it, but in the process of doing that we found broken limbs that were from the last storm, that they didn’t know were there,” Papcke said. Papcke says loose branches can easily be shaken loose from high winds, causing them to fall and do damage to your property…

Louisville, Kentucky, WAVE-TV, October 28, 2019: Southern Indiana homeowner set to lose entire backyard of trees due to power lines

LG&E is chopping down hundreds of trees across Indiana and Kentucky to protect the power grid, but some homeowners are fighting back. Debra Reynolds is about to lose 15 trees in her New Albany backyard because they are over 10 feet tall and in the right of way of a transmission line. Her friends call her backyard ‘Shangri-La’. “Nothing will replace what I’ve developed and cultivated over the years,” Reynolds said. Reynolds has been working on creating a paradise in her yard for 21 years. She has a story for every tree, but their days are numbered. “I’m just really sad and I’m helpless,” Reynolds said. “I feel really powerless, it just makes me sad.” The trees’ fate marked with a pink ribbon. “I’m concerned about the after effects what it’s going to do to my property value, my heating and cooling bills, my utility bills, I’m going to lose all my buffer to the sound and light pollution of Charlestown Road,” Reynolds said. LG&E sent Reynolds a letter in July that any tree over 10 feet will have to be cut down. The electric company says it’s part of an enhanced federal requirement to maintain the vegetation around transmission lines. The right of way runs right up to Reynolds back porch…

Bend, Oregon, Bulletin, October 27, 2019: Troubled pine trees could get help with DNA research

High in the mountains around Bend, undergraduate college students and plant geneticists have been busy collecting needles from whitebark pine trees for a research project that could help save the threatened tree species. Although still in its preliminary stages, the project will eventually allow researchers to evaluate the genetic health of whitebark pine populations and be a potentially effective tool to control the negative effects of white pine blister rust, according to project leader Seth Ganzhorn, a Natural Resources and Environmental Science instructor at OSU-Cascades. Whitebark pine is Central Oregon’s highest elevation tree species and has considerable influence on local water resources, affecting where snow is distributed on mountains during winter. Shade thrown by the trees keeps higher elevation snowpack intact through summer, allowing a more continuous water supply during the dry summer months. But many of the trees are fighting for survival due to a host of threats, including climate change, beetle infestations and the effects of white pine blister rust, a non-native fungus…

Vancouver, Washington, The Columbian, October 27, 2019: Burned forests get help from pine cone collectors

With snow ready to fall, the scramble was on to collect as many ponderosa pine cones as possible. A crew outfitted with spurs, ropes and hard hats scaled hefty tree trunks and used long clippers to snip branches loaded with the prickly orbs. The cones being gathered in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico represent the fruits of a bumper crop. Every decade or so, the trees turn out more seeds to ensure future propagation as a hedge against hungry predators and whatever other hurdles nature might throw at the species. The cones will be dried, their seeds cleaned, sorted and grown into seedlings that can be used to reforest fire-scarred hillsides. Similar work is ongoing in Colorado, South Dakota and other places in the U.S. West. With warmer temperatures, more frequent drought and the severity of wildfires on the rise, scientists say seed collection and reforestation efforts are becoming more important. “We’ve had so many large, high-severity fires in the state, and without our intervention there is a possibility that some of those areas will never be forests again,” said Sarah Hurteau with The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico. “What we’re trying to do is collect the seed to help reforest these areas. This is a huge effort.” The goal: 1 million seeds…

US News & World Report, October 25, 2019: South Carolina Tree Trimmer Dies in 20-Ft Fall From Lifted Truck

A South Carolina coroner says a tree trimmer has died in a 20-foot (6-meter) fall from a bucket truck. The State reports 59-year-old Lewis “Buck” Mcdonald Jr. of Wellford was “ejected” from the bucket truck while on the job. The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office said in a statement obtained by news outlets Thursday that part of the truck was lifted when the man was thrown from it. Coroner Rusty Clevenger says Mcdonald wasn’t wearing a harness. Mcdonald died Wednesday night at the scene in a residential area about 12 miles (19 kilometers) northwest of Spartanburg. The coroner’s statement says an autopsy and toxicological examination will be administered as is standard following work related deaths…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, KOAT-TV, October 24, 2019: Judge narrows tree-cutting ban in fight over spotted owl

The cutting of Christmas trees across several national forests in the Southwest will be allowed under an order issued by a U.S. district judge in the fight over a threatened owl. That includes a tree from the Carson National Forest that will be felled and displayed outside the U.S. Capitol over the holidays.The tree-cutting along with prescribed burns and other projects were put on hold following an earlier ruling in a case that alleged the U.S. Forest Service failed to consider the effects of thinning and logging on the Mexican spotted owl. Forest officials said the initial ruling essentially prevented all timber management activities on five forests in New Mexico and one in Arizona. Environmentalists argued that interpretation was overly broad…

Counterpunch.com, October 25, 2019: Fire and Logging Myths

A conventional narrative is that wildfires in the western U.S. are unprecedented and more extensive than in the past. This increase in fire acreage is attributed to “fuel build-up,” presumed to be the result of successful fire suppression. However, such assertions lack context. Compared to the past, we still have a fire deficit. For example, according to the Boise Interagency Fire Center between 1900 and 1940, there as many as 50 million acres burned annually[1]. One of the largest wildfires in historic times, the 1910 Big Burn, raced across 3.5 million acres of northern Idaho and western Montana occurred in this period, long before anyone can argue there was “fire suppression” contributing to fuel build-up. During the period between the 1940s and late 1988, when Yellowstone burned, there were few large fires due to Pacific Decadal Oscillation—an ocean current that brought cooler, wetter weather to the West. The lack of large blazes during these decades is attributed to “successful” fire suppression; however, it was also a period of cooler and moister climate. Nature was “successful” at putting out blazes…

North Platte, Nebraska, Telegraph, October 25, 2019: Explore the science behind trees shedding their summer shades

You can thank the dwindling daylight for autumn’s festive garb. The reds and yellows are mainly a reaction to the days getting shorter, said Dennis Adams, a forester with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, in a UNL article on the phenomenon. As daylight decreases, so does the amount of chlorophyll produced by trees. Chlorophyll is a green pigment necessary for photosynthesis, or how plants absorb energy from light. It’s also not the only pigment in trees — trees can also contain carotene (orange), xanthophyll (yellow) and anthocyanins (reds and purples). In the summer, chlorophyll is readily replaced as it’s broken down and nutrients are sent to the trunk; in the fall, not so much. When that happens, only yellow pigment remains in the leaves, giving us those familiar colors. It’s also why the leaves die and fall off the tree. Most often, we’ll see yellow and orange, carotene and xanthophyll. As for the brilliant reds and purples, they’re often a result of a tree having more food than it can store, which causes a reaction with excess sugar to create anthocyanins, according to Adams…

Willamette, Oregon, Willamette Week, October 23, 2019: The City Council Plans to Review an Exemption to Portland’s Tree Code—But Too Late to Save Trees at the Star-Crossed Wapato Jail

As soon as next month, the Portland City Council will consider closing a redwood-sized loophole in the city’s tree code. It won’t be soon enough to stop Jordan Schnitzer from chopping down hundreds or even thousands of trees that surround one of the city’s most controversial properties: the vacant Wapato Jail. Currently, developers face restrictions when they want to cut down trees on residential lots. Broadly speaking, they must preserve at least a third of existing trees, with particular emphasis on trees 36 inches or more in diameter. But most industrial and commercial properties are exempt from such rules. Developers of property with such zoning can clear cut any trees. It’s a loophole environmentalists have railed against since the city wrote its tree code in 2011. The proposal to close the industrial-commercial loophole struck like a lightning bolt at the Sept. 24 meeting of the city’s Planning and Sustainability Commission. At that meeting, Oriana Magnera—a member of the commission who also works for Verde, a social justice nonprofit in Cully—surprised her colleagues by pushing successfully to recommend the City Council end the exemption…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, October 23, 2019: Highland Park’s iconic 150-year-old pecan tree has been chopped down

It took just three days for a crew to cut down a tree in Highland Park that was more than 150 years old. The Big Pecan Tree was famous for the 5,000 Christmas lights strung across its branches around the holidays. Residents and visitors alike considered it a wayfinder and a town treasure. The 75-foot-wide tree was chopped down on Monday because, as a town of Highland Park news release stated, it had “succumbed to age and disease.” “Due to its large size and fragile state, removal of the tree is necessary for the safety of residents and traffic in the area,” reads the statement. We’ve reached out to Mayor Margo Goodwin for further comment. The tree was planted long before Highland Park was established as a town. According to Highland Park records and a documentary made by KERA, Dallas resident Joseph Cole cared for the tree when its trunk was the diameter of a pencil, in 1865. The timing of its demise is bittersweet, as aging trees in nearby Preston Hollow were uprooted after tornadoes ripped through Dallas on Sunday night…

Waverly, Iowa, Courier, October 23, 2019: County settles less-than-clear-cut tree dispute

Black Hawk County will pay homeowners after road crews cut down trees on their property. Members of the county Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to pay Grant and Annette Duncan $15,500 to avoid a court battle over the matter resulting from a paperwork error more than three decades old. Workers cut down eight trees on the Duncan property in November while cleaning up ditches in Beaver Hills at the request of residents in the area. County Engineer Cathy Nicholas said the county had paid the previous property owner $681 for a permanent easement when Skyline Drive was paved in 1987. So the county workers thought they were entitled to cut down the trees in the easement area. But the county later learned it had failed to record the easement even though it had recorded similar easements on adjacent properties for the Skyline Drive project. The Duncans believed they owned the trees because the easement wasn’t on their abstract. “From our experience, this was just a fluke,” Nicholas said. “For whatever reason, that one small area wasn’t recorded…”

 

Boise, Idaho, Statesman, October 23, 2019: Logging trees affected by tussock moths

Trucks loaded with trees damaged by the tussock moth infestation in the Packer John State Forest are making their way to area sawmills. The Idaho Department of Lands sold nearly 2,000 acres of dead and dying timber as part of two salvage sales …

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, October 23, 2019: St. Louis plans to get rid of 2,000 dead and dying trees

The city of St. Louis plans to spend $1 million to get rid of 2,000 potentially dangerous trees. A contract was awarded Wednesday to a private tree removal company whose work will supplement ongoing tree maintenance by the city’s Forestry Division. Mayor Lyda Krewson says residents often raise concerns about dead or dying trees near their homes, cars and sidewalks. She says removing them will make neighbors safer and more pleasant. Plans call for the trees to be removed by next summer. Most are in public right-of-way. The mayor’s office says the city plans to replace as many of the trees as possible with new, healthier ones…

San Francisco, California, KNTV, October 22, 2019: PG&E Must Explain Why Inspections Missed Tree and Equipment Damage Exposed in Massive Shutoff: Judge

As more PG&E power shutoffs loom, a federal judge has given PG&E until the end of the month to account for the more than 100 problems apparently missed by its inspectors and tree trimming crews before the massive shutdown revealed them earlier this month. U.S. Judge William Alsup set an Oct. 30 deadline for the company to specify where trees hit its lines or where equipment failed during the shut offs. He also ordered the company to indicate whether the damage could have led to arcing – the lightning-like event that is the typical cause of an electrical fire — had power not been shut down to the targeted 35 counties starting on Oct. 8. Alsup’s order calls for the company to “explain how many of those instances occurred on lines not yet cleared for vegetation versus lines that have been cleared. “Separately, state how many infrastructure failures were found during the inspections after the [shutdowns], how many of those failures would likely have produced arcing, and how many of those failures had been inspected within the last 12 months…”

Reuters, October 22, 2019: Scientists question mass tree planting as climate change panacea

The potential for a global tree-planting drive to curb climate-change risks has been overestimated, scientists warned, flagging issues with maps and data used in a recent study and urging greater efforts to cut heat-trapping emissions by other means. In July, researchers at the Crowther Lab, based at Swiss university ETH Zurich, published a study suggesting the best way to keep climate change in check would be to replant trees on destroyed forest areas the size of the United States. But in a response letter published in the same journal Science on Friday, scientists at the University of Bonn and Nairobi-based research centre World Agroforestry said there were limits on the number of trees that could be grown on lands included in the initial study. Eike Luedeling, a professor at the University of Bonn’s Institute of Crop Sciences and Resource Conservation, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that reforestation should not be seen as a substitute for curbing emissions from using fossil fuels. “Yes, we can all plant trees… and if we still keep emitting carbon dioxide like crazy, we will not have solved anything – we just bought a little bit of time,” he said…

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant, October 22, 2019: New Cosmic Crisp apple ‘going to shake things up’ starting Dec. 1. Will it dethrone Honeycrisp?

They call it the Cosmic Crisp. It’s not a video game, a superhero or the title of a Grateful Dead song. It’s a new variety of apple, coming to a grocery store near you Dec. 1. Cosmic Crisp is the first apple ever bred in Washington state, which grows the majority of the United States’ apples. It’s expected to be a game changer. Already, growers have planted 12 million Cosmic Crisp apple trees, a sign of confidence in the new variety. While only 450,000 40-pound boxes will be available for sale this year, that will jump to more than 2 million boxes in 2020 and more than 21 million by 2026. The apple variety was developed by Washington State University. Washington growers, who paid for the research, will have the exclusive right to sell it for the first 10 years. The apple is called Cosmic Crisp because of the bright yellowish dots on its skin, which look like distant stars…

Mankato, Minnesota, Free Press, October 22, 2019: The root of the issue: Take care of your tree’s anchor, and it will take care of you

Tree roots may seem like a really boring subject, I know. However, trees are the anchors and framework of our landscape. They provide shade, breeze, spring flowers, fall colors, homes for creatures (wanted and unwanted) and in some cases food for us. Getting trees established takes many years so their care is so important. Ever heard the phrase, “The roots of trees are like a mirror image of the tree itself”? In most cases, that is simply not the case. Some species of trees do have a taproot system, such as oak, pine and conifers, but most have a fibrous root system. In areas with ample moisture, they will develop less of a taproot system. Approximately 75% of a tree’s root system is in the top 18 inches of soil. That is amazing. The roots of a tree can extend horizontally 3 times the distance of the drip line. The drip line is the extent of the canopy’s reach. For example, let’s say you have a maple tree, and from the trunk to the drip line measures 20 feet. The roots, then, will extend 60 feet from the trunk all the way around…

Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer, October 21, 2019: ‘We’re losing our beauty’: Charlotte OKs changes to tree rules despite opposition

The Charlotte City Council approved new regulations Monday that give developers flexibility in placing trees on urban sites, despite concern from some environmental activists. The new rules, passed in a 9-2 vote, would apply to redefined “urban zones,” largely in uptown and along the light rail, and allow trees to be planted on rooftops, planters, plazas or other locations to meet city requirements. The changes also allow for tree areas that are essentially urban parks with amenities like landscaping and pathways. The amendment to the tree ordinance comes as officials have said it would be difficult to meet a 2011 goal of having 50% tree canopy cover by 2050. Instead, the city plans to focus on neighborhood-specific metrics. Preserving the tree canopy Charlotte is known for is becoming more difficult as large swaths of land are developed across the city. City officials say the rules approved Monday will make it easier for developers to meet the tree save requirements for projects in urban areas, where space is tight. The city also says the changes will result in no net loss of trees required under the ordinance…

EHS Today, October 21, 2019: Judge Affirms Willful Citation in Countryside Tree Service Fatality Case

On May 4, 2016 at 6:30 a.m. Justus Booze left his home. He never returned. The 23-year-old started his first day for Countryside Tree Service at a job site in Guilderland, N.Y. Booze was hired for the job after a friend discussed it with him, according to media reports. He had not been trained to safely use the company’s wood chipper. However, he was directed to feed materials into the machine. Booze became entangled in the chipper’s moving parts and was fatally injured. OSHA immediately opened an investigation into the incident. In a filing dated Sept. 16, 2019, a Administrative Law Judge William S. Coleman affirmed the initial citations and ordered Watson to pay $66,986 in penalties. According to the decision, Watson told OSHA officials that he knew the victim was “green” and “never had any experience in doing tree work.” He continually acknowledged Booze’s inexperience, stating that it has been his “concern all day long” and that the victim was hired to “basically rake” and to be “a helper and cleaner…”

Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, October 21, 2019: What’s killing pine trees?

Many people are noticing dead or dying pine trees in Northwest Florida. Upon closer inspection, evidence of pine bark beetles may be found. These beetles are secondary, attacking pines that are already injured, damaged or stressed. Recent hot, extended dry weather has been a factor. Lightning strikes, damage that occurs during developing lots and subdivisions, even use of some lawn herbicides and irrigating too much can all result in weak, injured pines. Pine bark beetles are attracted to injured, weak, damaged trees. We can’t do anything to prevent these events. But we can possibly prevent some other man made injuries to pines that potentially result in pines becoming vulnerable to beetle attack. The Ips engraver beetle and the black turpentine beetle infest pines as a result of construction injury. This can occur after construction of a new subdivision or home where existing pines were injured from raising and lowering the grade, where roots were paved over or cut, where water movement was altered, where there is compaction from heavy equipment, etc. This type of injury is prevented, not cured…

Phys.org, October 21, 2019: Catastrophic events carry forests of trees thousands of miles to a burial at sea

Flooding from torrential rains caused by cyclones and monsoonal storms, as well as other catastrophic events, are responsible for moving huge amounts of fresh wood to a watery grave deep under the ocean, according to Earth scientists. Their research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Oct. 21, shows the first-ever evidence that trees may travel thousands of miles from their mountain homes to settle in the vast sediments extending under the sea from river mouths. An international research team led by Sarah Feakins, associate professor of Earth sciences at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, examined core samples taken from the ocean floor over a thousand miles offshore from Bangladesh, in the Bay of Bengal. Once at the target point at sea, the U.S.-operated research ship R/V Joides Resolution, which is part of the International Ocean Discovery Program, extended a drill mechanism more than two miles down from the ocean’s surface to its floor and drilled more than a half a mile down into the sediments…

Middle East North Africa Financial News, October 21, 2019: Cabling Weak, Heavy Tree Branches Now Can Prevent Huge Costs Later

Heavy winds and rough weather can lead to trees splitting apart and dangerous falling limbs. The time and money it costs to clean up these disasters can be astronomical! The experts at Giroud Tree and Lawn explain why cabling a tree now can prevent huge costs in the long run. There are a few reasons why homeowners may need to have a tree cabled: Co-dominant Leaders: If a tree has two or more main leaders or trunks, it may be at high risk for splitting apart. The area where the leaders divide is often a major weak spot for a tree. Overextended, Weakly Attached Limbs: Sometimes a limb that extends from the main trunk may experience aggressive growth. If this limb becomes too big, the weight becomes too much for the trunk to bear and the limb snaps. If caught in time, this limb can be cabled to the main trunk which will ease the weight distribution and prevent breakage. Some trees are just more susceptible to breakage: Just about any tree with weakly attached limbs or more than one main trunk is at risk for splitting apart or losing major limbs. Check out this report by the University of Illinois which highlights which trees are more at risk for breakage than others. Oftentimes, homeowners have no idea that a tree is a threat, which is why trees should be inspected by an ISA Certified Arborist on a regular basis. The arborist may recommend cabling to prevent a disaster later. Here are some reasons why…

New York City, Staten Island Live, October 20, 2019: A beetle is eating area trees, and it could cost NYC millions

A beetle that is endangering a species of tree found throughout New York City, including Staten Island, could cost the city millions of dollars. Ash trees — a common native tree species in this area — are being eaten by insects known as emerald ash borers. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is currently implementing a two-year plan, which began in April 2018, to inspect every ash tree on city property. Although the city Parks Department was unable to specify the exact cost to treat the trees, the program is being funded with $1.7 million annually, according to a spokesperson. “As this is an on-going pest management program, we cannot provide the [exact] total cost of treatment,” explained Charisse Hill, a department spokesperson. The average cost for removing and replacing an ash tree is $4,100 per tree. The cost of pre-treating a healthy tree is approximately $125 per tree, according to the Parks Department…

Novato, California, Marin Independent Journal, October 18, 2019: Prune your trees for beauty, health and safety

A well-cared for tree requires some pruning, whether to enhance its natural shape to reveal its character; to control its size in relation to its surroundings; to increase or control flower and fruit production; or to remove dead, unsightly or unsafe limbs. There are recommended times to prune most trees. For example, fruit trees should be pruned when they are young, to keep them a manageable size and to create strong limbs that can support lots of future fruit. Pruning most fruit trees is best done in the winter when the trees are dormant, but not all fruit trees are the same. Before grabbing the pruning shears, check out the California Backyard Orchard to learn how to properly prune and care for fruit trees. Deciduous trees, like fruit trees, are best pruned when dormant. Limbs are not weighted down with heavy leaves, and the structure of the tree is easier to see. While it’s tempting to prune a young tree to shape, it might be best to wait two or three years for the tree’s root system to establish. When pruning a tree, don’t remove more than one-third of its size. If your tree is drought-stressed, do minimal pruning and remember, there is no need to use wound-sealing products…

Weather.com, October 18, 2019: Are the Trees Near Your House a Hazard?

Having trees around your house is a wonderful thing. They produce oxygen, provide shade in the warmer months, diminish noise pollution and can boost curb appeal. But when a tree becomes a hazard, meaning it could potentially fall on your property or lose limbs during a strong storm, it needs to be dealt with quickly and carefully. Not sure how to tell if a tree is a hazard or not? Here are some red flags to look out for and what steps you can take to keep your property safe from tree-related damage. At various times throughout the year, especially after a big storm, it’s a good idea to give the trees on your property a thorough check. The first and easiest thing to look for is if any of them are in danger of falling over. If you’ve got any trees that are leaning extremely in one direction or another, or have cracked soil at the base, you’ll want to call an arborist who can help you prune the tree so its weight is distributed more evenly. Bracing the tree trunk with cables attached to stakes on either side is also an option…

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., October 17, 2019: Tree debris cleanup could take a year, City of Winnipeg forester says

A City of Winnipeg forester isn’t mincing words when it comes to the state of trees following last week’s snowstorm. The damage is “absolutely devastating,” said Martha Barwinsky, following a storm that brought strong winds and wet, heavy snow, which felled trees and knocked out power for days in some cases. “With that added weight of the freezing rain and the wet snow and … with the winds, of course that resulted in significant damage,” she said Thursday. Officials estimate at least 30,000 city-owned trees were affected by the storm. That doesn’t count trees on private property. The storm caused so much damage that it may be up to three weeks before the city can start focusing on removing tree debris from public property, Barwinsky said…

Syracuse, New York, Post-Standard, October 17, 2019: Upstate NY tree service fined $67K after worker killed in wood chipper

An administrative law judge has ordered a tree service operator to pay a $66,986 fine for not properly training a worker who got ensnared in a wood chipper and killed his first day on the job. William Coleman, an administrative law judge with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, upheld citations issued three years ago by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against Tony Watson, who operates as Countryside Tree Service in Schenectady. Justus Booze, 23, was pulled into the wood chipper’s rotating blades and killed May 4, 2016, during his first day working for Watson. Booze had no prior experience working for a tree service and had been given no training on how to operate the wood chipper, according to OSHA. Nevertheless, he was allowed to feed tree parts into the machine as part of a five-man crew, including Watson, removing large trees from in front of 215 Placid Drive in Guilderland, OSHA said…

Detroit, Michigan, WDIV-TV, October 17, 2019: Thieves steal 7,000 pounds of apples off trees owned by Fenton apple orchard

The owners of an apple orchard in Fenton said thieves stripped the apples off 5 acres’ worth of trees, stealing about 7,000 pounds of apples in total. Officials said a farm in Linden that is owned by Spicer Orchards in Fenton was targeted between Oct. 6 and Oct. 10. The owners check on their crops every four days, so they know the apples were stolen in that timeframe, according to authorities. Matt Spicer, one of the owners of the business, said 7,000 apples translates to about $14,000 or $15,000. There were trail cameras out in the orchard, but they are used during hunting season, so they point away from the crops, Spicer said. Owners found tire tracks in the grass that suggest two or three trucks were used, officials said. The apple orchard doesn’t have insurance because this has never happened before, Spicer said…

Bogor, Indonesia, Center for International Forestry Research, October 17, 2019: Trees and water: don’t underestimate the connection

Trees have extraordinary powers. They provide shade, cool the local climate, draw carbon dioxide from the air, and can repair and replicate themselves while running on little more than sunlight and rainwater (Pokorný 2018). They also contribute numerous goods and services like fruit, wood and soil improvement with a wide choice of species and varieties suitable for different needs and conditions. But such powers should be wielded with care. On the 5th of July 2019 Science published an article by Jean-François Bastin and colleagues titled “The global tree restoration potential”. In it, they explain how, without displacing agriculture or settlements, there is enough space to expand the world’s tree cover by one-third or around one billion hectares. Such increased forest would eventually reduce atmospheric carbon by about a quarter. A lot could be said about this proposition, much of it supportive. But in a brief comment piece just published in Science, colleagues and I highlight some reservations along with some even bigger opportunities. We focus on water…

Seattle, Washington, KIRO Radio, October 16, 2019: Shoreline becomes latest battleground for tree-saving activists

There is unrest in the forest. There is trouble with the trees. For the people need space to live, yet they still need clean air to breath. Don’t Clearcut Seattle is bringing its tree-saving activism across the border and into Shoreline where that community is also racing to keep up with the region’s growth and housing needs. This week, the group protested in front of a plot of land where new homes are planned, not far from a yet-to-be-built light rail station. “We are very concerned about the development practices that are going on in Seattle right now, there is very little protection for mature, healthy trees,” said Annie Thoe with Don’t Clearcut Seattle, aka Neighborhood Treekeepers. “Large groves of trees are being clearcut. If you look at this recent site on 145th NE and 1st Avenue, an enormous amount, at least 40 big, mature trees, were taken, an entire grove was taken… A dense plan of townhouses are going in there,” she added. “These are not affordable houses. They are expensive townhouses that will go in. As far as I can tell from the site plan, they are supposed to be required to replant trees. But this has been upzoned, so they don’t have to replant, apparently. And many of the developers that are cutting trees are not replanting…”

Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, October 16, 2019: Tree-trimmer falls to his death in Herald Harbor neighborhood in Crownsville

A 24-year-old member of a tree trimming crew died Monday morning after falling approximately 60 feet from a tree in Crownsville. Anne Arundel County Fire Department officials said the man, who it did not identify, was working in a tree at the back of a home in the 300 block of Aston Forest Lane in the Herald Harbor neighborhood. Firefighters were called to the address about 10:44 a.m. after the man’s coworkers found him on the ground, a fire department said spokesman said in a release Wednesday morning. They said no one witnessed the fall. Paramedics determined the man was in cardiac arrest and tried unsuccessfully to revive him. The fire department did not identify the company involved. The incident is being investigated by Maryland Occupational Safety and Health…

NPR, October 16, 2019: Trees That Survived California Drought May Hold Clue To Climate Resilience

When California’s historic five-year drought finally relented a few years ago the tally of dead trees in the Sierra Nevada was higher than almost anyone expected: 129 million. Most are still standing, the dry patches dotting the mountainsides. But some trees did survive the test of heat and drought. Now, scientists are racing to collect them, and other species around the globe, in the hope that these “climate survivors” have a natural advantage that will allow them to better cope with a warming world. On the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Patricia Maloney, a UC Davis forest and conservation biologist, hunts for these survivors. Most people focus on the dead trees, their brown pine needles obvious against the glittering blue of the lake. But Maloney tends not to notice them. “I look for the good,” she says. “Like in people, you look for the good, not the bad. I do the same in forest systems.” Maloney studies sugar pines, a tree John Muir once called the “king” of conifers. “They have these huge, beautiful cones,” she says. “They’re stunning trees…”

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, October 16, 2019: Cleveland commits to spending up to $1 million each year for 10 years toward restoring the Forest City’s tree canopy

Cleveland will commit up to $1 million each year over the next 10 years toward replenishing the city’s tree canopy, Mayor Frank Jackson announced Wednesday. Jackson made his announcement in remarks opening the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit – the 10th in a 10-year initiative geared toward bolstering sustainability and creating a healthier and more vibrant city. Jackson said the efforts were spawned from a conference he attended at Case Western Reserve University a decade ago that looked at what might be done to address the impact of the recession. “What I took away from that is … how do we create an economy that operated in such a way that it had a social compact for the well-being of the people,” Jackson said. It became apparent, Jackson said, that any solution would have to include sustainability – creating a green city on a blue lake. “That’s where it started,” he said…

San Bernardino, California, Sun, October 15, 2019: Joshua trees should be protected by state endangered species act, group says

Environmentalists are calling on the state to protect Joshua trees, as climate change and habitat destruction threaten the iconic Mojave Desert plant. The Center for Biological Diversity on Tuesday, Oct. 15, petitioned the state Fish and Game Commission to list the Western Joshua tree as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act, which would go beyond existing laws aimed at protecting the plants on public and private lands, said Brian Cummings, the center’s conservation director and Joshua Tree resident. “The Joshua tree, particularly with the exponential growth of attendance at Joshua Tree National park, has become an international icon,” Cummings said. “It’s unfortunately becoming a symbol of our failure to address climate change…”

Washington, D.C. Times, October 15, 2019: Montana city pays $23K for tree damage caused by heavy snow

Heavy snow in Montana has cost a city tens of thousands of dollars in cleanup work after widespread tree damage. Great Falls Tribune reported Monday that a record-setting September snowstorm brought more than 19 inches of snow to Great Falls causing trees to bend and break. City officials say the 16-day cleanup effort cost more than $23,000 after eight forestry workers accumulated 130 hours in overtime on top of 557 regular hours. Foresters say that doesn’t include hours and costs of Park and Recreation Division workers who cleaned up trees in city parks and a city-hired contractor who worked 13.5 hours. Foresters say cleanup of downed branches and the trimming of damaged limbs are expected to wrap up Monday, the same day foresters are scheduled to begin leaf pickup…

Idaho Falls, Idaho, East Idaho News, October 15, 2019: Now is the time to prevent sunscald damage on trees

Sometimes known as “southwest injury”, sunscald on trees is damage to the bark on the side of the tree facing the sun, which in our area is the southwest. Sunscald can occur in both the summer and winter time and be caused by many environmental factors. Sunscald is identified by the bark on the trunk and lower limbs cracking and the bark dying, with dead brown wood being exposed after the damage occurs. This sunscald damage can be an opening into the tree for fungal diseases and insects to start to infest and hurt your tree. Sunscald damage happens in a few different ways. In our area, the damage is primarily done in late winter (February to March) when the south side of trees will warm up from the sun during the day, causing the fluid in the bark to start flowing, and then as evening arrives the temperatures drop dramatically and this fluid freezes and damages the bark. There may be several episodes of thawing and freezing within a winter that can create this damage, but ultimately the temperature fluctuations can have a negative impact on the tree. Most of the damage occurs on the trunk, while sometimes damage can occur on the lower branches as well. Sunscald can also occur during the summertime when trees are topped or heavily pruned exposing bark that had previously been shaded from direct intense sunlight. Planting trees that had been in a semi-shaded nursery into a full sun scenario can induce sunscald, as well as planting trees next to a light-colored pavement which reflects both heat and light onto their bark can cause this problem…

Knoxville, Tennessee, WBIR-TV, October 15, 2019: How to predict peak fall foliage in the Smokies

It definitely feels like fall and some of you may be ready to see some fall foliage. The prolonged heat and drought from August through early-October has things looking green and summer-like in much of East Tennessee but experts are not giving up on a shot at decent fall colors. The end of September is when East Tennessee historically starts enjoying its fall colors before they peak in mid-October. The vibrancy of the colors depends on how much sugar is in the leaves. Here’s how it works: During the spring and summer, leaves act as a factory making the food necessary for the growth and survival of the tree. Chlorophyll is the main player in that process, and chlorophyll makes the leaf look green. In fact, there is so much chlorophyll that it hides the other colors present. Inside of a leaf are other pigments that look yellow and orange but a couple of things need to happen for these colors to be revealed. The first is day length. In the fall, shorter days trigger the tree to stop making food. Leaves are sealed off from the branches, and any extra sugars are left behind…

Washington, D.C., Times, October 14, 2019: California’s environmentalism comes under fire after blackouts

California prides itself on being a global leader on climate change, but last week’s unprecedented power outages have raised questions about how progressive environmental practices contributed to putting two million residents in the dark. The lights were back on Monday in Northern California even as Pacific Gas & Electric acknowledged that more power outages are likely to avoid sparking the disastrous wildfires that torched the state in 2017 and 2018, a stunning turn of events in the world’s fifth-largest economy. “What’s the most important commodity in the world? It’s electricity,” said Max Fuentes, a utility consultant in Sacramento. “Without it, you’re a Third World country. Well, right now, California is starting to act like a Third World country.” Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom heaped blame for the rolling blackouts on PG&E, the beleaguered electrical utility that filed for bankruptcy in January, citing its failure to maintain and improve transmission lines on its 70,000-mile service area. “This is not from my perspective a climate change story as much as it is a story about greed and mismanagement over the course of decades,” Mr. Newsom said at a Thursday press conference. “[It’s about] neglect, and a desire to protect not public safety but profits.” PG&E faces as much as $30 billion in legal claims after its lines were found to have ignited 2017 and 2018 wildfires, including the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in state history, but critics like Rep. Tom McClintock, California Republican, said that focusing on the utility doesn’t tell the whole story. PG&E lines may have provided the spark, but decades of mismanagement on state and federal forests left millions of dead and dying trees ready to erupt, thanks in part to environmental policies and legal challenges aimed at curtailing tree-cutting…

Kansas City, Missouri, WDAF-TV, October 14, 2019: Companies help 83-year-old duped by local tree service, removing mess from her yard

When one local company failed to complete a job right for an elderly woman, several others stepped up to get it done. The roar of chainsaws and a wood chipper were about all you could hear Monday afternoon in 83-year-old Esther Buzard’s backyard. “I just seen an old woman in need, and we just figured we’d come out and take care of it for her,” said Bobby Wilson, the owner of National Tree Care LLC, based in Higginsville, Missouri. On Friday, FOX4 told viewers how Esther paid Lexington-based United General Contracting $1,150 to cut up a downed tree and haul it off. The company never finished the job. “It does make us all look bad and we’re seeing it more and more, and we’re kind of getting fed up with it,” Wilson said. Wilson saw the story and wanted to help Esther. He brought nine of his employees, equipped with the tools needed to the do the job right — and did just that. “We just wanted to come in here and take charge of this and get it done,” he said…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, October 14, 2019: No, it is not time to thin out your trees and it never will be

Is it time to thin out my trees and cut off the lower limbs? No, and it never will be. It is a good time to prune, but pruning too much is the most common pruning mistake I see. Few landscape trees need major pruning or “thinning” every year. Trees can be severely damaged by over-pruning. Plus, it looks bad. Landscape trees can be pruned any time of the year, but the best time is from fall to late winter. Pruning is part science and part art. Don’t try to change the character of a tree and don’t remove lower limbs to raise the canopy for more light to turf. Low-growing limbs exist for a reason. It’s very unnatural to strip tree trunks bare. Remove dead, diseased or damaged limbs and the weakest of crossing limbs. Remove limbs growing toward the center of the tree and limbs that are dangerous or physically interfering with buildings or activities…

Salt Lake City, Utah, KSTU-TV, Ovtober 14, 2019: Dangerous, quick-spreading tree disease introduced to Utah

A fungal tree disease, which has destroyed millions of trees in the United States, has been detected in Utah for the first time. “We were sick to our stomachs thinking about what it might be,” arborist Jerry Auble said as he stood along the banks of the river in Ogden Canyon. It’s something he never thought he would see in Utah. “I wanted to cry,” Auble continued as he stared up into the trees. A few months ago, he was standing in this same spot, but he had a different view. “There’s a good 50 to 70 trees right there that have been… they’re done, they’re dead,” Auble said. “This is a slow-moving forest fire.” Auble is an International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborist who specializes in tree diseases and diagnosis. His day-to-day is spent handling landscaping related calls for a local lawn, tree and pest control company in Layton called Harmon and Sons. But his expertise was called into play in mid-July when he was called out to a home in Ogden Canyon to give a second opinion on a patch of dead and dying American Elm Trees along the riverbank. “There was kind of a concern that the vines were strangling the tree, but as we looked more and more, it was like… no, that’s an insect issue,” Auble said…

Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch, October 10, 2019: Two teen boys arrested in death of woman hit by tree branch at Hocking Hills State Park

Two teenage boys have been arrested and charged with causing the Sept. 2 death of Chillicothe woman by dislodging a tree branch that fell on top of her at Hocking Hills State Park, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said. The boys, who are 16 and 17 and both from Logan in Hocking County, were taken into custody by the ODNR on Thursday. Both are charged with delinquency counts of reckless homicide and are being held in a juvenile detention facility in Lancaster. ODNR was not releasing the juveniles’ names. Victoria Schafer, 44, was on the stairs near Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park around 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 when she was struck by a falling section of a tree branch that came from a cliff above. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators soon found evidence indicating that the incident was not a natural occurrence. “I appreciate the public’s valuable contributions to this case and the perseverance and determination of the investigators,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz…

Sacramento, California, Bee, October 10, 2019: How Sacramento’s urban forest divides the city — and some neighborhoods are left behind

The tree canopy of Land Park is a marvel by most measures. Like a crown, London plane trees and even occasional redwoods rise well above rooftops to shade the well-tended streets and houses during Sacramento’s scorching summers. More trees can be found in Land Park than in almost any other neighborhood. And it affords benefits both seen and unseen by the naked eye — better health, for one, and quality of life. But there aren’t many Land Parks in Sacramento. In fact, only about a dozen neighborhoods have tree canopies that come close to the neighborhood south of downtown, according to a city-wide assessment. Critics say the line that divides those places often comes down to wealth. Communities with a higher-than-average number of trees are places like Land Park, East Sacramento and the Pocket also have the largest concentrations of high-income households, data shows. Meanwhile, low- to moderate-income areas like Meadowview, Del Paso Heights, Parkway and Valley Hi have fewer trees and less shade…

Bonn, Germany, General Anzeiger, October 11, 2019: Damaged trees on the river shore in Mehlem will not survive

Nobody knows exactly when it happened – probably it was a nighttime operation in the cover of darkness. Culprits damaged two stately old trees on the riverbank in Mehlem. The damage is so severe that the trees cannot be rescued. As reader Peter Stünkel and another man reported separately to the GA, these are two large trees near the Senior Center Steinbach – at the end of Rüdigerstraße. Both had been cut into all the way around the circumference with chainsaws. “It is simply unbelievable that people do something like this,” said Stünkel. Dieter Fuchs, head of the Office for Urban Parks, is astonished because the loud chainsaw must have been clearly audible. Indeed, the city was informed of the incident. “We were made aware of it by a citizen who sent an e-mail on September 30,” said Kristina Buchmiller of the city press office in response to an inquiry. An American oak with a trunk circumference of 2.23 meters and a honey locust tree with a trunk circumference of 2.03 meters were affected. After a look at the tree register of the city, Fuchs found out that the oak is estimated to be 85 years old. The tree, also called red oak, is native to North America. When harvested, the hard wood is used in the furniture industry, in boat building and for ties in railway construction. The honey locust tree on the Rhine is around 60 years old. It originated in eastern North America and grows to a height of 20 meters. The bark was cut up to a width of about three centimeters, deep into the sapwood, with a chain saw. “Both trees were completely cut through. As a rule, (a tree) with such damage can no longer recover,” said Buchmiller

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, October 10, 2019: Dead trees part of healthy forests and backyard habitats

My earliest experience with a snag happened when I was a college student rambling through a longleaf pine-turkey oak sandhill forest. I discovered a Brown-headed Nuthatch coming and going from a small cavity in a dead turkey oak tree that stood no taller than me. It was easy to watch and photograph at that height. That experience sold me on the value of snags. Next week’s Apalachee Audubon Society program on Oct. 17 will feature storyteller extraordinaire Jim Stevenson on “Life in a Dead Tree.” Snags, either standing dead trees or partially dead trees, provide cavities for nesting birds such as woodpeckers, owls, chickadees, bluebirds, titmice, wrens, nuthatches, wood ducks and others. In addition, snags provide habitat and food for all sorts of other creatures from beetles to frogs to denning mammals like raccoons and opossums. They also serve as perching and roosting sites. When snags fall to the ground, they are called logs and further provide habitat for fungi, spiders, beetles, termites, ants, grubs, worms and snails, not to mention the reptiles and amphibians, birds, mice and other mammals that feed on them. Decaying logs are essential to the health of our forest and backyard soils and nutrient cycling…

Outside, October 9, 2019: Hikers: Beware of Falling Trees

It’s the kind of freak accident that nobody thinks could happen to them. In late August, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office in Washington State received a broken cell-phone call. A tree had fallen and struck Finn Bastian, a 28-year-old from Germany, while he was hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. As emergency responders rushed to the scene, Bastian’s condition deteriorated. Search and rescue managed to bring Bastian to the trailhead, but he died there after CPR failed to revive him. The tragedy happened two weeks after another tree stuck and killed Beth Skelley, 56, as she slept in her tent on the Colorado Trail. Falling timber killed a hiker on the Appalachian Trail in 2015 and again in 2018. And two kids died in Yosemite Valley, California, when a limb from an oak tree fell onto their tent, also in 2015. There are no exact statistics kept on the number of Americans killed by falling trees, so it’s difficult to know for sure if the problem has gotten worse, and if so, how much worse. You’re still far more likely to die driving to the trailhead than you are from a falling tree, says Wesley Trimble of the American Hiking Society. But it turns out, these tragedies may not be isolated incidents. “A lot of forests are suffering, whether it’s from pine beetles, other invasive species, or diseases that are causing trees to die off,” says Trimble. “The likelihood of trees falling down is a much lower possibility when there is a forest full of healthy trees, and there are a lot of unhealthy forests, especially along the Colorado Trail and Pacific Crest Trail…”

Oakland, California, KTVU-TV, October 9, 2019: Latest court documents show PG&E ineffective in completing tree trimming and vegetation management projects

The response to the PG&E public safety power shut off from customers and elected officials has been swift and full of frustration. “It’s not fair to make everyone else pay the price of PG&E’s long term and chronic negligence,” said Mark Toney, the executive director of The Utility Reform Network or TURN. Toney is echoing the frustrations of many PG&E customers who are finding themselves in the dark during the PSPS. “If PG&E had spent the money we gave them on trimming the trees and maintaining the power lines safely, we wouldn’t be in this position,” said Toney. Toney says the shut off should be a last resort according to the public utilities commission. PG&E continues to say they don’t take this decision lightly and community safety is the priority. A spokesperson also said the company’s been working on improvements. “Vegetation management, making sure our wires are clear of vegetation, also includes hardening our system for the future,” said Ari Venrenen, a spokesperson for the utility. But, in its latest filing to a federal judge, PG&E says it’s completed less than a third of its tree trimming work this season…”

Yellow Springs, Ohio, News, October 10, 2019: Invasive of the month— Tree-of-heaven’s devilish dispersal

Elegant. Graceful. Prized in traditional Chinese medicine. In its native China, home to a productive silk moth. Yet tree-of-heaven … isn’t. Brought to this country in the 1700s as a horticultural specimen and shade tree, tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is one of North America’s most invasive tree species. It grows incredibly fast, seeds prolifically and even releases a toxin into the soil that inhibits the growth of other plants. Tree-of-heaven, also called ailanthus, is one of 38 species on Ohio’s invasive plant list. But while you won’t find it for sale at your local nursery, the tree is abundant in and around Yellow Springs. “There is a lot of tree-of-heaven around town, and it especially likes to grow beside buildings and in open areas,” according to Macy Reynolds, president of the YS Tree Committee. Often planted as an urban tree, ailanthus is famous, or infamous, for its ability to grow anywhere — up through the merest cement cracks. That hardiness is celebrated as a metaphor for human resilience in the 1943 novel, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” The tree in question? Tree-of-heaven, pervasive across New York City. But ecologists aren’t quite so enamored of ailanthus’ toughness. Most common in urban areas, disturbed soils and forest edges, tree-of-heaven can also take advantage of gaps in mature forests, displacing native tree species. And because it’s a prolific seeder, the tree growing in your yard could end up, borne by wind and water, in one of our local woods…

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Citizen Voice, October 9, 2019: Wilkes-Barre shade tree panel seeks statute

Members of a newly revamped shade tree commission have asked city council to pass a controversial ordinance that would require property owners to get commission approval before cutting down any tree on a tree lawn or along a roadway. Commission Chairman Sam Troy at council’s work session Tuesday began a presentation by expounding on the virtues of planting trees in a community, citing a litany of health, environmental and economic benefits. Troy said council can help by taking an inventory of trees on the streets in their districts and approving funding for the city to buy trees for planting. Just as important, Troy said, is passing a shade tree ordinance similar to those in Kingston and Forty Fort. Troy said a previous shade tree commission “did succeed in planting a lot of trees” but “foundered and failed because they got frustrated” when council members at the time refused to pass a shade tree ordinance proposed in 2005…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, October 8, 2019: Shut-offs begin: PG&E imposes mass blackouts on California

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. began shutting off power to parts of California on Wednesday in its biggest preemptive action to avert another destructive wildfire like those which took dozens of lives and destroyed thousands of homes over the past two years. The utility said it would shut off power to 800,000 customers in Northern and Central California in waves, beginning with the northernmost areas and moving south. The blackout was not expected to strike the Bay Area until around noon but more than 5,000 customers in Solano County were shut down just after midnight, and nearly 600 customers in Marin County were shut down as well. Other areas where electricity was shut off included parts of Glen County, Tehama County, Yuba County and Nevada County. For PG&E, the shut-offs will mark a high-stakes test of a program the now-bankrupt company developed after being implicated in two years of catastrophic infernos. The crisis has raised fundamental questions about whether PG&E can deliver power safely to its customers amid a warming climate…

Denver, Colorado, KMGH-TV, October 8, 2019: Tree damage on property line causes concern for homeowner in Wash Park

For the past five years, Lauren Collins and her family have lived in the same house in South Wash Park. “We’ve put a lot into this house, it was a fixer upper,” she said. Last year, the lot next door was bought and new neighbors began to build. “They excavated right on the property line and these are 100 year old trees,” she added. Pictures show the construction was done by the builder, but Collins is worried about her trees. “Then in January is when they started showing this. The bark started coming off, the sap started dripping down from parts of the tree so we called an arborist,” she said. The arborist told them the tree is structurally damaged. “My family, we feel like we’re stuck,” Collins said. The law says any roots or branches that cross the property line are available to be trimmed. Collins is worried about liability from her tree if it dies and falls on her house or somewhere else. “We have lost a lot of sleep over this issue,” she added…

Washington, D.C., The Washingtonian, October 8, 2019: Inside Takoma Park’s Ongoing Tree War

A leafy DC suburb has recently found itself in a kerfuffle about its trees. At the root of the tension: Takoma Park’s strict foliage ordinance, which it enacted in 1983. According to the rules, residents must obtain a permit from the city’s urban forest manager (yes, that’s a real position) before cutting down any tree, even on private property. If a hard-to-win permit is granted, the homeowner must, in the case of a live tree, either replant it or pay a fee that’s used to plant replacement saplings elsewhere in Takoma Park. Such is life in this tree-hugging community, long a bastion of progressive values and general crunchiness. But lately, some residents have been chafing at the rules. Now the city council is in the process of revising the ordinance so that it will be “more user-friendly, less bureaucratic, and feel a little less punitive,” says council member Kacy Kostiuk. The man tasked with enforcing the city’s complex processes is urban forest manager Jan van Zutphen, who arrived in 2017. Something of a local Lorax, van Zutphen speaks for the trees—to a greater extent than previous holders of the position, some residents say. To others, however, he’s just doing his job. “People tend to be in favor of certain environmental regulations,” says van Zutphen, who thinks more education and outreach might help locals better understand what he does. “[But people find it] a little harder when it applies to themselves—myself included…”

Victoria, British Columbia, The Canadian Press, October 8, 2019: Outbreak of tree-killing, allergy-inducing moths prompts warnings from B.C. government

An infestation of insects that have the ability to quickly kill healthy Douglas fir trees is on the move in British Columbia and the Ministry of Forests says it has now been found further north than ever before. A statement from the ministry Tuesday said an infestation of tussock moth has been found in trees in the western Cariboo, just south of the community of Alkali Lake. The pest is usually found in more southern parts of the province, such as Kamloops and the Okanagan. They can kill a large Douglas fir in just one to two years during a severe infestation, according to the ministry. Tussock moth caterpillars feed on the needles of the Douglas fir, stripping limbs, which appear scorched as they die. Trees weakened by the moth are more susceptible to beetle attacks…

Los Angeles, California, KABC-TV, October 7, 2019: Thousands of Long Beach trees threatened by plague of beetles

Thousands of magnolia trees in Long Beach are in danger because of beetles that have invaded the area. Walking or driving down Magnolia Avenue in Long Beach, you’re sure to notice that something is a little off. “Sometimes when you’re just walking, it kind of sticks to your shoe, and it’s really like gooey,” said homeowner Melissa Roxas. The magnolia trees are dying. They’re drying up and turning black. More than 1,000 magnolias across the city of Long Beach are infested with a pest, known as the Tuliptree Scale. The pests suck up the trees sap, and in some cases, kill the trees. Long Beach City Council members are now working to find a fix. In a meeting Tuesday, they are expected to discuss the cost to remove and replant all infected trees, what further treatment options exist, and a cost estimate for water blasting all affected sidewalks. Neighbors say the problem has been going on for a few years. “My husband has looked into it. He’s called the city,” said Roxas…

Biloxi, Mississippi, Sun Herald, October 5, 2019: Ocean Springs woman arrested after objecting to oak tree trimming in city park

Diane Stevenson questioned why an Ocean Springs employee was cutting tree branches and it escalated to where she was arrested and handcuffed. Stevenson, 73, was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly harassing a public works employee for trimming the trees at Fort Maurepas Park. The arrest happened around 11:30 a.m. Thursday after the public works’ employee called his supervisor to tell him someone was upset and screaming about him trimming the trees at the park. The report the police filed and the version of what Stevenson said happened are decidedly different. According to the police report, a public works employee was in the middle of doing the job when Stevenson walked up and started “screaming and telling him he needs to stop cutting trees…”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WPVI-TV, October 7, 2019: Building a more beautiful, green Philly one tree at a time

With just 20 percent of the city’s land covered by trees, Philadelphia has one of the smallest tree canopies of any of the major cities in the Northeast. This is troubling when you factor in the fact that, according to NASA GISS and the NOAA, the average global temperature has steadily risen since 1998 with the last five years being the hottest on record. One way to combat rising temperatures and environmental shifts is to plant more trees, a mission that the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has undertaken with their Tree Tenders program. Additional trees and plant life not only have obvious aesthetic benefits but improve air quality, shelter wildlife, prevent stormwater runoff, and keep city streets cooler. Research also shows that trees have additional health benefits such as reducing mental fatigue, reducing anxiety, and combating obesity by promoting more outdoor play time for children. To help restore the region’s tree canopy, PHS’s Tree Tenders planted just over 1,600 trees in Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania in 2018. This year, the team has already planted 771 trees and will be adding another estimated 857 trees during their fall seasonal tree planting weekend on November 16th and November 17th…

Macon, Georgia, WMAZ-TV, October 7, 2019: Power company spraying chemicals near power lines concerns Jones County homeowners

Some folks in Jones County say they have concerns about a power company spraying chemicals on plants near power lines on their property. Tri-County EMC says they maintain a 30-foot-wide right of way by mowing, trimming, and spraying near the power lines to control vegetation that grows there. Jasen McCall has lived in his home in Gray for about six years. “I love the fact that my wife and I can take walks with our dog down our driveway and just be able to enjoy the nature that it is,” McCall said. In the last few months though, he says the nature he grew to love has died. “I noticed that there were several dead spots along our driveway here mainly underneath the power lines,” McCall said. Greg Mullis with Tri-County EMC says the company works with another company called NaturChem to spray the herbicides to keep trees, brush, and other growth from interfering with electric service in the county. “We encourage them to never plant or try to put landscaping under those power lines because of safety and reliability,” Mullis said…

Quatz, October 6, 2019: Tree thieves are the scourge of national forests

The name “Maple Fire” doesn’t quite do it justice. In August 2018, a wildfire razed 3,300 acres of ancient forest in Washington state—burying Seattle in smoke and costing taxpayers $4.5 million before firefighters were able to extinguish the flames. But the cause of this devastating blaze is even more bewildering: Two bungling criminals who were allegedly attempting to steal a big, beautiful old tree. According to a recent indictment by the US justice department, the duo had planned to illegally fell a bigleaf maple in Olympic National Forest, only to find themselves thwarted by a huge bee nest in its branches. After failing to wipe out the pesky bees with wasp killer, they doused the nest in gasoline and lit it on fire. Though they tried to extinguish them with water bottles, the flames quickly spread. The charges highlight the increasingly expensive problem for national forests posed by tree thieves. Wood from bigleaf maples fetches a handsome price. Thanks to the aesthetic appeal of its unusually wavy grain, this “figured wood” is coveted by mills that use it to make guitars. Though essential parts of local ecosystems, these high-value trees are thinly guarded by overstretched national forest law enforcement officials. That makes them easy prey for chainsaw-wielding poachers…

Dallas, Texas, WFAA-TV, October 4, 2019: orth Texas forester fears ‘big outbreak’ of invasive beetles that feed on and kill ash trees

They’re big. They’re beautiful. And they’re in danger. There is a mad dash right now to save our region’s ash trees, no thanks to a shiny, tiny bug. “People from the Midwest are certainly familiar with emerald ash borer,” said the city of Fort Worth’s forester Rustin Stephens. “It’s new to us.” The emerald ash borer, a beetle with a vibrant green shell, has killed millions of ash trees since 2002, when the bug was discovered in Michigan. In 2018, WFAA profiled an 11-year-old boy named Sam Hunt, a nature lover who found the green beetle in Fort Worth. “I just thought it was crazy,” he told us then. “I never thought I could find anything like that.” The state forest service confirmed it was the first proof of the borer in North Texas. Stephens said he and others are grateful the boy made the discovery; he assumes the bug had been here for years before. Stephens said since the discovery, Fort Worth has worked to proactively treat its ash trees, but because it can take years for the symptoms to show up, he fears the worst…

Bloomberg, October 6, 2019: Cutting 2,700 Trees for Mumbai Metro Project Ignites Protests

India’s Supreme Court ordered a halt to the felling of trees in an area frequented by leopards and vulnerable birds, after the plan to clear the area and build a depot for Mumbai Metro Rail Corp. ignited protests and triggered an outcry from the main ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party days before state elections. No more trees must be cut until a special bench hears the matter on Oct. 21, the Supreme Court said after an emergency hearing on Monday. Authorities began chopping down about 2,700 trees marked for clearance late on Friday, within a few hours of a Bombay High Court ruling that the area, known as Aarey in suburban Mumbai, wasn’t a forest. Activists alleged the action violated rules that stipulate a 15-day window — which MMRC denies — and rushed to the spot only to be evicted by police. “This is sheer arrogance. They think they can run the city the way they want,” said Zoru Bhathena, a petitioner in the case. The tussle underscores the difficulties Mumbai faces as one of the world’s most densely populated cities tries to upgrade critical infrastructure for citizens. Built mostly on land reclaimed from the sea, its colonial-era drainage system is increasingly insufficient to prevent flooding, eight people die on average each day on its overcrowded trains, and the few surviving patches of mangroves or forests like Aarey are losing out to shantytowns or developers…

Tampa, Florida, WFTS-TV, October 4, 2019: Fight over more than a dozen trees cut down on property along Bayshore Blvd.

Under a giant oak tree in front of her daughter’s Bayshore Boulevard home, Sandra Bates says more than a dozen trees were chopped down a week ago two lots over. “These trees are hundreds of years old,” said Bates, a volunteer for the Advocacy group Tree Something Say Something. “Once the trees are gone they’re gone. You can’t glue them back together,” said Chelsea Johnson, another volunteer for Tree Something Say Something. A new state law passed in July says a private property owner doesn’t need a permit if they have an arborist deem the trees “dangerous”. Johnson believes the law is being used by developers as a loophole to cut down whatever they want. She’s concerned about the environmental impact. “You can stop building projects that don’t have the proper permits but apparently you can’t stop trees from coming out that don’t have the proper permitting?” Johnson asked. “We’re seeing Tallahassee dictate what is precious to Tampa…”

London, UK, Daily Mail, October 3, 2019: Plant-destroying lanternflies native to China could spread across the UK, US and Europe and devour crops and trees, study warns

Plant-destroying spotted lanternflies are spreading around the globe, a study has warned. The insects, which are native to China, are a pest to dozens of plants and trees. They can trigger sap leakage, wilting, leaf curling and dieback and the US Government tells people to kill them on sight. And a map drawn up by the Department of Agriculture has revealed regions where the bugs are at risk of spreading to next. The UK has been designated a ‘medium risk’ area, along with much of Eastern Europe, while the eastern US and California are deemed to be high risk, along with parts of France, Portugal, Italy, Russia and Ukraine. As well as damaging garden plants the lanternflies can ruin farmers’ crops, too, such as almonds, apples, blueberries, cherries, peaches, grapes and hops. They also wreck hardwood trees including oaks, walnuts and poplars. And in addition to causing physical damage, they excrete a sugary substance called honeydew which encourages a mold which is harmful to plants.Lanternflies, which can lay 30 to 50 eggs each time they breed in the autumn, have already become a problem in some parts of the US. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Delaware have all reported growing numbers of the critters…

UPI, October 3, 2019: Tree, fruit growers beware: Spotted lanternfly has its pick of invadable territory

Tree and fruit growers won’t be happy to hear the findings of a new habitat-modeling study by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture — the invasive spotted lanternfly still has plenty of suitable habitat, should it continue to spread. The spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, has been reported to attack grapes, apples, cherries, and several other fruit and timber tree species. In its native habitat, the species is kept in check by natural predators. But in places like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the invasive species can severely damage trees. To figure out where the spotted lanternfly might show up next, scientists built a model to compare its native habitat in Asia with the habitats the insect has invaded in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Scientists used the model to analyze the suitability of other habitats in the United States. According to the findings, published Thursday in the Journal of Economy Entomology, there are still plenty of places in North America for the invader to go. Simulations suggest the spotter lanternfly would find much to like about most of New England and the mid-Atlantic, as well as large swaths of the central U.S. and Pacific Northwest…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot News, October 3, 2019: Restaurant owner must replant sidewalk tree, even though he claims it’s bad for business: Pa. court

A central Pennsylvania restaurant owner must replant a sidewalk tree in front of his eatery even though he claims it would be bad for business, a Commonwealth Court panel has ruled. And, the judges decided, he must pay for the planting, too. That ruling, set in an opinion by Judge Patricia A. McCullough, marks Joseph Yannone’s third and perhaps final defeat in a legal battle with the Bloomsburg Shade Tree Commission. The fight began after the commission allowed Yannone to cut down a tree that was in front of his Tri Pi Pizzeria in the first block of East Main Street in April 2017. The deal called for Yannone to plant a new tree within six months. He didn’t. Yannone appealed to the state court after a Columbia County judge backed the shade tree commission’s order requiring him to replant. Yannone claimed a new tree would interfere with the outdoor dining facililties he installed after the old one was removed and would block the sign for his pizzeria. He argued that sidewalk trees are tripping hazards, damage the pavement and attract bugs. Also, he said, dog owners tend to let their pets relieve themselves on the trees…

Labiotech.eu, October 4, 2019: This Biotech Genetically Engineers Trees to Produce Biofuels

The looming threat of climate change is increasing the pressure to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. New technologies to produce fuel from plants provide an alternative, but the shifting climate could also disrupt crop growth, compounding the problem. SweTree Technologies aims to tackle the issue by engineering trees to have higher yields of biomass and to resist temperature changes. “Genetic engineering is one powerful tool in solving the challenge to grow more biomass,” Christofer Rhén, SweTree’s CEO, told me. To find out which genes they want to target, SweTree first makes mutant strains of trees that lack a specific gene and observe the effect this has on traits such as wood formation and speed of growth. Since its founding in 1999, the company has studied over 1,500 genes. So far, Swetree has selected 25 candidate genes to modify in tree species such as spruce. To manufacture these modified trees, SweTree is now building a pilot facility aimed at producing 20 million plants annually by five years’ time. SweTree’s facility will be able to produce multiple types of trees, such as poplar and eucalyptus, depending on customers’ needs…

Greeley, Colorado, Tribune, October 2, 2019: Beetle that threatens to destroy 15,000 trees in Greeley detected in Larimer

A destructive beetle that is a threat to about 15% of Greeley’s trees has been confirmed in Larimer County, according to a news release from the Emerald Ash Borer Response Team. Officials found emerald ash borer near Berthoud in Larimer County, the first in the county and the third confirmation of the pest in Colorado outside a federal quarantine. The pest attacks ash trees, typically killing them within two to four years after infestation. There are about 15,000 ash trees in Greeley, and officials estimate ash trees make up about 15% of all urban and community trees in the state. The infested tree near Berthoud was located on private property, less than three miles southwest of the town, the release states. Foresters are inspecting nearby trees to determine the extent of the infestation…

Science Advances, October 2, 2019: Reduced tree growth in the semiarid United States due to asymmetric responses to intensifying precipitation extremes

Earth’s hydroclimatic variability is increasing, with changes in the frequency of extreme events that may negatively affect forest ecosystems. We examined possible consequences of changing precipitation variability using tree rings in the conterminous United States. While many growth records showed either little evidence of precipitation limitation or linear relationships to precipitation, growth of some species (particularly those in semiarid regions) responded asymmetrically to precipitation such that tree growth reductions during dry years were greater than, and not compensated by, increases during wet years. The U.S. Southwest, in particular, showed a large increase in precipitation variability, coupled with asymmetric responses of growth to precipitation. Simulations suggested roughly a twofold increase in the probability of large negative growth anomalies across the Southwest resulting solely from 20th century increases in variability of cool-season precipitation. Models project continued increases in precipitation variability, portending future growth reductions across semiarid forests of the western United States…

Urbana, Ohio, News-Gazette, October 2, 2019: Urbana seeking donations to replace trees lost in May tornado

The city of Urbana is looking to citizens to donate money to replace trees lost in a late spring tornado. A release Wednesday from the city said the F-1 tornado that hit southwest Urbana May 26 cost the city more than $131,000 to clean up. Another $22,000 will be needed to replace the 64 trees lost that Sunday morning. Vince Gustafson, a deputy director in public works, praised the efforts of city employees who quickly responded to the storm that severely impacted two residential areas. It’s estimated they put in about 1,543 hours on clean-up. “Now we are faced with replacing the damaged and destroyed trees in order to maintain our urban forest,” said Mayor Diane Marlin, whose own neighborhood was affected by downed trees, damaged fences and roofs. “We had made excellent progress addressing the tree-planting backlog following losses due to the emerald ash borer,” she said. “The tornado has set us back. Many community members benefitted from the city’s efforts to remove debris — even the substantial amount of debris that came from private property. Now we are asking the community to help…”

Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Southern Maryland Chronicle, Sept. 28, 2019: Maryland Forest Service Seeks Black Walnuts

Marylanders with black walnut trees on their property are asked to donate extra walnuts to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The Maryland Forest Service will use the walnuts to grow and plant trees along creeks, rivers, and streams as part of the state’s tree-planting program, aimed at enhancing habitat and water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Citizens can drop off walnuts – in bags, boxes, or containers – at either Gambrill State Park in Frederick County or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service office in Washington County. Anyone with questions should contact those locations directly. Black walnut trees are easy to identify by the large round nuts that drop after the leaves fall in autumn. Black walnuts are fairly common in Maryland and may live for up to 250 years. They are the most commonly planted nut tree in North America, partly because most seedlings germinate from nuts buried by squirrels…

Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin, October 1, 2019: Tree thieves started forest fire that ravaged 3,300 acres of protected land, feds say

A quick check beneath the bark of the bigleaf maple confirmed that the campers had finally tracked down what they were looking for. The towering tree with enormous, fanlike leaves was different from others growing within Washington state’s Olympic National Forest – it contained highly prized wood worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. But before the maple could be illegally chopped down and hauled out of the protected area last year, the timber thieves found themselves facing an unexpected complication, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday. A colony of bees had made the valuable tree their home, which meant that felling it was now “difficult or impossible,” the indictment said. Instead of giving up, federal prosecutors say the tree poachers attempted to get rid of the bee nest – which proved to be a costly mistake. Their bumbling efforts allegedly sparked a forest fire that burned out of control for several days last fall, scorching 3,300 acres of federal and state land, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in the Western District of Washington. Known as the Maple Fire, the blaze cost $4.5 million to extinguish, the release said. Justin Andrew Wilke and Shawn Edward Williams were charged with multiple federal felonies related to their alleged scheme to steal bigleaf maple trees from the sprawling national forest west of Seattle, officials said Monday…

Litle Rock, Arkansas, Democrat-Gazette, October 2, 2019: Heights’ tree rules on LR board agenda

Tree preservation rules for Little Rock’s Heights neighborhood are set to go before the city board for final approval tonight. The Little Rock Planning Commission voted unanimously in April to recommend an ordinance establishing a design overlay district encompassing the neighborhood to the Board of Directors. The new regulations would affect anyone constructing a new residential unit or making an addition of more than 600 square feet of foundation area on the property. If the proposed ordinance passes, such property owners and developers will either have to maintain the existing trees on the property or plant one new 2.5-inch caliper tree per 40 feet of street frontage, or retain one tree 12 inches or greater. A group of Heights residents, concerned that an influx of development would jeopardize the tree canopy that they say makes the area unique, began working to develop proposals for regulations. The Heights Neighborhood Association participated and recommends approval of the ordinance. Others have expressed concerns about the ordinance infringing on property rights…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, October 1, 2019: PG&E is less than one-third done with its 2019 tree-trimming work

As the most dangerous part of California’s wildfire season continues, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. says it has finished only about 31% of the aggressive tree-trimming work it planned this year to prevent vegetation from falling on power lines and starting more deadly infernos. PG&E told a federal judge Tuesday that as of Sept. 21, the company had completed 760 miles out of the 2,455 miles of power lines where it intends to take extra steps to cut back vegetation. The company said its ability to meet the tree-trimming target by the end of the year depends on whether it can “significantly increase the number of qualified personnel engaged” in the effort. PG&E’s filing came two weeks after its latest appearance before U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the company’s probation arising from the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. Alsup has taken a keen interest in PG&E’s vegetation management because the collision of trees and branches with electric lines is a major source of wildfires in the company’s service territory. That’s how many of the October 2017 fires in the North Bay’s Wine Country began, and the state linked all but one of the major blazes from then to PG&E equipment. Fire victims’ lawyers maintain PG&E caused the remaining fire, a dispute that is set to go to trial in January…

United Press International, October 1, 2019: Stanford scientists invent gel that could protect trees from wildfire

Tree stands in fire-prone forests could soon get some relief. Scientists at Stanford University have developed a gel-like liquid that acts as a flame retardant. Researchers suggest the material could be used to protect vulnerable trees in wildfire-prone areas, as well as reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires more broadly. Scientists described the material’s potential this week in the journal PNAS. “This has the potential to make wildland firefighting much more proactive, rather than reactive,” senior study author Eric Appel, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the Stanford School of Engineering, said in a news release. “What we do now is monitor wildfire-prone areas and wait with bated breath for fires to start, then rush to put them out…”

Seattle, Washington, Times, September 30, 2019: Purported tree poachers charged with causing Olympic National Forest fire by setting a bees nest ablaze

Think of it as a different sort of sting operation. Two former Hood Canal-area residents have been indicted on eight federal felony counts stemming from an effort to burn a bees nest that was interfering with their attempts to illegally harvest a valuable maple tree in the Olympic National Forest. Their attempt to burn the beehive resulted in a forest fire that consumed 3,300 acres and cost $4.5 million to fight, according to an indictment unsealed Monday. The indictment alleges that, between April and August 2018, Justin Andrew Wilke and Shawn Edward Williams were involved in cutting down and selling old-growth big-leaf maple trees on public land. These trees often contain what is called “figured” wood, which is coveted by luthiers for its often spectacular grain used for guitars, violins and other stringed instruments. The indictment alleges that in August 2018 the men attempted to take a large maple tree in the Olympic National Forest that contained a bees nest, making it particularly tricky to cut down. Their solution was for Wilke to pour gasoline on the nest and light it on fire. The blaze quickly ran out of control — despite their efforts to douse it with water bottles — and the resulting conflagration, known as the Maple Fire, burned out of control for several days, according to the federal charges…

New York City, The New York Times, September 29, 2019: California’s Latest Wildfire Problem: Insuring the Tree Trimmers

D.J. Gomes and his logging crew were working in California’s wine country last fall, helping clear vegetation away from power lines and reduce the ever-growing wildfire risk. While they were gone, fire came for their hometown. The disaster that followed, the Camp Fire, killed 86 people and virtually leveled Paradise, where Mr. Gomes’s house was one of the few spared. His loneliness has started to ease as stores reopen and displaced neighbors move into new modular homes. But getting back to work has been more complicated. Mr. Gomes owns Crossfire Tree & Vegetation, one of many companies that have been contractors for utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric in fire-prevention work. State law makes the utilities liable for fires caused by their equipment, increasing the urgency of trimming trees and maintaining the power grid. But contractors face liability, too, if fires are traced to what they did or failed to do. And that is making it harder to get the insurance needed for the work. “Every year I go to renew, it’s a huge fight,” Mr. Gomes said. Despite his company’s safety record, “they keep increasing the amount of insurance they want you to have…”

Great Falls, Montana, Tribune, September 30, 2019: 50 percent of city boulevard trees damaged in storm

Tree damage caused by the weekend snowstorm is among the worst city forester Todd Seymanski has ever seen. “I’m going to say close to 50 percent sustained either minor or major damage,” Seymanski said of trees in the city’s tree boulevard district. Two boulevard trees were lost in the storm, he said. The weather event is among the top two or three in terms of damage to trees, Seymanski said. Previously, an August snowstorm and a 70 mph north wind event caused widespread damage. A combination of factors caused tree branches to succumb from a snowstorm that dropped 19.3 inches of snow on the city Saturday and Sunday, Seymanski said. The snow was heavy, and it was accompanied by wind, and it hit when leaves remained on the trees. “If it had happened three weeks from now, it wouldn’t have been a problem,” said Seymanski, noting that the leaves allowed snow to accumulate in the trees, with the weight too much for some of them…

Cleveland, Ohio, WOIO-TV, September 30, 2019: Hot and dry fall plunges Ohio deeper into drought, affecting trees

This year’s weather has not been kind on many of Ohio’s crops, from an early, very wet spring to a hot dry fall. That is now wreaking havoc on some of the state’s trees. “This is pretty uncommon to see this entire groups of trees here dropping so many leaves,” said Tedd Bartlett, District Manager of Davey’s Tree Expert Company. Bartlett said much of the area is experiencing the same problems with trees, including early changes of color. However, he says, we won’t be seeing as much of the yellow, orange, and red in the foliage, but a lot more brown, dead leaves on the ground. “We’ve had an early, wet spring, compounded by a late, dry, summer, early fall. What we are seeing is the effects of this prolonged drought that we’ve had for the last three to four months,” he said. There are some steps you can take to keep your own trees healthy, Bartlett said, including practicing “deep watering,” adding enough water to tree roots so that it will be absorbed into the roots. That will help, but Bartlett says, we’re still in for a season of trees drooping a bit more than usual.

Vice, September 29, 2019: Thief Stole 50,000 Apples by Just Shaking the Trees Really Hard, Orchard Owner Says

If we hear the phrase “five-figure apple theft,” most of us are gonna immediately assume that it referred to a smash-and-grab at a high-end retailer, or a well-coordinated crime that involved, like, three pairs of AirPods. But when $27,000 worth of apples-with-a-lower-case-a were stolen sometime last week, it was a completely no-tech crime that presumably just involved shaking the shit out of a bunch of trees. According to WSBT, someone—or several someones—let themselves into Williams Orchard in La Porte County, Indiana, and they stole every single fruit from more than an acre’s worth of apple trees. Jon Drummond, who bought and re-opened the orchard less than a month ago, told the station that, in total, more than 50,000 apples were taken. “To be able to see an entire block of trees, nearly cleanly picked, when just days earlier there were thousands and thousands of apples on them, we just couldn’t even fathom it,” he told the station. Drummond said that the missing apples were discovered last weekend. The victimized trees are all at the back of the orchard, and Williams thinks that the perpetrators literally just put bins or tarps on the ground and shook the trees hard enough to knock the apples loose. He said that whoever targeted that area is probably going to make applesauce or cider but, dude, 50,000 apples’ worth of applesauce sounds like A LOT of applesauce…

Kettering city officials are proposing changes in the property maintenance code that include adding a nuisance abatement to help eradicate suspected drug houses and other problem properties

City Manager Mark Schwieterman told council recently that the issue has been worked on for several months. One of the proposed changes involves updating the definition of “blight” so it matches what is in the Ohio Revised Code definition. If approved, the new codes would help address the problem of boarded up properties when they are cited for violations. “We have clarified the section on boarded structures, to avoid any confusion that a structure being boarded would be in compliance, and that is not the case.” he said. “That is simply the minimum standard and they (property owner) still have to make full repairs and corrections to the property.” The city will also remove high-risk trees if an owner does not take care of the problem in a timely manner. But the issue of dealing with nuisance properties is something the city now wants to put a priority on. The proposed addition to the city code would give police another tool to combat issues such as prostitution and drug crimes that endanger the health and safety of the community, Police Chief Chip Protsman said…

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, LNP, September 29, 2019: Spotted lanternflies enter adult, egg laying stage: here’s what you need to know

Spotted lanternflies have entered into their adult and egg-laying stages of their life cycle. The egg-laying phase will continue until December, according to the Penn State Ag Extension. The eggs will develop over the winter and spring, eventually hatching around May. By December, most of the adult spotted lanternflies will have died off, and only the eggs will survive through the winter, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. According to the Penn State Ag Extension, the lifecycle of a spotted lanternfly follows the following pattern: – September to December: Adult spotted lanternflies lay their eggs; – October to June: The eggs develop and the lanternflies grow; – May to June: The lanterflies hatch, reaching nymph stage; – July to September: Lanternflies reach the fourth instar, which is the stage right before they turn into adults; – July to December: Lanternflies reach full adulthood. If you see an adult spotted lanternfly on a tree, or elsewhere, don’t be afraid to squish them. It is an invasive species from Asia that attacks trees and crops…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, MPR News, September 29, 2019: Officials watching for disease that kills oak trees say it hasn’t yet been found in Minnesota

Minnesota agriculture officials monitoring for the possible spread of a fungus-like organism that has killed millions of oak trees on the West Coast say it has not yet been found in the state. But they remain on the lookout for a disease that could harm the state’s iconic oak trees. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture put out a call in August to anyone who purchased rhododendrons this year, to be on the lookout for sick plants. Rhododendrons infected with the organism — called Phytophthora ramorum — were found this year in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois. The shrubs can be a carrier for the disease that causes sudden oak death. Minnesota did not get a shipment of the infected rhododendrons, but officials asked that anyone in the state who purchased or planted rhododendrons this year to watch for leaves with large, brown blotches, as well as young green stems and shoots that turn brown and shrivel…

US News & World Report, September 26, 2019: Tree-Cutting Ban in Southwest Forests Hurts Heating Needs

People who rely on wood stoves to heat their homes in the winter are scrambling to find other options after a U.S. District Court halted tree cutting on large swaths of national forests in the Southwest over concern about a threatened owl. “We have some elderly people that we have been serving for decades and they totally rely on this wood and on us, and it’s causing me to panic wondering if I’m going to be able to keep these senior citizens warm, these widows,” said Della Barrone, an owner of Olguin’s Sawmill in Taos, New Mexico. The U.S. Forest Service said Thursday it has suspended timber sales, thinning projects, prescribed burns and the sale of firewood permits as a result of a recent court order in a 2013 case in which environmentalists accused the agency of failing to track the population of Mexican spotted owls. U.S. District Judge Raner Collins said the Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have had more than 20 years to get a better handle on owl populations in all five national forests in New Mexico and Tonto National Forest outside metropolitan Phoenix. The six forests combined have more than 8,900 active permits for fuelwood gathering that include personal and commercial use. More than half of those permits are in Carson and Santa Fe national forests in northern New Mexico…

Atlanta, Georgia, WAGA-TV, September 26, 2019: Don’s Tree Experts owner busted on theft charges

Frustrated homeowners celebrated the arrest of the owner of a DeKalb tree-cutting service they blame for leaving their yards an eyesore and public danger. Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Fugitive Squad took Angela Hodges into custody Tuesday, three months after a series of criminal theft warrants were issued against her. The charges involve four different homeowners who claim Hodges took money upfront to take down trees or remove stumps, then failed to show up to do any work at all. One complainant said he paid Hodges $5000. Many others filed civil suits against Hodges after she cut down the trees but then failed to come back to remove the debris. People like Patricia Callahan. “This is not a yard,” she told me as we walked through a backyard littered with giant logs and heavy branches. “I should make money for the movies the way my yard is looking.” Disaster movies? “Disaster movies,” she agreed. “Real scary ones that I don’t watch…”

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, September 26, 2019: 50-foot tree near Urth Caffe will be removed after Laguna Beach tried for 3 years to save it

An ailing 50-foot red gum eucalyptus tree in front of the popular Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach will be cut down in a few weeks after city officials spent nearly three years and thousands of dollars trying to save it. On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the City Council agreed to remove the dying tree and have an appropriate tree for the space planted. “I think we’ve done as much as we can do,” Mayor Bob Whalen said. “It’s clear it’s moving into poor health.” The city-maintained tree on Aster Street has been under special city care since 2015 after restaurant personnel alerted officials to its declining health. The restaurant serves hundreds on weekends, often with long lines of people often waiting outside, and asked that the towering tree be removed because of the threat to public safety. The City Council – just after adopting new guidelines for public trees in 2016 – opted to try and save the eucalyptus after speaking with two arborists. The experts then predicted it would likely need removal within a decade, but community members rallied to have the city find an alternative…

Cambridge, UK, Cambridge News, September 27, 2019: End of conkers as horse chestnut trees are set to go extinct

Horse chestnut trees, whose conkers have been collected and treasured by generations of children, are among scores of European trees at risk of extinction. The latest assessment from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List also reveals three species of whitebeam recently discovered in Somerset are critically endangered at a European level. The European Red List of trees, which covers all 454 species of native trees, found more than two-fifths – 168 species – are under threat of dying out in Europe. More than half (58%) of the trees that are endemic – which are only found in Europe – are under threat, the assessment shows. Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the IUCN Red List Unit, said: “It is alarming that over half of Europe’s endemic tree species are now threatened with extinction.”Trees are essential for life on earth, and European trees in all their diversity are a source of food and shelter for countless animal species such as birds and squirrels, and play a key economic role. “From the EU to regional assemblies and the conservation community, we all need to work together to ensure their survival…”

Windsor, Ontario, CBC, September 25, 2019: 1,000 Windsor ash trees may have survived emerald ash borer blight of early 2000s

An inventory of city trees has led to the discovery of hundreds of ash trees — a species the city thought was completely wiped out during an emerald ash borer infestation which began in the 2000s. The inventory began in June and about 500 ash trees have been found to be still standing. “EAB went through the region in 2003, 2004,” said city forestry analyst Gaspar Horvath. “At that time, the inventory tells us we had something like 7,000 large, mature ash trees. Most of those died.” According to Forests Ontario, the emerald ash borer’s spread cannot be stopped — as beetles travel up to 10 kilometres each year. Since 2002, millions of trees in the Great Lakes region have been destroyed by the invasive species. “We essentially lost all the ash trees,” said Horvath. “Or so we had thought.” There are about 100,000 trees in Windsor, something Horvath called a “highly valuable asset.” In order to protect that asset, the city conducts an inventory. By the time the inventory is complete, Horvath estimated there could be about 1,000 ash trees in Windsor…

Nature Research, September 26, 2019: Tree height explains mortality risk during an intense drought

Forest mortality is accelerating due to climate change and the largest trees may be at the greatest risk, threatening critical ecological, economic, and social benefits. Here, we combine high-resolution airborne LiDAR and optical data to track tree-level mortality rates for ~2 million trees in California over 8 years, showing that tree height is the strongest predictor of mortality during extreme drought. Large trees die at twice the rate of small trees and environmental gradients of temperature, water, and competition control the intensity of the height-mortality relationship. These findings suggest that future persistent drought may cause widespread mortality of the largest trees on Earth…

Vancouver, British Columbia, Times-Colonist, September 26, 2019: Dry summers take heavy toll on Island trees

Recent summers with drought-like conditions have damaged Vancouver Island trees, especially cedars. “We are noticing clear, identifiable ‘flagging,’ ” said Andrew Burger, manager of park operations in Saanich. “That’s what we call it when you start seeing all the needles going brown. “This year we’re noticing actual complete die-off of a lot of cedars in our parks, like Mount Doug and some of our bigger, forested parks.” Dryness last winter also contributed to the die-off, he said. Peter Constabel, a University of Victoria biology professor and director of the Centre for Forest Biology, called cedars the “canary in the coal mine” for drought damage. “Cedar is the first one that we notice,” he said. “It’s the most sensitive, the most susceptible.” Last year, experts pointed to the damaging effect of drought on western red cedar — B.C.’s official tree — and Parksville reported a “devastating loss” of cedar trees in its parks. “We still see cedars [affected], especially driving up and down the Island Highway and just going up-Island a little bit,” Constabel said. “We see lots of them seem to be dying…”

Vero Beach, Florida, Treasure Coast Palm, September 25, 2019: Planting of 250,000 grapefruit trees to begin in March, citrus partners say

The planting of 250,000 grapefruit trees with a $25 million investment in St. Lucie and Indian River counties is planned to begin in March. The 1,500-acre venture, announced Tuesday by Gov. Ron DeSantis and citrus leaders in a waterside banquet room of the Quail Valley River Club in Vero Beach, is expected to increase the Florida grapefruit crop by 15 percent, said Andy Taylor, Peace River Citrus Products senior vice president and chief financial officer. The ambitious project is the first major grapefruit planting since citrus greening and hurricane damage wiped away most of the state’s grapefruit groves, citrus business leaders told the audience of about 50 guests Tuesday. The groves are expected to begin producing fruit three years after their planting, Taylor said. Growers predict the trees will be “fully productive” by 2025…

Fayetteville, North Carolina, Observer, September 23, 2019: Fayetteville makes it less expensive for developers to take down large trees

It will be cheaper for developers to cut down large trees that could be more than 100 years old under an amendment to an ordinance approved by the Fayetteville City Council on Monday night. The council approved the amendment even though the city’s Planning Commission and staff recommend against it. A citizen’s task force recommended that they approve it. Since May of 2018, a task force led by retired Gen. Al Aycock has been discussing proposed modifications to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. The vote in favor was 9-1, with councilwoman Tisha Waddell dissenting. The proposed change to the city’s UDO will reduce the removal fee for “specimen trees” from $100 to $50 per caliper inch. The city’s UDO ordinance defines a specimen tree as any healthy tree with a caliper measurement meeting or exceeding 30 inches. City staff expressed its concerns about cutting down more of these trees. “Depending on the tree species, a specimen tree at 30-inch diameter would be close to if not exceeding 100 years old,” said Taurus Freeman, the city’s planning and zoning divisional manager in a report to the council…”

Newsweek, September 24, 2019: Wisconsin Father Dies After Lightning Strikes Tree and Branch Falls on his Tent

A Wisconsin man died while on a hunting trip, after lightning struck a tree and caused a branch to fall on his tent. Chris Perow of New Berlin died instantly during the accident in Idaho on Wednesday, September 18, according to a GoFundMe Page set up to raise money from a memorial and to support his family. Perow was with his brother-in-law at the time. The 33-year-old left behind his wife Lauren Perow, whom he married last June, and their two sons Hunter and Everett. Police told Q13 Fox the lightning caused the branch to fall from the tree as Perow slept. “There was no suffering,” his GoFundMe page stated…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal Constitution, September 24, 2019: Help your tree recover from bark damage

Q: I had my front yard dug up because of a collapsed sewer line. The backhoe damaged a 6-inch square of bark on one side of my mature dogwood tree. Is there anything I should do to ensure better survival of the tree? Steven Grego, DeKalb County
A: Unlike mammals, which heal an injury by covering over it, trees deal with damage by forming a layer of dense cells inside the tree around and under the wound. Oxygen contacting the damaged cells stimulates the tree’s protection response to proceed as quickly as possible. The best help for your tree is to clean the edges of the scrape with a razor knife, removing any loose bark. Do not apply wound dressing or paint. Water regularly to reduce stress and place mulch under the tree to keep the soil cool…

Augusta, Maine, Press Herald, September 22, 2019: History of hunting deaths invites question of reform

Karen Wood died hanging laundry in her backyard in November 1988. Megan Ripley died walking with her brother behind her family’s home in December 2006. Karen Wrentzel died digging for gemstones on her property in October 2017. Each woman died without knowing a hunter was on her land because he never needed to ask to be there. Each woman died because that hunter thought he saw a deer and shot her instead. Maine has long allowed hunters to use private property without permission unless posted signs explicitly tell them to stay away. The deaths of the three women are flares in the simmering debate about whether that tradition needs to change. The issue came up again this month at the sentencing hearing for Robert Trundy, the hunter who shot and killed Karen Wrentzel. But every attempt to rewrite the law to require hunters to get permission has so far failed. And those who have followed the debate over decades say they still don’t think the state is ready for such a dramatic change. “That would be very controversial,” said George Smith, the longtime former president of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. “I don’t think it would ever pass. Troy Ripley, whose 18-year-old daughter was killed by a hunter in 2006, said his own views on public access have evolved over time, and he no longer believes a statewide requirement to post private land for hunting would be the best option. But he wants state officials to talk about what other reforms might actually be possible in Maine…

Alton, Illinois, The Telegraph, September 23, 2019: Changing tree colors might not be seasonal

In Illinois, most trees do not begin to change colors for the season until October. Although some early color may be beautiful, this may be a sign of health issues. “A branch or two here and there — or some yellow leaves in the canopy — are not always cause for alarm,” said Ryan Pankau, a horticulture educator with University of Illinois Extension. “But if the majority of your tree’s canopy is changing color early, it may be a cry for help.” Trees that change color early are typically exhibiting a plant response to some kind of environmental stress. The first step to helping your tree , Pankau said, is to identify the problem. Consider any recent changes to the tree’s growing space, including soil disturbance. Next, inspect the base of the tree for damage from animals or machinery, or a “girdling root” encircling the trunk and strangling the root system. “In some cases, the damage a tree has experienced may be irreversible,” said Pankau. “Unfortunately, extensive trunk damage cannot be repaired.” Also inspect the canopy for any clues, such as unusually small or deformed leaves. See if the annual growth from last year (identifiable on twigs by locating the previous year’s terminal bud scale scar) is significantly less than past years? “I have most commonly observed this issue in newly planted trees which are under transplant stress for several growing seasons,” Pankau said. The first few years after being transplanted are tough times in a tree’s life. Added stress this time of year in the form of hot, dry weather can be the impetus for a tree’s call for help…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, September 23, 2019: Island tree removal company ‘can’t keep up’ with calls after Dorian

An Island tree removal company says it can’t keep up with the number of calls it’s been getting since post-tropical storm Dorian hit P.E.I. Jerry Arsenault, the owner of Branch Manager Tree Service, said he’s had more than 1,000 calls since the storm. “They just keep coming and it’s kind of overwhelming,” he said. “You just can’t keep up.” Arsenault said his company is putting non-urgent calls on hold at the moment so it can focus on more pressing cases like trees that have fallen on houses and power lines. “We had a lady that was crying one day … she couldn’t get back into her house,” he said. “We had to rush over … there was a big poplar [tree] leaning over the house.” Arsenault said he won’t be able to get to any calls considered non-urgent until around December. “Before the storm, the calls were mainly somebody wants a tree trimmed or a tree gone before the winter,” he said…

Honolulu Star Advertiser, September 23, 2019: 3 milo trees, worth thousands, stolen from Haleiwa beach park

City parks officials say that three milo trees that were among dozens planted at municipal beach parks along a stretch of Oahu’s North Shore this month were stolen. The three milo trees, which were planted at Haleiwa Alii Beach Park, were stolen on either Sept. 14 or 15. The estimated cost of the stolen milo trees is $3,500, and they will be replaced, city officials said. Meanwhile, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation has filed a police report, and the crime is being investigated as theft in the third degree. The three trees were among 72 that were planted at three beach parks — at Kaiaka Bay, Haleiwa Alii, and Haleiwa beach parks. Among them are a variety of species, ranging from monkeypods to hau and heliotrope. The planting of the trees — a $165,500 contract awarded to Island Landscaping and Maintenance Inc. — is part of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s initiative to plant 100,000 treesby 2025, and to increase the urban tree canopy cover to 35% by 2035…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, September 23, 2019: Brooklyn adds to tree canopy using $41,000 Cuyahoga County grant

The Cuyahoga County Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program is investing nearly $1 million in tree planting and maintenance projects around Northeast Ohio. This includes the City of Brooklyn receiving $41,535 toward its ongoing efforts. “As a first-ring suburb, our tree canopy has been declining, so we thought this a great opportunity to add more money to what we are putting into not only our parks, but also the tree lawns throughout the city,” Mayor Katie Gallagher said. “Tree plantings are good for the environment, your health and property value. Also, with the emerald ash borer (infestation) in the park and throughout the city, I think we took down more trees than we put up,” she said. “This will give us kind of that push to recoup those trees that we lost over the years.” Mike Foley, director of the county’s Department of Sustainability, said that while many cities proposed plans for future planting and maintenance, Brooklyn — which has achieved Tree City USA status for roughly 30 years — already had its program in place…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, September 22, 2019: What is all this rain doing to my trees?

Thursday afternoon, street flooding trapped arborist Matt Petty of Davey Tree at his Memorial Park-area office. As he and his crew waited for the water to subside, he spoke by phone about the problems our trees can expect.
Q: For a tree, how bad is a flood like this?
A: A day or two of flooding isn’t a problem. Most trees in Houston are pretty well adapted to our climate. We have a wet season, and that weather pattern isn’t new to plant species that have been here for thousands of years.
Q: What happens then?
A: If the soil stays wet continuously — if water fills all the air pockets in it — then there’s no oxygen around the trees’ root zone. In anaerobic conditions like that, you start getting pathogens and root rot.
Q: Would my tree fall over then?
A: Not immediately. Root rot eats away at the tree slowly. It might fall over two months later, or sometime the next year.
Q: How can I tell if my trees are in trouble?
A: You might not see signs. “Zombie trees” can have root rot but look healthy. But under stress — drought or excessive heat or heavy wind — they die suddenly or fall over. They don’t have a healthy root system to sustain them. It’s a good idea to have an arborist inspect your trees regularly — say, twice a year. Look for someone certified by the ISA, the International Society of Arboriculture. Unless you need an official written report, most places in Houston will do a basic inspection for free…

San Francisco, California, KQED-TV, September 22, 2019: These Trees Survived California’s Drought and That’s Giving Scientists Hope for Climate Change

When California’s historic five-year drought finally relented a few years ago, the tally of dead trees in the Sierra Nevada was higher than almost anyone expected: 129 million. Most are still standing, the dry patches dotting the mountainsides. But some trees did survive the test of heat and drought. Now, scientists are racing to collect them and other species around the globe in the hope that these “climate survivors” may have a natural advantage, allowing them to cope with a warming world a bit better than others in their species. On the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Patricia Maloney, a UC Davis forest and conservation biologist, hunts for these survivors. Most people focus on the dead trees, their brown pine needles standing out against the glittering blue of the lake. But Maloney tends not to notice them. “I look for the good,” she said. “Like in people, you look for the good, not the bad. I do the same in forest systems…”

Lincoln, Nebraska, Journal Star, September 22, 2019: Trees thirsty going into winter

It’s been hot! And windy. In unwatered portions of the landscape you may be seeing cracked soil — a good indication conditions are dry. In fall, warm dry days with cool nights usually lead to great fall leaf coloration, but dry fall conditions have a downside, too. Fall is a time for plants to replace the moisture reserves lost during our hot dry summer periods. But if these same conditions continue in fall little recovery is possible. Drought-stressed trees are more susceptible to secondary attack by insect pests and disease problems, such as borers and cankers, which can cause tree death. One common symptom of drought stress is leaf scorching, a uniform yellowing or browning of the edges of leaves on broadleaf plants or the tips of evergreen needles. However, even trees that don’t exhibit leaf scorch can be experiencing periodic drought stress. Healthy trees, receiving adequate water, are much more resistant to pest problems. Trees and shrubs not fully hydrated going into winter are also prone to winter desiccation, a common type of winter injury that occurs when the amount of water lost by plants exceeds the amount picked up by the roots…

London, UK, BBC, September 22, 2019: Climate change: 800 years tracked using oak tree rings

It reveals a picture of summer rainfall stretching back more than 800 years. Periods of prolonged extreme weather coincided with historical accounts of famines and droughts. The researchers said the data presented “huge lessons” about the potential impacts of climate change on society. Core samples were taken from hundreds of oak trees across the UK, in a project led by the University of Oxford and Swansea University. The trees grow a new ring each year and are particularly sensitive to how wet it has been during the summer months. The widths of the rings were studied, as well as the chemistry of the wood. It allowed the researchers to access what they describe as a natural archive of climate information, going way beyond the records held by the Met Office – which only cover a few hundred years…

Sacramento, California, Bee, September 19, 2019: We’re in a race to save our urban canopy. Why Sacramento’s trees are under threat

The unfinished subdivision in north Natomas looks just like any other, propped up along the banks of a man-made lake. But one strip of land here may be key to the livelihood of Sacramento’s urban forest, a place where scientists are growing the trees of the future. Researchers from the UC Cooperative Extension are wagering on 12 tree species planted near the lake to see if they can withstand the effects of a changing climate. In the future, Sacramento is expected to experience an increasing number of hot and dry days that could unleash a new rash of pests and diseases — both threats to urban trees. The researchers are looking to places with harsher terrain than California’s inland valleys as a template for the future: Australia, west Texas and Oklahoma. In Sacramento, they have planted trees at three other sites and a control group on the campus of UC Davis. Urban forester Kevin Hocker stopped at Fisherman’s Lake on a weekday in July to survey the small Canby oak, a tree native to Mexico with emerald-colored leaves that can sprout as tall as 50 feet. The oak grows fast and upright and tolerates extreme heat. “We’re giving it a shot and so far it looks great,” Hocker said. “It’s pretty promising…”

Nashville, Tennessee, WSMV-TV, September 19, 2019: Call 4 Action gets homeowner answers after she says her tree limbs were cut without her permission or notification

A Nashville woman living in The Nations returned home upset last week. The woman said she went out for a quick errand. When she returned, she found the limbs on her trees hacked off. When the 67-year-old Banks looks at her front yard now her heart breaks. “My property means a lot to me,” Banks said. “I was given no notice that there were going to be any tree trimmers or cutters within the area. I just feel like somebody invaded me.” Banks told News4 she takes care of her yard and when her limbs get too long, she treats them properly. In the past Banks also said she’s received notices in advance if NES is worried about her trees. News4 reached out to NES. In a statement, NES said it found the trimming necessary and said dogs in her front yard prevented them from notifying her…

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, September 19, 2019: Know what to look for when hiring a tree service

Our summers are pretty busy in the tree world. Because our summers are long, hot, and humid, we have an ideal location to grow a lot of diverse things. This includes not only the trees themselves, but things that attack our trees, like pine beetles, fungi, and many types of bacteria. With all this thriving biology, you can find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you have to remove a tree. As you probably already know, it can be quite expensive to have a tree removed. A simple web search will provide you with many tree service companies, but how do you know if you’re getting a professional or just someone with a chainsaw? Below are some best practices to ensure a less-stress tree care experience. First, what is an arborist or a tree surgeon? Arborists and tree surgeons are titles that require no training. However, a Certified Arborist, one who has been certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), is a professional who has demonstrated a basic knowledge of tree care through the completion of a comprehensive exam on tree trimming, care, and removal…

Washington, D.C., Post, September 19, 2019: Save eight old trees? Or build more affordable housing? A D.C. development dilemma.

The eight majestic willow oaks flourished for decades. Kids played hide-and-seek among their trunks. They shaded nearly a hundred years of first kisses, long talks and lazy afternoons. And they were the silent witnesses to the drug deals, the arguments, the shootings and the homicides, too. Still healthy, strong and thick-trunked, these eight sentinels of D.C.’s turbulent history — among the finest urban heritage trees in the city — will be lumber soon. Development, you know. Glass towers and quartz counters. Outrage? Of course! Nearly a thousand emails flooded the inboxes of city leaders this week when the tree people spoke up for the trees. These are heritage trees, after all. That means, according to a law enacted in 2016, these babes get special status because their girth is at least 100 inches around. Yes, in the tree world, thick means power…

Seoul, South Korea, Daily NK, September 20, 2019: Miner jailed for cutting down tree in “slogan tree” zone

A North Korean man who felled a tree in an area designated for slogan-inscribed trees in August has been sentenced to a correctional labor camp for five years, Daily NK learned on Wednesday. The man, who is a miner in the city of Kumdok, South Hamgyong Province, cut down the free for firewood, according to a Daily NK source based in the province. The tree the miner cut down did not have an inscription on it, the source added. Daily NK sources in the area have confirmed that the area with slogan-inscribed Korean larch trees is located over two kilometers away from a residential area in Kumdok. A forest management official later found the stump of the tree the man had cut down and alerted local security and police officials. Their investigation led to the arrest of the man…

Sacramento, California, Bee, September 19, 2019: A tiny beetle has decimated hundreds of SoCal trees. Now experts are worried about Sacramento

The shot hole borer doesn’t look or behave like a killer. Yet the insect — about the size of a sesame seed — could be a lethal threat to Sacramento’s urban forest. It’s already decimated hundreds of thousands of trees across at least six counties in Southern California. Many fear the rest of the state could be next. Scientists are mobilizing to find ways to slow the shot hole borer’s advance. Fast solutions have not been easy to find. State lawmakers recognized the seriousness of the risk and directed $5 million last year to the Invasive Species Council of California to eliminate the beetle. In the last decade however, the insect has proven a strong foe and become one of the state’s most unwanted invasive critters. Its progress in Southern California has been steady enough for other regions to be concerned. “It’s not here yet,” said Ray Tretheway, executive director of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, “but the arborists and urban forest managers always tell us that it’s inevitable that it will be here someday.” Two variety of the shot hole borer are present in California: the polyphagous, which loosely translates to excessive desire to eat, and the Kuroshio that is more common in San Diego County. While some pests desire one type of tree, the shot hole borer can survive in at least 64 different kinds — mostly trees that grow near riversides like willows, cottonwoods and sycamores. The Sacramento region, concentrated at the intersection of two rivers and a vast waterfront parkway, could be a prime target…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, September 18, 2019: This opportunistic fungus could be the final knife in the heart for sick trees

Hypoxylon canker in trees is a scary-sounding thing, right? It is a fungal disease that is common on many hardwoods. An opportunistic fungus, Hypoxylon atropunctatum, causes it. Red oaks are more susceptible than trees in the white oak group like bur, chestnut, chinquapin and white oak. It can also be found on elm, pecan, hickory, maple and sycamore. It usually manifests as black or gray splotches where bark has been sloughed away. Here’s the most important part of the story, though: Hypoxylon canker is never the cause of problems in a tree. It is basically unable to cause serious disease in healthy trees, but it can quickly colonize weakened trees, especially those with dying bark and wood resulting from other issues. Hypoxylon is never causal. It simply sets up shop in sick trees that are weakened by drought, root disease, mechanical injury, soil contamination, construction damage or being too deep in the ground. These true causes of stress enable this opportunistic fungus to produce cankers on branches and trunks. Perfectly healthy trees can even develop this canker on lower limbs that have been shaded out by dense canopies, but that’s not a serious threat to the overall health of the tree…

Tampa, Florida, WTSP-TV, September 18, 2019: How much are 28 trees worth? Tampa targets tree cutters with record $840K fine

Twenty-eight trees fell. Now, Tampa wants to make sure everybody hears it. In the battle over who should have final say when it comes to removing trees from private property, the city of Tampa is fighting back. With a new state law barring local governments from regulating tree removal seemingly on their side, the property owner of a rundown South Tampa mobile home park had more than two dozen trees chopped down in August. But now Tampa officials are issuing some of the largest fines in city history against the owner and the tree removal company involved. The city is seeking fines in excess of $800,000 from Miller & Sons and Life O’Reilly, or $15,000—the maximum allowable fine under state law—for each of the 28 trees chopped down from both parties for a total of $420,000 each. Tampa city attorney Gina Grimes said the fines are a result of the irreparable damage that’s been done but contends the city is in full compliance of the new state law…

Shaker Heights, Ohio, Patch, September 18, 2019: 300-Year-Old Tree Falls In Ohio

When a devastating storm tore through the east side on Friday night, it felled a tree that predated Ohio (as a state) and Cleveland (as a city). The White Oak had lived through droughts, blizzards, presidents, wars and the founding of the nation. It could not, however, outlive a microburst with 100 mph winds. Friday’s microburst, an intense downdraft during a thunderstorm, tore branches from trees, downed power lines and left thousands of people without power. Streets flooded, intersections closed and police did their best to manage traffic in the dark. A tree fell at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and landed on power lines, leaning against the transformer. Trails were blocked, the wildflower garden was smashed by fallen limbs, and one of the biggest and oldest trees in the region was snapped at its base. The White Oak was a point of fascination for the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, which had done research on the age of the tree, going so far as to conduct a coring, Nick Mikash, a natural resources specialist at the Nature Center, said. A coring removes a sliver of a tree to determine its age and history…

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Journal, September 18, 2019: Does city keep tree limbs from blocking signs?

Q: Why does the city not provide some system that keeps important traffic signs visible: For example, stop signs at Oaklawn Avenue at Coliseum Drive and at Talison Drive and Thornhill Lane, a yield sign at Coliseum and Robinhood Road, and “do not pass” signs along Robinhood and Country Club roads are all obscured by trees and foliage. It’s no wonder there are lots of former car parts strewn about city intersections.
A: “We do have a system in place and try to address these issues as we are made aware,” said Keith Finch, director of vegetation management for the city. “However, there are many signs distributed about the City of Winston Salem and it is hard to keep track of all of them.” The best way to make the city aware of concerns like this is through CityLink 311 or 336-727-8000, or using the CityLink app. “When we receive these reports, we investigate and either clear the sign in house or send a letter to the owner of the vegetation that is blocking the sign, asking them to cut back the limbs, vines, etc.,” he said. As to the specific intersections you identified in your email, he thanked you for bringing those sign issues to their attention. “We will address these issues you have mentioned in a timely manner,” he said…

Seattle, Washington, Times, September 18, 2019: Tips to help trees thrive all year

Seattle summers are brief, but increasingly, hot and getting hotter. Your trees and other greenery aren’t any more used to these temperatures than you are. But there are several ways to keep your trees healthy and happy, as well as methods to make sure they aren’t dying from the heat. Summer is a great time to see how your tree is really doing, says Jacob Rogers, a certified arborist who works at Eastside Tree Works. First, clear the deadwood. It helps keep your yard safe and your tree healthy.“ The winter’s good to prune the trees because that’s when the trees are dormant,” Rogers says. “In summertime, it’s good to take the deadwood out, because it’s easy to tell what’s dead or what isn’t.” Conifers with no leaves or needles are dying or dead, especially if those branches on the end of the canopy are dry, are an indication of a dead or dying tree. This clearing of deadwood also helps keep your house safe. “It’s a really good way to help fireproof your tree,” Rogers says. “If you collect a bunch of deadwood, especially like in a conifer, like a spruce next to your house, that’s all kindling that can go up really easily…”

Dallas, Texas, KXAS-TV, September 18, 2019: Dallas Plants Trees, But Some Aren’t Getting the Water They Need

The city of Dallas wants to plant 5,000 new trees in the next few years to make up for trees lost in June storms. A program to plant trees in 12 Dallas parks is called Branching Out and park officials are seeking donations to help irrigate the new trees through the Dallas Parks Foundation and Texas Trees Foundation. “Every time we do plant new trees in our parks, we have to make sure there is irrigation because we want the majority, if not all the trees to survive,” Dallas Parks Assistant Director Oscar Carmona said. “The first couple of years are the most important for a tree’s survival, and water is the most important thing for a tree to survive.” A separate city of Dallas program with a similar name called “Branch Out Dallas” offers residents free trees to plant on their property. A dozen or so trees the city planted at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center a year ago are an example of how not to help trees thrive. The MLK trees evidently have no irrigation system. “They’re barely hanging on. They’re not being taken care of. For growth, they need water,” neighbor Sherika Hardman said…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 17, 2019: PG&E to judge: We’re doing more tree work than any utility ‘has ever done before’

An attorney for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. defended the company’s tree trimming to a federal judge Tuesday, describing its efforts to prevent more wildfires by heavily clearing vegetation around power lines as necessary and unprecedented in reach, even while conceding some major flaws in the program. PG&E admitted to U.S. District Judge William Alsup that its contractors have failed to cut or fell every tree that could collide with electrical equipment and ignite a fire, but the company blamed a lot of that on the broadly increased scope of the program. The PG&E lawyer also said the software that contractors use to track their vegetation management work does not always accurately show the location of power lines. Alsup, who is overseeing PG&E’s probation from the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline blast, set the San Francisco hearing because of a recent critical report from the company’s court-appointed monitor. In the report, the monitor said his team found PG&E contractors had overlooked “numerous trees” and identified “substantial record-keeping issues related to the Company’s pre-inspection and tree work processes…”

Associated Press, September 17, 2019: Reward offered in death of woman struck by piece of tree

A group is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the death of a woman hit by a falling piece of tree at an Ohio state park. Forty-four-year-old Victoria Schafer was struck Sept. 2 near Old Man’s Cave at Hocking Hills State Park and died at the scene. Authorities initially believed the part of the tree that hit the Chillicothe woman fell on its own but the Ohio Department of Natural Resources later said it had evidence indicating there may have been foul play…

Seattle, Washington, KUOW Radio, September 17, 2019: Dead tree after dead tree.’ The case of Washington’s dying foliage

When Jim and Judy Davis moved to their property in Granite Falls two and a half years ago, the trees in their 25-acre forest were healthy. Then the hemlocks started to turn brown. Now, “if we were to walk this path completely — it’s about a quarter of a mile — this is what you would see,” Jim Davis said, “just dead tree after dead tree. “It’s just a feeling of sadness and helplessness.” So the Davises called in Kevin Zobrist. “I feel like I’m always coming out to a crime scene, you know: another dead tree, another one lost, coming out to investigate,” Zobrist said. Zobrist is a forestry professor at Washington State University. He said this isn’t just a problem on the Davis’ property. “When I drive up and down the highways around western Washington, I just see dead and dying hemlocks all up and down the roads,” Zobrist said. “We first noticed it right around 2016, and now I just see it everywhere.” And it’s not just hemlocks. Western red cedars and big-leaf maples are struggling as well. All three species are native to western Washington. Zobrist isn’t the only one seeing this: KUOW’s listeners have been writing in to ask about why they’re seeing so many dead trees. Zobrist thinks the answer lies in climate change…

Richmond, Virginia, WTVR-TV, September 15, 2019: Unpaid tree stewards cut limbs ‘to fill a void’ in Richmond

Volunteers with the Richmond Tree Stewards pruned trees in heavy traffic areas and where folks frequently walk in hopes of making neighborhoods safer Saturday. Dana Marshall said the group’s tree care and pruning work helps the city, which is unable to tend to all of Richmond’s numerous trees. “They’re in the parks and have the big equipment,” Marshall explained. “So with the pruning we can really help and sort of fill a void that’s a little more challenging for the city to do on its own.” That is because city crews tend to focus on larger, dead trees. The tree stewards help with smaller limbs on healthier trees, like the one Marshall clipped in Church Hill. “Right now I’m cutting these limbs, there’s some limbs up here that could drop on cars,” Marshall said. “Assuming maybe a school bus could [drive] under here. It’s for the safety of people and vehicles, but it’s also for the tree…”

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 17, 2019: Forest Service seeks bids to thin dense stands of trees

The U.S. Forest Service, faced with the slow pace of forest thinning, is seeking proposals to remove dense stands of trees in a wide swath of Arizona to help prevent wildfires. The work is part of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, the largest project of its kind within the Forest Service. It eventually will cover 3,750 square miles (9,712 square kilometers) along a prominent line of cliffs that divides Arizona’s high country from the desert. The bidding opened Monday for work on up to 1,278 square miles (3,310 square kilometers) in parts of the Kaibab, Coconino, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto national forests. The proposals are due Dec 16. Contracts would be awarded in April. “The intent of the RFP is to support existing industry, attract new sustainable industry and to significantly increase the pace and scale of forest restoration while creating jobs, restoring our forests, protecting communities and downstream water supplies,” regional forester Cal Joyner said in a statement. Those keeping tabs on the project have been frustrated by the pace of the work done so far. The Forest Service set a goal of having 78 square miles (202 square kilometers) mechanically thinned each year, but only about a third of that has been done on average. “We all know how underwhelming the results of 4FRI have been,” Coconino County Supervisor Art Babbott said at a recent science conference in Flagstaff…

Phys.org, September 18, 2019: Tree-planting to offset carbon emissions: no cure-all

A few euros, a couple of mouse clicks and a tree is planted—as air travel is increasingly becoming a source of guilt, consumers and companies are looking for other ways to ease their conscience and reduce their carbon footprint. But as more polluting industries join efforts to offset their carbon emissions, the effectiveness of the approach is open to debate, with some critics suggesting that tree-planting schemes are nothing more than a fig leaf. Once marginal, the offset movement has even reached the arch-enemy of environmentalists: big oil. Shell has ploughed $300 million (270 million euros) into forest plantations to reduce its carbon footprint by 2-3 percent, Italy’s ENI has set an objective of zero net emissions via its forestry investments, and France’s Total plans to set up a special “business unit” next year to spend $100 million annually on compensation efforts. Beyond the grand statements, carbon offset schemes basically follow the same, simple mechanism…

Washington, D.C., WUSA-TV, September 12, 2019: Leafy neighborhoods being rocked by ‘unprecedented’ wave of sudden tree deaths

Howard Sumka is stunned at how fast a mature hickory on his property line with Sligo Creek Park went from leafy green to completely dead in a few short weeks. “It’s heartbreaking,” Sumka said, as he showed WUSA9 the telltale powdery sawdust residue piled at the base of the stricken tree. The sawdust was produced by a common tree-boring insect called the Ambrosia beetle. The tree, like many others in Silver Spring, Takoma Park and similar neighborhoods, was attacked as it struggled to recover from two seasons of extreme weather according to University of Maryland Entomologist Dr. Michael J. Raupp. Such trees are now dying in large numbers more quickly than ever, Raupp said. “We’re in an extraordinary situation, with record rainfall back in 2018, the wettest year on history here in Maryland,” Raupp said. “You pile on top of that now, the hottest July since records have been kept. You’ve had two major stressors. You’ve got trees that are balanced on a knife’s edge and it’s simply not going to take a lot to push them over the edge. And what’s putting them over the edge is these Ambrosia beetles.” Raupp said mature “veteran” trees are most at risk, particularly oaks…

Chico, California, Enterprise-Review, September 12, 2019: Local and federal officials negotiating unprecedented tree removal deal

Local and state officials are scrambling for funding to help remove hazardous burned trees from the areas where people are starting to rebuild. The challenge is not new to California’s fire-prone communities. But the scale here is so large that it is butting up against the limits of what federal authorities are allowed to do after a disaster. Local and state officials are currently negotiating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse the removal of at least some of the trees. If they get the millions of dollars they hope will help, it would set a precedent for recovery from catastrophic wildfires in residential areas. Meanwhile, residents are looking up and getting scared. Foresters estimate that the Camp Fire burned half a million to a million trees, turning many into public hazards. The rate of tree mortality could be at least 80 percent. “I want to rebuild, but I don’t feel that I can really start because I don’t want to put myself or workers in danger,” said Pete Samuel, a longtime Paradise resident. “I’ve seen enough trees fall down in this town that I know what can happen. I’ve seen people get killed. Is that what it’s going to take?” A burnt oak recently fell on his neighbor’s vacant lot, just on the other side of his fence. Another one across the road is leaning dangerously to one side. Its leaves, once green, have started to die off…

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Argus-Leader, September 12, 2019: Have tree branches in your yard? Here’s what the city will take care of.

With Tuesday’s storms resulting in damage to trees all around the city, it’s important to know what you’re responsible for cleaning up and what the city will take care of. According to a release from the city, tree debris that have fallen into the public right-of-way — on a sidewalk, boulevard or street — will be cleared by the city. Any tree debris on private property is the responsibility of the homeowner. In the event that a tree has fallen on private property that reaches across into the public right-of-way, city crews will cut the tree at the sidewalk and clean up the debris in the public space. The homeowner is responsible for the remaining tree debris.The city emphasized that debris gathered and placed on the curb will not be removed by the city, and should be disposed of by the homeowner…

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sun-Sentinel, September 12, 2019: Tree-cutting companies volunteer time to care for veterans’ cemetery

Professionals from local tree service companies will unite at the South Florida National Cemetery west of Lantana for a volunteer day of service dedicated to U.S. military veterans. Saluting Branches, Arborists United for Veteran Remembrance is a nonprofit organization that donates tree care at veteran properties. Celebrating the fifth annual day of service on Wednesday, Sept. 18, more than 3,000 tree industry professionals and other volunteers across the nation will donate a full day by doing what they do best — caring for trees. “We join with tree care companies around the country to honor our nation’s veteran’s by providing free tree care services,” said Sonny R. Peppers, director of South Florida National Cemetery. “Together we make these cemeteries safer, more beautiful resting places for those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.” Participating local companies are yet to be announced, said event organizer Michael Zimmerman of Zimmerman Tree Service in Lake Worth Beach. “I look forward to giving back and taking care of the place where those that gave their life have their final resting place,” one previous volunteer said…

Newsweek, September 11, 2019: Amazon’s Tallest Tree Has Been Discovered and It’s Far Bigger Than It Should Be, Baffling Scientists

Sometimes even the largest natural wonders can remain hidden from human view for centuries. The Amazon is a dense place, full of life with new species of flora and fauna being discovered every other day. Now, using the same technology that takes driverless cars from A to B, we—led by Eric Gorgens and Diego Armando da Silva, and along with colleagues from Brazil, Swansea, Oxford and Cambridge—have discovered the tallest tree in the rainforest. At 88 meters tall (288 feet), it dwarfs the previous record holders by almost 30 meters (98 feet). And it’s not alone either. The Guiana Shield of north-eastern Amazonia, which accounts for nearly nine percent of the world’s remaining tropical forests, may contain lots of these gigantic trees. With each one able to hold as much carbon as an average hectare of rainforest, our discovery means that the vast jungle may be a greater carbon sink than previously thought. We didn’t just stumble upon these trees while strolling in the forest. Between 2016 and 2018, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research coordinated a project to laser scan large swaths of the Amazon. This project scanned 850 randomly distributed patches of forest, each 12km (7.4 miles) long and 300 meters (984 feet) wide. Seven of these patches contained evidence of trees taller than 80 meters (262 feet)…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, September 11, 2019: Cuyahoga County awards nearly $1 million to cities, civic groups in County Executive Budish’s tree canopy restoration plan

Cuyahoga County on Wednesday announced $950,000 in awards to cities and other organizations as part of County Executive Armond Budish’s five-year plan to help restore the county’s tree canopy. The awards range from $11,000 to $50,000 and are being provided to 26 cities, community development corporations and other civic groups to help them lay groundwork for future tree planting. Budish rolled out the plan during his 2019 State of the County speech as part of his Climate Change Action Plan. He cited a 2013 county assessment that found the tree canopy covers 110,000 acres — about 38 percent of county land. But 371,000 more acres are available for potential tree cover…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, September 11, 2019: When squirrels attack: How to prevent the little beasts from gnawing on your trees

The person who figures out how to eliminate squirrel damage deserves a fortune. There are no foolproof solutions, but there are some relatively effective solutions to some of the damaging habits of these pretty little beasts. Squirrels like to eat maturing fruits and nuts. Me too. Repellents don’t do well, so for some damage control, put netting over the plants. It’s often too much trouble and sometimes ineffective, but it’s about all we have. The squirrel’s precision gnawing to get the tasty black walnut meat is fascinating. The symmetry of the work is impressive. Bark eaten from trunks and limbs of Japanese maples, redbuds, fruit trees and other thin-barked trees is easier to control. It’s reported that squirrels chew on tree branches to sharpen and clean their teeth. That’s probably not true. They can sharpen their teeth by rubbing them together. The real reason for this damage is the attractiveness of the sugar accumulations in the tree. The solution is to uncover the root flares of the trees and apply the rest of the Sick Tree Treatment. Once healthy again, the trees won’t be so attractive to munch on…

Denver, Colorado, Post, September 11, 2019: A beetle that burrows into spruce trees has infected Denver city parks

Beetles that feast on spruce trees have invaded Denver’s parks and now crews are cutting down infected trees, starting Wednesday in Cheesman Park. On Wednesday morning, two crews cut down three trees, and they have plans to remove nine more by the end of the week, Cynthia Karvaski, a Denver Parks and Recreation Department spokeswoman, said. In all, parks officials have found 74 infected trees in city parks. The trees have been invaded by the Ips engraver beetle, a species that burrows beneath bark to feed on a tree’s nutrients and lay eggs. The beetle infestations occur in nine-or ten-year cycles and cause trees to die, creating the risk of branches falling and putting people and property in danger. The beetles are drawn to trees that are newly planted, sick or simply weak. “The trees have been stressed from drought,” Karvaski said. “Once they’re infested, there’s no treatment. And it spreads…”

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, The Gazette, September 10, 2019: Iowa’s beloved ‘Hula-Hoop Tree’ could be cut down

Fans of one of Eastern Iowa’s most whimsical tourist attractions are hoping against hoop it will be saved. The Hula-Hoop Tree, a scraggly, leafless tree decorated with hundreds of the plastic hoops, for years has brought onlookers to the small community of Amber, home to about 35 houses. People have memorialized birthdays and wedding anniversaries at the tree. A Facebook page with over 3,200 followers is devoted to it. But now there are concerns about dangers the Hula-Hoop Tree poses. Jones County supervisors are scheduled Tuesday morning to hear a report from their attorney about liability questions. It was about 2015 when the first hoops appeared in the tree. Now there are hundreds of them. There are a lot of stories about how hoops came to be in the tree, said Bobby Krum, president of the Amber Community Club. But he is partial to the story about a group of employees from Monticello that started throwing hoops in the tree on payday. “It’s helped put Amber back on the map,” Krum said. “It’s whimsical. A nice, feel-good family event. People can throw hoops, make a wish.” While Krum fully supports the tree and what it brings to the community, it was the Amber Community Club that brought its concerns over safety to the supervisors, he said…

Newport News, Virginia, Daily Press, September 10, 2019: Whatever happened to local elm trees after deadly fungal disease struck Virginia?

Elm-lined streets were once ubiquitous in America. The trees’ success throwing beautiful, shady canopies over urban environments made them one of the most popular to plant in the country. Then a nightmare hit the elm streets. Dutch elm disease, caused by a fungal pathogen spread through bark beetles, took the U.S. by storm starting in the 1930s. Millions of trees were taken out, and no effective cure has been found. But did elms survive in Hampton Roads? Local reader Merrily Dethier-Best wondered recently and submitted the question to The Virginian-Pilot’s Glad You Asked initiative. “Once they were so prominent and then they were gone,” she wrote in an email to The Pilot. “I know I am looking back a very long time ago, but they were a lovely shade tree.” American elms are still present in the landscape, said Katlin Mooneyham, forest health specialist with the Virginia Department of Forestry. But they’re always at risk. There are three native elm species in Virginia: American, winged and slippery. They’re all highly susceptible to Dutch elm disease, which is still present throughout the Eastern Seaboard…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, September 10, 2019: Dorian takes out 80% of trees in Cavendish area of P.E.I. National Park, Parks Canada says

About 80 per cent of the trees in the Cavendish area of P.E.I. National Park were lost after suffering damage from post-tropical storm Dorian, Parks Canada says. It also estimates about two metres of coastal erosion in the park after the storm. Parks Canada has yet to fully assess the damage caused by the storm, said spokesperson Annette Campbell. “Upon first assessment, it was determined that there is extensive damage to the coastal forest in the Cavendish part of the park, with approximately an 80 per cent loss of trees,” she said in a statement. The area most affected is the west side of the park in Cavendish. Damage to infrastructure is also being evaluated at this time…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, September 10, 2019: New trees and teen jobs combine in deal approved in Cedar Rapids

Under a new initiative, Cedar Rapids will forgo competitive bidding for annual tree planting in favor of forming a partnership with a Marion nonprofit — Trees Forever — to handle most plantings in public rights of way and foster a youth employment program. Initially, about 10 local teenagers ages 14 to 18 are expected to earn $10 an hour planting, caring for and watering trees through the program called Growing Futures. Similar programs operate in Des Moines, Indianapolis and Atlanta. “More trees will survive and I love the training program to this and everything about it,” Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said Tuesday before voting for it. The City Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday, approved the plan unanimously. The agreement pays Trees Forever $125,000 a year for five years, or $625,000 total, and calls for the planting of at least 2,150 trees in that time. Some additional tree plantings outside the scope of the contact — such as those tied to major road repairs — is also expected…

Phys.org, September 10, 2019: Ash tree species likely will survive emerald ash borer beetles, but just barely

“Lingering ash.” That’s what the U.S. Forest Service calls the relatively few green and white ash trees that survive the emerald ash borer onslaught. Those trees do not survive by accident, and that may save the species, according to Penn State researchers, who conducted a six-year study of ash decline and mortality. The research shows some ash trees have varying degrees of resistance to the strangely beautiful, invasive beetle from Asia. The study is unique because it took place at a plantation of ash trees planted on Penn State’s University Park campus in the mid-1970s. “We found that genetic variation exists in trees from around the country, and through time—especially as the emerald ash borer population collapses because host trees are rapidly disappearing—the resistance that we observed will likely ensure the survival of the species,” said Kim Steiner, professor of forest biology, College of Agricultural Sciences…

New York City, Daily News, September 9, 2019: Exclusive: City agrees to take responsibility for sidewalks damaged by tree roots

Big Apple officials are offering homeowners some re-leaf. The city will announce Tuesday that it will no longer issue violations for sidewalk damage caused by city-owned trees, the Daily News has learned. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Mayor de Blasio reached a deal to address the growing backlog of sidewalks damaged by street tree roots and agreed that going forward, the city, not homeowners, will be responsible for fixing them. Heastie said residents of his Bronx district have been up in arms over liens and violations issued for cracked and uneven walkways in front of their homes. “This has been a huge quality of life concern for my constituents who have invested their savings in purchasing a home, only to be hit with this liability through no fault of their own,” Heastie told The News. Going forward, liens will no longer be imposed on one, two or three family properties where sidewalk damage is caused solely by city trees. The city is also ramping up its efforts to take care of problematic pavement across the five boroughs…

Daily Signal, September 9, 2019: Michigan Brothers Push Back Against Town’s Retaliation in Christmas Tree Farm Fight

When your favorite tool is a hammer, every project looks like a nail, and apparently, a similar rule holds true for local government. When said government’s favorite tool to get its way is threatening residents with ruinous, unconstitutional fines, its response to every problem is to threaten them with even larger, more ruinous—and more unconstitutional—fines. It’s time that the court puts a stop to it. Two years ago, brothers Gary and Matt Percy removed scrub brush from their property in order to plant Christmas trees for a Christmas tree farm. The township of Canton, Michigan, decided to fine the brothers almost $500,000—more than the property is worth—for removing “trees” (defined as anything with a 2-inch wooded stem) without a permit. The brothers fought back by going to the local news media, and eventually, filing a civil rights lawsuit arguing that Canton’s tree ordinance is unconstitutional. Canton responded with increasingly aggressive acts of harassment against the Percy brothers. Shortly after the Percys went to the media, Canton began sending threatening emails chastising them for talking to reporters. Canton also called in several frivolous complaints against the Percys’ business, A.D. Transport Express, with state and county agencies—all of which were dismissed. When that failed, Canton began sending local code-enforcement officers to A.D. Transport (which had operated safely there for 25 years) to search for potential code violations. Such blatant retaliation for the exercise of civil rights violates the First Amendment, so the Percy brothers filed a separate federal civil rights lawsuit to stop the ongoing harassment in hopes that they could operate their business in peace while they litigate the tree-ordinance claims…

Nassau, Long Island, New York, News 12, September 9, 2019: Hearing held over cutting down historic trees in Amagansett

A hearing was held Monday discussing whether old, historic trees can be cut down on a piece of land where development is not allowed. The hearing involves the Peconic Land Trust, a well-known and well-respected land preservation organization, and an Amagansett man named Randy Lerner. Lerner bought a 6-acre parcel of undeveloped land. Two days later, he started clearing the property of trees. The Land Trust got a court order stopping the cutting of the trees, arguing that it violates terms of the sale. But the property owner argues that the land is what’s called an “agriculture preserve,” and that he’s got the right to clear trees to farm the property. Attorney Anthony Pasca says Lerner farms other properties in Amagansett and cleared the trees so he could farm this land. “If you are a farmer and you have an agricultural reserve, you don’t have to notify anybody,” said Pasca. “So there’s no permission required to go ahead and farm the land, there’s no permission needed from the town. They want you to farm the land…”

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, September 8, 2019: Clearwater announced it would cut down 155 trees. Most were sick, officials said. Residents are upset.

About an hour into the neighborhood gathering, Mayor George Cretekos had had enough. Cretekos strode to the front of the meeting area at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church while residents bickered loudly, and called for calm. The issue that had the crowd so riled up? Trees. More specifically, the city’s plans to remove about 155 trees from Crest Lake Park as part of a $6.4 million park redesign. The park is at its 60 percent plan stage; final design plans could be put before the city council as soon as this fall. Located at Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Lake Drive, untold numbers of vacationers headed to Clearwater Beach pass Crest Lake Park on their way. It’s near the gateway to downtown. But just a few years ago, citizens complained that the 38.5-acre park, which should be a display of the city’s natural beauty, had fallen into disrepair. In 2013, a few days after a 22-year-old man was stabbed to death near the park, one resident wrote a letter to the Tampa Bay Times calling Crest Lake a “refuge for the homeless and a hunting ground for the violent.” The park’s revitalization has become one of Cretekos’ signature initiatives. That was the context for the Aug. 28 Skycrest Neighborhood Association meeting, where residents asked officials a variety of pointed questions about the plans for the park: about its new bathroom, whether to add more benches and about the new sand volleyball court. Dozens attended the gathering, including the mayor, City Manager Bill Horne and at least three 2020 city council candidates. But in an era of rainforest infernos and bleak climate change assessments, the tree removals loomed largest at the meeting…

Denver, Colorado, Post, September 8, 2019: Boulder’s battle against emerald ash borer tree loss fueling local woodworking economy

Even as Boulder County foresters press on in their fight against the invasive emerald ash borer harming the local tree population, officials acknowledge it is a losing battle. But it is one lovers of ash trees don’t have to walk away from empty-handed, even as sickened trees are in line for removal or have already been sawed to stave off the infestation. Woodworkers like Evan Kinsley, who several years ago started the Boulder-based business Sustainable Arbor Works, have turned to ash trees to supply their furniture and art crafting practices as a way to maintain the local benefit provided by the species slated for a countywide death at the hands of the insect. Emerald ash borer has already dramatically altered the composition of forests across the middle and eastern regions of the country. “It’s a privilege to be able to work with a local hardwood like ash,” Kinsely said…

Washington, D.C., Post, September 8, 2019: This tool will show you exactly when fall foliage will peak across the country

The heat may still feel relentless in your town, but rest assured, fall is coming. Sweltering temperatures won’t stop you from dreaming in flannel. People posting “hot girl summer” photos can’t prevent the onslaught of pumpkin-spice-everything. Whether you’re ready for summer to be over or not, you must accept the passage of time, so might as well take a trip to see one of the planet’s most beautiful natural phenomena: the breakdown of chlorophyll. What’s essentially leaves starving has made way for the spinoff phenomenon known as leaf-peeping — a breed of tourism exclusively about finding fall foliage, admiring it and photographing it. Cue the 2019 Fall Foliage Prediction Map on SmokyMountains.com, a site promoting tourism in that region. The interactive tool is one of the most helpful resources to reference as you plan your autumnal adventures. “We believe this interactive tool will enable travelers to take more meaningful fall vacations, capture beautiful fall photos and enjoy the natural beauty of autumn,” data scientist and SmokyMountains.com chief technology officer Wes Melton said in a statement…

Wellington, New Zealand, Newsroom, September 9, 2019: The unpopular tree sucking carbon from our air

To measure how much carbon is in a tree, you first have to kill it. You slice up the trunk, branches, twigs, leaves and roots and dry the dismembered tree parts in an oven. Then you weigh them. “It takes a long time,” says Euan Mason, a professor at the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry. “I did some in 2012 with two students, and in six weeks I think we did 25 trees.” Sacrificing trees like this is expensive, but researchers need these measurements. Typically, about half a tree’s dry weight is carbon, which you can multiply by roughly 3.7 to work out how much carbon dioxide the tree has sucked from the atmosphere. Once enough trees of different ages and species have been dissected, the results are used to help build computer models estimating how much carbon is in a hectare of living forest, or an entire country’s worth of trees. Forest owners can use models like this to see how much money they can claim for carbon credits under the Emissions Trading Scheme. Similar estimates tell the Ministry for the Environment that New Zealand’s forests removed 24 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere in 2017, enough to offset 29 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Most of this CO2 was absorbed by Pinus Radiata, a species much-loved by commercial foresters for its astonishing rate of growth, but seemingly little-loved by anyone in the general population…

Ft. Bragg, California, Advocate-News, September 5, 2019: The Camp Fire left a million trees dead. Can Butte County remove them all?

The Camp Fire left a staggering million trees dead or dying — at least — and the logs have almost nowhere to go. Because Butte County has a dearth of local sawmills and biomass power plants, the high costs of transporting logs hours away is hampering the removal of burned trees. That raises the hazard for those returning to the burn scar: there are at least 400,000 trees at a high risk of falling in Paradise and Magalia, according to a survey by Sierra Timber Services. So local officials are now considering a slate of options to process the trees locally, from restarting a biomass power plant in Oroville to building a wood-powered heating and cooling system in Paradise. “As a Fire Safe Council, we know that there has always been a hindrance in that you have to take the product somewhere,” said Jim Broshears, the Butte County Fire Safe Council’s treasurer. “And not only will this mass from the Camp Fire have to be dealt with, urgently, but so will the ongoing mass we need to get out to get the forest in a healthy condition.” The shortage of local tree processing sites is part of a statewide trend. The number of sawmills in California has gone down from around 100 a couple decades ago to 25, said Rich Gordon, the president and CEO of the California Forestry Association. That’s because there are fewer timber sales…

Bloomberg News, September 5, 2019: Cocoa Trees Are Being Ravaged By a Disease With No Known Cure

It’s a nightmare scenario for a cocoa farmer: walking through your plantation you spot some red-veined leaves. Maybe it’s a big lump on one of the branches. You know immediately the tree is doomed, infected by the deadly swollen-shoot disease. Even worse, the plants around it are probably contaminated too, but you can’t be sure because the symptoms can take years to appear. Swollen shoot is unique to West Africa, where about three-quarters of the world’s cocoa is grown. The disease was identified nearly a century ago, yet scientists say a cure is years away and early detection methods are only just being introduced. This year, a devastating outbreak in the world’s No. 2 cocoa grower is renewing urgency to find a solution. Ghana has cut its crop forecast by 11% this season because of the disease, people familiar with the matter said previously. About 16% of the country’s cocoa crops are infected, according to George Ameyaw, a senior scientist at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana…

Dover, New Hampshire, Foster’s Daily Democrat, September 5, 2019: ‘It’s gigantic’: Tree clearing angers Dover neighbor

Local residents were upset about the clearing of trees and other greenery near the intersection of Fisher and Elm streets Thursday, but city officials say there’s nothing unlawful about the activity and the private property owner and contractor involved have all the necessary permissions. Sandra Cohen, who lives at 34 Fisher St., close to the site cleared, said she thought the work was “disgusting” and “ridiculous.” She and other residents of the neighborhood also expressed concern for wildlife that called the land home. “It’s gigantic, and those trees are never coming back,” Cohen said, describing the clearing. According to Assistant City Manager Chris Parker, less than an acre of land is being cleared in conjunction with an ongoing city project to reconstruct roads and sidewalks in the area of Belknap, Fisher, Elm, Summer and Hamilton streets. The project, tentatively slated for completion some time in 2020, is similar in scope and design to the 2015 reconstruction of Silver Street. However, Parker said, the city isn’t responsible for clearing the land off Fisher and Elm streets, nor did the city order it. Rather, Parker said, it’s the result of a private agreement between the land’s owner and the company performing the city’s project, Severino Trucking Co…

Montreal, Quebec, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, September 5, 2019: Quebec City to cut down 1,000 trees following surge of invasive beetle

Quebec City workers will be cutting down at least 1,000 trees in parks and along city streets because of an “unexpected” surge in the emerald ash borer population. Despite its efforts to control the spread of the green beetle, city officials said the insect has now been found in 32 of its 35 neighborhoods. Of those, around a dozen are now considered at an “epidemic” level, including Cap-Rouge, Montcalm, Saint-Jean-Baptiste and Vieux-Québec. Suzanne Verrault, the city’s executive committee member responsible for the environment, said the surge is pushing the city to “intensify its efforts” to not “lose control.” The ash borer, which has few natural predators in North America, lays its eggs under tree bark. The larvae then restrict sap circulation, killing mature trees. The city first discovered the presence of the Asian insect in 2017 and put in place an action plan for 2018-19 to limit its transmission, at a cost of about $1.5 million per year. But despite those efforts, the growing number of beetles in the area is forcing the city to cut down 1,000 trees by the end of 2019. Another 1,000 could be cut down in wooded areas by 2020…

Nassau, Long Island, New York, Newsday, September 4, 2019: Peconic Land Trust sues Amagansett property owner for $100M for cutting down dozens of trees

An Amagansett property owner caused at least $100 million in damages when he cut down about 100 trees last month on land that is protected for conservation, according to the Peconic Land Trust, which is suing him over the matter. The land trust holds an agricultural easement on the property and is asking the court for $1 million per tree felled. 341 Town Lane LLC, whose principal is Randy Lerner, an investor and a former owner of the Cleveland Browns, purchased the property on July 31, according to court filings. Days later Lerner hired a landscaping company to remove 75 to 125 mature white oak, American beech, holly and sassafras trees, some of which were 100 feet tall, the land trust claims. Peconic Land Trust said the clearing, reported by several residents including Alec Baldwin, violates the conservation easement placed on the property in 1995. The agreement prohibits the removal of trees, shrubs and vegetation, although there are exceptions, such as the removal of dead trees. “Defendant’s conduct was undertaken with such wanton recklessness and dishonesty as to imply a criminal indifference” to the obligations of the easement, reads an amended complaint electronically filed Aug. 28 in state Supreme Court. Lerner, who according to Forbes has a net worth of $1.1 billion, does not dispute that he had the trees cut down. But his interpretation of the easement states that he was within his rights to do so because he was clearing the land for farming. He said in court filings he was preparing the land to potentially farm fruit trees, crops like corn and potatoes, cover crops and “horticultural specialties…”

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, WBRZ-TV, September 4, 2019: Dead tree debate taking too long, could have saved homeowner money

A dead tree is a topic of debate between the city-parish and a property owner for more than two months. Kim Scarton’s records show that she called the city-parish’s 311 call center about a dead tree behind her fence line on June 26, 2019, and took down a work order. But it wasn’t until 2 On Your Side got involved did she receive an answer from the city-parish about who it thinks should take responsibility. “We requested removal, we got a work order number and they said they’d be in touch,” said Scarton. A couple of weeks went by. Scarton says her neighbor called the city-parish after a tree behind her house was damaged during Tropical Storm Barry. On July 15, 2019, she says a representative from the South Drainage Department came out to investigate and told her the trees were not on their properties, but in the city-parish servitude. On July 23, 2019, two city-parish arborists visited Scarton’s home. “We were told they’re on city property and they’ll be recommended for removal,” Scarton said. After following up a few times, Scarton said she didn’t hear anything. Then on August 24, 2019, a branch fell from the tree onto Scarton’s roof. Estimates to repair the damage exceed $3,500. “So we contacted the city the following Monday to let them know this is an urgent matter, we’ve been telling them the tree is a safety risk,” she said. “It’s damaging our home, it’s damaging our fence, no response…”

Science, September 4, 2019: Sturdy as they are, giant trees are particularly susceptible to these three killers

The biggest trees, standing tall through storms and harsh winters, may look invincible. But a series of recent studies analyzing the effects of lightning, drought, and invasive pests on forests indicates that for trees, size is not strength, and forest giants are disproportionately vulnerable. “There’s always been an underlying assumption that large trees are somewhat buffered from environmental stress,” says Andrew Barton, a forest ecologist at the University of Maine in Farmington. This new work “suggests that this might not be true.” And with all three stresses likely to grow, big trees could become a particularly weak point in beleaguered forests, says forest ecologist David Lindenmayer of Australian National University in Canberra, whose work has shown that the loss of large trees puts entire ecosystems at risk of collapsing. Large trees are also major storehouses of carbon—one estimate suggests they hold 50% of a forest’s carbon—and their deaths release it into the atmosphere, which could exacerbate climate change. It makes sense that lightning targets the biggest trees, but the extent of the toll has emerged only now, from a project on Barro Colorado Island, in the middle of the Panama Canal. In temperate regions, lightning blackens tree trunks or burns a tree down when it strikes, so it’s easy to see its effects. But in tropical forests like the Panama one, which has been studied for decades, lightning leaves no obvious marks, possibly because the trees carry more water, although a struck tree may still die weeks or months later. But Steve Yanoviak, an ecologist from the University of Louisville here, and colleagues recently outfitted the science station on the island with cameras and sensors, so they can triangulate lightning strikes and look for downed vegetation and other subtle signs a tree was struck. Yanoviak’s postdoc Evan Gora then keeps tabs on the struck tree and its neighbors to document any declines. To date, the project has pinpointed 70 lightning strikes, Gora reported last month at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America here. Each strike kills an average of five trees and damages 16 more as the bolt’s electricity hops from one tree to another…

Undark.org, September 4, 2019: Are We Overestimating How Much Trees Will Help Fight Climate Change?

Bob Marra navigated his way to the back of a dusty barn in Hamden, Connecticut, belonging to the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station. There, past piles of empty beehives, on a wall of metal shelves, were stacks of wooden disks — all that remains of 39 trees taken down in 2014 from Great Mountain Forest in the northwest corner of the state. accounted for.” These cross-sections of tree trunks, known as stem disks — or more informally as cookies — are telling a potentially worrisome tale about the ability of forests to be critical hedges against accelerating climate change. As anyone following the fires burning in the Amazon rainforest knows by now, trees play an important role in helping to offset global warming by storing carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide — a major contributor to rising temperatures — in their wood, leaves, and roots. The worldwide level of CO2 is currently averaging more than 400 parts per million — the highest amount by far in the last 800,000 years. But Marra, a forest pathologist at the Experiment Station with a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Cornell University, has documented from studying his fallen trees that internal decay has the capacity to significantly reduce the amount of carbon stored within. His research, published in Environmental Research Letters late last year and funded by the National Science Foundation, focused on a technique to see inside trees — a kind of scan known as tomography (the “T” in CAT scan.) This particular tomography was developed for use by arborists to detect decay in urban and suburban trees, mainly for safety purposes. Marra, however, may be the first to deploy it for measuring carbon content and loss associated with internal decay. Where there is decay there is less carbon, he explains, and where there is a cavity, there is no carbon at all…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 3, 2019: PG&E tells judge it’s improving tree trimming around power lines

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. told a federal judge Tuesday that flaws in its tree-trimming program described recently by a court-appointed monitor were consistent with the company’s own internal findings and it has already sought to rectify the problems. The bankrupt utility said in court papers required by U.S. District Judge William Alsup that it has instituted new training for vegetation-management contractors and now requires power line inspectors to take a “competency test.” PG&E has also sought to enhance its record-keeping by improving the way contractors use a software program to track their work, the company said. Alsup is overseeing PG&E’s probation arising from the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion and has taken a strong interest in the safety of the company’s electric system due to its role in the 2018 Camp Fire and 2017 Wine Country wildfires. The judge last month ordered PG&E to respond to a report from the monitor that identified shortfalls in the company’s enhanced tree-trimming program. PG&E contractors were “missing numerous trees,” causing the company to fall short of its goals and meaning that “the quality of the completed work is questionable,” the monitor’s report said…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KHON-TV, September 3, 2019: New law to ease Albizia anxiety

Albizia trees create beautiful canopies across Hawaii’s scenery — but the introduced species is responsible for millions and millions of dollars in damage. A new law will allow property owners to enter vacant lots to get rid of the trees. If you look at the vacant lot next door and worry that those towering albizia trees could come crashing down onto your property — this new law was written with you in mind. Hawaii island Senator Russell Ruderman, who represents Puna and Ka’u, says, “So if you live next door to a vacant property and there’s albizia just out of control, overhanging your driveway, your house, your garage, or, if you’re … the utility and want to do the same, you can go through this process now to legally enter the property for the purpose of controlling the albizia.” During and after tropical storm Iselle in 2014 — Ruderman said, “About 90 percent of the damage was from Albizia trees. So we became very aware, we always knew it was a potential hazard and then it became a very real hazard.” The law requires: A certified arborist to confirm the albizia threat; At least two attempts to contact the landowner; and notification of neighboring property owners…

Phys.org, September 4, 2019: Deer browsing is not stopping the densification of Eastern forests

Selective browsing by white-tailed deer has been blamed by many for changing the character and composition of forest understories in the eastern U.S.; however, its impact on the forest canopy was previously unknown. Now, a new study led by a Penn State researcher suggests that while deerbrowsing has impacted tree regeneration in the understory, it has not had much of an impact on forest canopies—and in fact likely has slowed the forest densification process slightly. “Forests in the region are becoming increasingly dense, and that is a major ecological problem,” said Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Indeed, deer can be thought of as an agent slowing down the densification problem, albeit not very effectively.” Abrams, who has spent most of his 40-year career studying how and why forests in the eastern U.S. have changed over the last few centuries, has assessed the role of increasing deer populations on reducing or eliminating tree regeneration in many forests…

Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT-TV, September 3, 2019: Hazardous dead tree raises concerns for student’s safety

A dead pine tree marked for removal by the city last year is still posing a hazard for joggers, bikers, and neighboring residents. A popular sidewalk route near Millard South needs constant cleanup, according to homeowner Emil Radik. “This branch was on the walking path this morning,” said Radik. Radik often cleans the path along Q Street for students walking to school. “If one of these branches up here comes down and some kid is walking by and it hits them, they’re going to get hurt then the city is going to be liable for it,” said Radik. According to Radik, the tree has been dead for two years and even though the city has trimmed it, the tree should be removed entirely. “Anybody that walks this way, somebody is going to get hurt with all these falling branches,” said Radik…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KMOV-TV, September 2, 2019: US cities are losing 36 million trees a year

If you’re looking for a reason to care about tree loss, the nation’s latest heat wave might be it. Trees can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a recent study. But tree cover in US cities is shrinking. A study published last year by the US Forest Service found that we lost 36 million trees annually from urban and rural communities over a five-year period. That’s a 1% drop from 2009 to 2014. If we continue on this path, “cities will become warmer, more polluted and generally more unhealthy for inhabitants,” said David Nowak, a senior US Forest Service scientist and co-author of the study. Nowak says there are many reasons our tree canopy is declining, including hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, insects and disease. But the one reason for tree loss that humans can control is sensible development. “We see the tree cover being swapped out for impervious cover, which means when we look at the photographs, what was there is now replaced with a parking lot or a building,” Nowak said. More than 80% of the US population lives in urban areas, and most Americans live in forested regions along the East and West coasts, Nowak says. “Every time we put a road down, we put a building and we cut a tree or add a tree, it not only affects that site, it affects the region…”

Orlando, Florida, WKMG-TV, September 2, 2019: Ocoee man falls to his death trimming tree before Hurricane Dorian

A 55-year-old man died Monday evening after falling from a tree he was attempting to trim ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s arrival, according to Ocoee authorities. Ocoee Battalion Fire Chief Edwin Youman said the crews responded to the home on Suzette Drive at 6:22 p.m. The man had climbed about 15 feet into the tree with a chain saw and as he was attempting to position himself to cut branches he fell, according to Youman. The victim was not using a ladder, Youman said. According to the 55-year-old’s family he was cutting a tree limb to make sure it didn’t fall on the home. Family members say he was a grandfather and a hard worker. The death marks the second in Central Florida Monday as people prepare for impacts of Category 4 Hurricane Dorian…

Huffington Post, September 2, 2019: Ireland Will Plant 440 Million Trees By 2040 To Combat Climate Change

Irish officials said this weekend that the country will plant around 22 million new trees across the country each year until 2040, hoping to one day have at least 440 million in the ground to help combat the worst effects of climate change. The ambitious targets were first reported by the Irish Times on Saturday, which notes that targets for new forestery were part of the government’s climate action plan released in June, but specific numbers of trees weren’t released. The sweeping proposal hopes to see Ireland transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through a series of measures, including a new carbon tax, increased investment in renewable energy and shift in agriculture and land use. “The climate action plan commits to delivering an expansion of forestry planting and soil management to ensure that carbon abatement from land-use is delivered over the period 2021 to 2030 and in the years beyond,” a spokesperson for Ireland’s Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, told the outlet. “The target for new forestation is approximately 22 million trees per year. Over the next 20 years, the target is to plant 440 million.” The Irish Times noted that the initiative has already faced some opposition from farmers, who will need to be convinced to set aside some of their land for the trees to meet the government’s targets. But the government has championed the climate plan as an imperative step to safeguard the country’s economy against the worst impacts of global warming…

Springfield, Illinois, State-Register, September 2, 2019: Long-dormant tree commission back from the dead

If a tree falls in Springfield, does it make a difference in people’s lives? For Springfield residents like Susan Allen and Mary Frances, the answer is an emphatic “yes.” At city council meetings and in letters to the editor over the past year, two have made the case for the importance of maintaining mature trees, from their environmental benefits to how they aid in storm water retention and help homeowners conserve energy. “I mentioned in my city council presentation that (my husband and I) had a mature tree in our backyard, an ash tree,” Allen said. “And it died and we took it down and put in a new tree. But when we had the storms in spring, then we got water in our basement. It’s just mature trees act kind of like a sponge in collecting all of that water. So if trees are taken down around the city, it’s important to re-plant, but it takes a tree awhile to grow.” As trees — whether due to storm damage, disease or decisions made by property owners — come down across the city, the pair have been among the most vocal proponents of the city reviving its long-dormant tree commission. And after several months of intense lobbying, their efforts have paid off. In mid-August the Springfield City Council approved the appointments of seven people to serve on the rechristened Urban Forestry Commission, which will meet for the first time in a few weeks. The commission will also include three non-voting members: Public Works director Nate Bottom or his representative, CWLP chief utility engineer Doug Brown or his representative; and city arborist Jeff Reim…

Anchorage, Alaska, Anchorage Daily News, August 30, 2019: Our spruce trees are dying. We need to talk about what happens next

I am getting crushed by emails asking what to plant once beetle-killed spruce trees are removed. Impacted readers are devastated, many emotionally (and well they should be), by the loss of so many large trees. I get it. We have had one heck of an unusual summer. Unusual? That is summary-talk for birch leaves withering, massive lilac leaf roller attacks, aphid invasions and leaf miners where there are no aphids. Then there are the record leaping (and breaking) temperatures. Oh yeah, add an unimaginable lack of rain in August instead of the normal annual deluge. Note too, we did not receive much in July. And there are reddening spruce needles throughout the area, the likes of which we never thought we would see. It is one thing to see acres of dead spruce along the highway, but in the middle of town? You all know know what has to happen. First, get moisture into the ground around plants, especially trees and shrubs. Keep the mower high and consider skipping mowing altogether. You have an excuse…

Vancouver, Washington, The Columbian, August 29, 2019: German tourist killed by falling tree on Pacific Crest Trail

A German tourist was killed Tuesday on the Pacific Crest Trail northwest of Trout Lake after a tree fell and struck him, according to the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office. A search and rescue team moved Finn Bastian, 28, of Preetz, Germany, to a trailhead and performed CPR, but their revival efforts were unsuccessful, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. Skamania deputies received a patchy cellphone call at 4 p.m. about an injured hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail. The caller estimated they and two other hikers were about 1½ miles north of Forest Road 23, which accesses the east side of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Deputies subsequently received a second call about an emergency transmitter activation originating from the same hikers. Search and rescue crews were dispatched along with a helicopter capable of hoisting people. One of those crews reached Bastian and identified him by his passport…

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, The Scotsman, August 29, 2019: Warning over revival of “wishing tree” tradition in Scotland

National Trust for Scotland said it had found growing numbers of coins embedded into trees at its properties. A spokesman said: “More people have been hammering coins into trees and stumps at Dollar Glen and The Hermitage due to a growing ‘fashion’ to make votive offerings for wishes. “We wish you wouldn’t do it, especially to live trees as it harmful.” NTS urged people to donate their coins to the conservation charity instead. The tradition of the ‘wishing tree’ has been observed in Scotland for hundreds of years with a sacred tree usually found close to a holy well. One of the most celebrated trees could be found on Isle Maree on Loch Maree, where pilgrims travelled to attach their offerings. In the late 19th Century, the tree was covered in hundreds of nails and ‘countless pennies and half pennies’. One account of the tree said: “The effect is that the tree for about eight or nine feet up from the ground is covered with metallic scales. “The scaly covering forms armour something like what is depicted on a dragon. “Visitors go there to see the tree and hammer in coins and probably wish a silent wish before leaving.” The tree, which was also visited by Queen Victoria, later died due to the damage to the bark. It is understood that the tree suffers copper poisoning after coins are pushed through its surface…

Orlando, Florida, WOFL-TV, August 29, 2019: Orlando: Don’t trim your trees before Dorian

The City of Orlando concerned about debris that can become very problematic during a hurricane. Waste crews urging people not to trim trees because they won’t be picking up the branches before the storm. “We are advising doing any last minute maintenance for this storm,” said Joseph England, Sustainability Project Manager, City of Orlando. “Yard waste that is not collected and at the curb becomes a potential hazard for blocking storm drains,” said England. That contributes to dangerous flooding, he added. “We want you to make sure that you bring all your yard waste back, bring it close to your house, as long as it’s near or close to your house bagged or bundled, you’re not going to have any issue when it comes to wind or anything that relates to the storm,” said England…

Tacoma, Washington, News Tribune, August 28, 2019: People are illegally cutting trees in Tacoma. City taking action with cameras, signs

Think twice before cutting that tree near your yard — it could be illegal. Tacoma city workers have started monitoring what they see as a problem: timber trespass. It’s the illegal cutting, pruning or removing of vegetation from a property you don’t own, according to Washington state law. It usually occurs when public property is located next to private property. “Trees and vegetation are often cut for private views or to make more yard space (i.e. lawn, extra parking, storage),” Désirée Radice, environmental specialist with the city’s Open Space program, said in an email. “Occasionally trees are cut for private use – burning or woodworking — but this occasion appears to be less prevalent.” Take, for example, the community around Mason Gulch in Tacoma’s North End, where many have views of Commencement Bay. The city estimated it has spent $500 to post signs and cameras around the site, warning of trespassing and illegal cutting. This summer, the city sent out mailers to 49 households surrounding Mason Gulch as a preemptive measure, asking residents to help stop the illegal activity. It’s the second time the city’s mailed notices in the area. “City property in this area has been the target of illegal cutting in the past,” Radice said…

Phys.org, August 28, 2019: Researchers calculating the scientific value of trees in one lush neighborhood

Perhaps more than anywhere else in Miami, the streets of Coconut Grove are dappled with sunlight and shadow. Look overhead and you’ll see why. Here, the tree tunnels that stretch over highways and streets are the fabric of the community. They’re like the cafecito windows of Little Havana. Or the beaches that line the coast. These green sentinels have seen Miami grow from backwater village to major metropolis. Sometimes they’ve been spared from the bulldozer and the winds from a hurricane. Sometimes they haven’t. The fate of Coconut Grove’s lush canopy seems to be constantly hanging in the balance. Biologist Christopher Baraloto is leading the Miami Urban ReLeaf Coalition, a network of local partners mapping and monitoring trees in Miami’s verdant enclaves. The initiative recently launched in Coconut Grove, where the International Center for Tropical Botany is based at the Kampong, a collaboration between FIU and the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG). The Kampong is the historic home of famed botanical explorer David Fairchild and now an urban oasis with more than 1,000 species of fruit trees, palms, plants and teaching collections for botanical study…

Casper, Wyoming, Star Tribune, August 28, 2019: Casper City Council considers new ordinance after tree accident kills man

The Casper City Council is considering adopting tighter regulations on arborists after a man died recently in a tree-felling accident. City Attorney John Henley could not say when the incident occurred but said the city had been working on the new ordinance for several weeks. Henley said at Tuesday’s work session that local arborists were consulted in writing the new ordinance. Of those consulted, most asked for strengthened regulations on their profession, he said. In a memo to the council, Henley wrote, “The vast majority of the tree companies asked for increased training requirements, certification by the International Society of Arboriculture and (to) maintain significantly higher liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation insurance.” Those arborists who were consulted also asked that a certified arborist be present during “aerial operations” (like trimming high tree branches). The ordinance would not restrict private property owners from taking down trees on their own property. The council was positive toward the ordinance but stressed personal responsibility in ensuring companies have adequate qualifications. “People and our public still need to ask the right questions,” Councilman Stephen Cathey said…

San Francisco, California, KQED Radio, August 28, 2019: Why Are There So Many Palm Trees in the Bay Area?

After Joseph Morales, an electrician from Chicago, moved to Emeryville this past winter, he found himself wondering: What’s with all the palm trees in the Bay Area? Like Joseph, they didn’t originate here. But they’re all over the place. Not that Joseph minds. “They remind me of vacation,” he says, “having a good time with a cold drink and sitting under a palm tree.” Then again: “Northern California doesn’t really seem to be the ideal location for palm trees. I’m expecting hot weather and sun and beaches. And there’s just palm trees and mountains and cold water. So it just seemed weird.” You can spot dozens of species of palms around here, but only one in the state is native. Washingtonia filifera, the California palm or desert fan palm, prefers the arid region hundreds of miles farther south — closer to Palm Springs — over the mist of the Bay Area. Many of the other species you see in California have names hinting at distant origins: the Canary Island date palm. The Chinese windmill palm. The Mexican fan palm. How’d they get here? Foreign palms were originally brought to California’s Spanish missions in the 1700s for religious services the Sunday before Easter, says Joe McBride, a professor emeritus of landscape architecture and environmental planning at UC Berkeley…

Radio Canada, August 27, 2019: New study shows trees attacked by insects warn their relatives

Unlike the tree-like Ents in the Harry Potter film that have a language, trees don’t actually talk of course, but new research shows they do have a way of communicating with each other. It is the first study to show above ground tree-to-tree communication. The communication is by airborne chemicals released by pine trees when they are attacked by pine beetles which are often a deadly threat to the trees… The study out of the University of Alberta showed lodgepole pine trees attacked by the mountain pine beetles emit volatile chemicals that warn other trees of the danger. The study was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment… The nearby trees, alerted by the chemical signal from the attacked tree, then begin producing defensive resin sap which can kill the beetles if they attempt to burrow into their tree…

Chicago, WBBM-TV, August 27, 2019: Woman Left Holding The Bag After Neighbor’s Dead Tree Damages Her Roof; Neighbor And His Insurance Company Wouldn’t Pay

A viewer reached out to the Morning Insiders asking for help after part of a neighbor’s tree fell on her house, and neither he nor his insurance company would help pay for the damage. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory dug in and discovered a little-known fact about homeowner’s insurance. “Unfortunately for me, this tree’s not on my property, or the moment I moved in, I would have had it removed,” Samantha Lambros said. The tree has been dead since Lambros moved into her home in south suburban Bradley. In June, as storms and strong winds rolled through, a large hunk of the tree landed on top of her home, puncturing the roof in three spots. Damage estimates ranged from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. She asked her tree-owning neighbor to do the right thing and pay for the damage, but he refused. Her State Farm agent gave her bad news as well. “Unfortunately, unless I got their information, I couldn’t make a claim against them,” she said. Even after getting her neighbor’s insurance information, Lambros hit another dead end in the form of a letter. “Our insured has elected not to have this claim investigated. Therefore we are closing our claim file,” the letter informed her. Despite warning her neighbor about the dead tree before the storm and even offering to help pay to have it removed, Lambros can’t file a claim against her neighbor’s policy. The only person who can file a claim involving a piece of property – trees and all – is the property owner. Janet Patrick, with the Illinois Insurance Hotline, said if a neighbor refuses to file a claim in a case like this, a homeowner can file a lawsuit or seek help from their own insurance company…

Halifax, Nova Scotia, CTV News, August 27, 2019: Canadians asked to find ash trees in a bid to preserve the species

An invasive insect from Asia is expected to kill almost every ash tree in Canada, but Donnie McPhee has a plan to preserve the species. Co-ordinator for the National Tree Seed Centre in Fredericton, McPhee is asking Canadians to help him find mature stands where seeds can be gathered and later stored for future generations in the centre’s deep-freeze vaults. “We’re looking to protect the genetic diversity of the species,” McPhee said in an interview. “We’re looking for natural stands of trees that are in seed …. We want Canadians to be our eyes — to let us know they’re out there.” And the time is right to start the search because the white ash and black ash — two of the most common species — are expected to produce a bumper crop of seeds this fall. The centre’s website provides details on what to look for, but seed collecting should be left to experts. “We’ve already had people showing up with big bags of ash seed … but it’s too early in the season,” McPhee said. Larvae of the emerald ash borer, a small beetle with an iridescent green hue, have already killed millions of trees in Canada and the United States, and the pest’s population is still growing…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, August 27, 2019: Trees can get sunburned and overheated, too. Here’s how to protect them

As the hot summer sun beats down on the south and west sides of exposed tree trunks, there can be some damage. Bark can overheat, sunburn and crack. Unfortunately, there is some bad advice out there about what to do to prevent this damage. Wrapping the trunks of new red oaks, maples, Chinese pistachios and other thin bark trees with paper tree wrap is not the proper answer. It is mistakenly said that covering trunks with wrap will prevent insects (including borers), diseases and sunburn. The truth is, the wrapping will actually provide a better environment for the diseases to get started and for the insect pests to set up shop. It also causes an artificial condition similar to your skin when a bandage is left on too long, and more damage can be done when the wrapping is removed and the bark is re-exposed to sunlight. One simple thing that would help solve sunburn issues is for growers to put a red dot on the north side of the tree so the garden center and homeowner or developer could keep the same sunlight orientation when the tree is planted…

Los Angeles, California, KABC-TV, August 26, 2019: Sherman Oaks residents angry over removal of decades-old trees

Some residents of a Sherman Oaks neighborhood are mad that trees that for decades have provided shade to homes on Sunnyslope Avenue were cut down over the weekend. In all, 11 were chopped down on the west side of the street. Bob Holmes has lived in this neighborhood for more than 35 years. He’s one of the residents who protested, asking the city not to cut down the trees. The one in front of his house was spared because he’s maintained it over the years. He says “to see them all go in such a large number and to feel the heat right now. It’s just heartbreaking.” City crews were back Monday removing stumps and debris left from this weekend’s tree removal. Residents say the live trees were cut down for fire prevention and so the city can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act because the 11 removed trees had damaged the sidewalks. Jacky Surber, with the group Angelenos 4 Trees, says “they can repair the sidewalk and save the trees. Santa Monica only took out three trees last year. In the whole year we have it charted where they (Los Angeles) took out over 1,000 trees…”

Detroit, Michigan, WWJ-TV, August 26, 2019: US Cities Are Losing 36 Million Trees A Year. Here’s Why It Matters And How You Can Stop It

If you’re looking for a reason to care about tree loss, the nation’s latest heat wave might be it. Trees can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a recent study. But tree cover in US cities is shrinking. A study published last year by the US Forest Service found that we lost 36 million trees annually from urban and rural communities over a five-year period. That’s a 1% drop from 2009 to 2014. If we continue on this path, “cities will become warmer, more polluted and generally more unhealthy for inhabitants,” said David Nowak, a senior US Forest Service scientist and co-author of the study. Nowak says there are many reasons our tree canopy is declining, including hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, insects and disease. But the one reason for tree loss that humans can control is sensible development. “We see the tree cover being swapped out for impervious cover, which means when we look at the photographs, what was there is now replaced with a parking lot or a building,” Nowak said. More than 80% of the US population lives in urban areas, and most Americans live in forested regions along the East and West coasts, Nowak says…

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Yahoo Canada, August 26, 2019: Residents battling roots of invasive trees seek help from city hall

Residents of a Vancouver Island neighbourhood battling to contain the destructive roots of invasive ornamental trees are demanding the town act to remove the species and are questioning why it was allowed to be planted in the first place. The roots from black locust trees have been ripping up driveways, choking pipes and sprouting unsafe roots in yards, according to Ladysmith, B.C., resident Chris Fritsch. “I have no idea why [the developer] chose that tree. It’s not found anywhere else in town,” said Fritsch, who lives at the corner of Halliday Place and Fourmeaux Crescent. The trees were planted when the area was developed for housing 15 years ago. The non-profit Tree Canada deems the black locust a “tree killer,” with roots that can grow extremely quickly even in poor soil, as they contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria. They introduce more nitrogen to the soil, inviting other non-native plants to invade the area. The tree reproduces through suckers in its roots, producing a dense concentration of new trees that can overshadow and kill other young plants, Tree Canada says…

West Chester, Pennsylvania, Daily News, August 26, 2019: West Chester Borough Council enacts tree ordinance

After more than 16 years of discussion, Borough Council voted unanimously to enact a tree ordinance, at a recent conditional use hearing. “We’re just trying to do our part in West Chester to reforest our urban environment,” Jeff Beitel, chair of the borough’s tree commission said Monday. “Trees are the lungs of the world. “The more trees, the better the air quality.” The ordinance states that residents are not able to eliminate tree wells in the public right of way. If a street tree, or tree in the right of way is condemned the homeowner will pay half of the cost for removal. Previously the resident was responsible for the whole cost. Heritage tree owners who request it, will receive a rebate on their storm water protection fee, on a sliding scale for up to a $250 annual refund. A heritage tree must have a minimum diameter of 24 inches at four and a half feet above the ground and not on the list of excluded trees. The borough’s arborist will need to okay the type of pesticide used and a professional will need to apply it in areas within the tree drip line or tree protection zone. The borough hopes to add 1,000 trees to the canopy. “With the canopy declining it’s a way for us to keep trees as a part of the infrastructure,” longtime tree commission member Karen Slossburg said. “Trees are beautiful, they save us a lot of energy and they keep us happy…”

Newton, New Jersey, Herald, August 25, 2019: Parasitic wasps released in Water Gap park to stop invasive beetles from killing trees

Three species of a small wasp that can attack the eggs of the emerald ash borer were released by National Park Service biologists within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area this past weekend. The borer, an invasive beetle from Asia, is capable of killing a full-grown ash tree within a couple of years and has been found in several locations in Sussex County in the past two years. The release was in the Mosier’s Knob area, just below the Walpack Bend of the Delaware River and across the river from Worthington State Forest where the New Jersey Department of Agriculture recently released its own biological agents to stem the invasion of the pest. Kara Deutsch, chief of resource management for the park, said the emerald ash borer has been found on both sides of the river. The choice of Mosier’s Knob for the release came at the recommendation of regional NPS experts. The wasps, known in scientific circles as “parasitoids,” were supplied by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and came from the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) EAB Parasitoid Rearing Facility in Brighton, Mich…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal-Constitution, August 25, 2019: Sandy Springs OKs Trees Atlanta deal for 1,000 new trees

A continuation of the “NeighborWoods” project with Trees Atlanta will mean as many as 1,000 new trees for Sandy Springs over the next five years, the city announced. Trees Atlanta planted 74 trees in Sandy Springs during the first, pilot year of the Front Yard Tree program, officials said. The City Council has approved continuing the initiative for five years, with up to 200 trees planted a year. The city will allocate to the program up to $50,000 each year from its fee-supported Tree Fund. Trees will be planted in city rights of way, parks and on private parcels. Residents can request up to three front yard shade trees, planted within 35 feet of the right of way. “Each tree is estimated to cost $250 for a 15-gallon tree, inclusive of one-on-one consultation with a Trees Atlanta staff member, planting, mulching, pruning and pest/fertilizer treatment, as necessary,” the city said…

Washington, D.C., Post, August 25, 2019: To save endangered species, environmentalists need to listen to their fiercest critics

This month, the Trump administration announced changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that would now require the government to consider economic effects before listing a species as threatened or endangered. This move sparked stories about all the species pulled from the brink of extinction by the ESA. The law was a massive success, journalists and environmentalists claimed, and these new changes threaten to undo many of the gains in species protection made over the last four decades. But missing from most of the coverage of the rule changes were the voices of people who had often paid a steep price for those success stories: loggers put out of work by the Spotted Owl’s ESA listing in 1990 or ranchers whose herds had been attacked by grey wolves. These men and women who work in resource extraction industries actually care deeply for the land and have a long and proud tradition of fighting to protect nature. Yet they are siding with the Trump Administration over the ESA rule changes. And that’s the result of decades of environmentalists ignoring the economic consequences of the ESA on these populations. Rather than fighting these loggers and miners, environmentalists who care about saving the ESA would be wise to listen to their criticism. As history shows, the environmental movement has been far more effective when it has included rural people and worked to balance their economic concerns with protecting nature…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV, August 25, 2019: Ash-tree killing pest is spreading in Grand Isle County

The state says an ash tree-killing pest found in some areas of the Vermont is spreading in Grand Isle County. Vermont’s agriculture agency and the state’s Department of Forest Parks and Recreation say emerald ash borers were found in two traps in Alburg in early August. That’s the second town in the county where the pest has been confirmed. The emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees in North America. The pest, which is native to Asia, was first found in Michigan in 2002. It was discovered in Vermont in February of 2018 and has been confirmed in five counties since then.The state is reminding Vermonters to be sure that a purchase or transportation of log length of split firewood will not spread the invasive beetle…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Voice, August 22, 2019: Off-road vehicles destroy 400 trees planted by teens in Burlington County

A group of teenagers planted 400 trees in Burlington County in an effort to preserve the Pine Barrens wetlands, but just days after the group effort, the trees were destroyed by off-road vehicles and replaced with trash. Ten teens from the YMCA Pines Groundbreakers Service Group had spent hours planting the 400 Atlantic white cedars in the Bucks Cove Run Preserve in Pemberton Township on Aug. 8 The YMCA, in partnership with the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, were attempting to revive the a portion of the Pinelands and protect the habitat for the endangered species that call the area home, including the Pine Barrens tree frogs. The area been destroyed previously by off-road vehicles, such as ATVs, Burlington County Times reports. Pinelands Preservation Alliance posted to Instagram, “We planted 400 Atlantic White Cedars today with @ymcaofthepines in a wetland area that was severely degraded by off-road vehicles.” Not long after area was restored, James Howell of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance found 4×4 tire tracts, burning trash, and all 400 trees destroyed that following Monday. He had returned to the area in order to install barriers…

Seattle, Washington, Times, August 22, 2019: What to consider before you top that tree

Tree topping is the practice of removing an entire top portion of a tree, including parts of the trunk, leader branches, as well as small branches. It is a practice going back a hundred years or more, started in the Pacific Northwest and mostly used by loggers. Loggers topped trees to create high rigging points so large firs and cedars could be removed more easily. It was once considered a way to make the trees safe in high winds, but has since been abandoned by most arborists or tree service companies, especially as the science and understanding around tree physiology has grown. “Any legitimate tree service will not top a tree that hasn’t already been topped,” says Jory Cuttitte of Eastside Tree Works. “It’s just an outdated practice.” Cuttitte says it can be necessary to top a tree if the tree already has been topped, as that shaping has to be continuously maintained. Once you top a tree, you will always have to top the tree. Because tree topping removes the top of a tree, it sprouts new “leaders” and branches, and essentially grows another “top.” “If you don’t retop it regularly at that point, all of those branches up top that are making those new tops, it creates what we would call a cavity. All the water starts to collect in between all those new branches where that cut was made. And the tree will start to decay downward from there,” Cuttitte says. “It’s just a matter of time before that tree is going to completely die…”

CNN, August 22, 2019: What do Bob Ross and Michigan have in common? Happy little trees

If taking time to enjoy nature in Michigan’s state parks wasn’t relaxing enough, you can now add a little Bob Ross to your experience. For its 100th birthday, the parks system is partnering with Bob Ross Inc. to help the “happy little trees.” Michigan’s “prison grow” program will be renamed in honor of the famous American painter and his tagline, according to a statement. Through the program, prisoners learn horticulture skills by growing trees from seeds collected by volunteers. The trees are transplanted into state parks and other areas in need of reforestation. Beloved artist Ross made his television debut in 1982 on his show “The Joy of Painting,” which reached over 400 episodes before he retired. Even though Ross died in 1995, his show and its impact on communities have lived on through memes, parodies and art classes. Michelle Coss, volunteer and donor coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Division, said the idea came from the recent revival of Ross’ popularity; her own daughter had been watching the show online. Coss said the agency called Bob Ross Inc. to get permission to use his tagline, and the company gave a resounding yes…

Phys.org, August 21, 2019: Fungus fuels tree growth

The fungus Mortierella elongata enjoys a dual lifestyle; it can thrive in the soil as a saprophyte, living off decaying organic matter, or as an endophyte, living between a plant’s root cells. The fungus is almost always found among and within poplar trees, and in an effort to understand its influence on the plant, a team of scientists studied what happens to the tree’s physical traits and gene expression when the fungus is present. Black cottonwood, or poplar, (Populus trichocarpa) is the fastest growing hardwood tree in the western United States, making it an energy feedstock of particular interest to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). By better understanding how poplar responds to its intimate associations with endophytes—a group whose effects on plants are still not well understood—scientists can better fine-tune their engineering efforts of both plants and root microbiomes to grow energy crops more efficiently. To interrogate the close partnership of endophyte M. elongate and poplar, a team led by Hui-Ling (Sunny) Liao of the University of Florida collected forest samples of poplar and soil from Washington and Oregon. The cuttings included genotypes from the DOE BioEnergy Science Center (BESC), predecessor of DOE’s Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. To see how the fungus affected poplar growth, the team compared poplar cuttings grown with and without an inoculation of the M. elongata strain PM193 added to a diluted soil mixture, publishing the results in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. The results were striking. Adding PM193 caused poplar cuttings to grow about 30 percent larger by dry weight than without PM193. By contrast, using a different endophytic fungus, Ilyonectria europaea, had no effect on growth. Liao’s team partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, through its Community Science Program in order to get M. elongata and I. europaea genomes sequenced and annotated for this study…

Richmond, Virginia, WTVR-TV, August 21, 2019: Tree that crushed 2 cars in Richmond was ‘already dead,’ slated to come down

The maple that smashed two vehicles in Richmond’s Westover Hills neighborhood was on the city’s list of trees to be removed. Strong storms toppled the maple, which crashed onto a truck and an SUV near the intersection of Peterborough and New Kent Roads just before 8 p.m. Tuesday. “The rain and wind came up very suddenly. I heard the snap and then the car alarm went off,” the SUV’s owner told CBS 6. “A little bit of sadness over the car. I loved the car, but it’s replaceable. That’s why we have insurance.” He said his neighbor relied on his truck for a cabinet making business. Homeowners stated they notified the city about the tree after fears it may fall on cars or homes in a strong storm. “A big chunk of it was already dead and hanging over the street,” they stated…

San Jose, California Mercury-News, August 21, 2019: California man found dead in palm tree was electrocuted by power line

A man was electrocuted while trimming a tree in Huntington Beach over the weekend. The incident happened in the backyard of a private residence, Orange County Coroners’ officials said in a news release. Firefighters went to the 8000 block of Seaport Drive, and found a man unresponsive in a palm tree, Huntington Beach Fire Battalion Chief Eric McCoy said. The man made contact with a high voltage power line and was later pronounced deceased by paramedics, McCoy said. Coroner’s officials identified him as Donato Lopez Gonsalez, 39, of Costa Mesa. He worked as a tree trimmer, McCoy said…

Los Angeles, California, Times, August 21, 2019: California fire mystery: No major summer brush fires after years of record destruction

Gawking tourists hung halfway out their car windows, cameras aimed at firefighters and flames along the shoulder of Generals Highway. Typically by this point in the summer, fire officials are dealing with multiple blazes across California , including ones that brush up against this area of Sequoia park. But so far things have been remarkably calm — giving firefighters time to prepare with prescribed burns and offering a respite, however brief. After two years of devastating wildfires that burned more than 1.8-million acres in 2018 and 1.2-million acres in 2017, as of Sunday only 51,079 acres have burned this year across state and federal lands in California. Late spring rains, cooler summer temperatures and fewer extreme wind events, among other factors, have combined to help keep the state from burning uncontrollably, experts say…

Greeley, Colorado, Tribune, August 21, 2019: Tree-destroying beetle confirmed in 1st Colorado county outside federal quarantine

A tree-killing beetle has been confirmed in a Colorado city despite preventative efforts. The Denver Post reports that the Colorado State Forest Service announced the first confirmed case of the emerald ash borer in Broomfield County outside of a federal quarantine area. Experts say the insect was first discovered in September 2013 when the quarantine area was created in Boulder County. Experts say the beetle has been confirmed in Gunbarrel, Longmont, Lafayette, Lyons and Superior since the insect was first found in the state. Experts say it’s unknown whether the insect arrived naturally or through human transportation…

St. Augustine, Florida, Record, August 19, 2019: Lethal bronzing: Deadly palm tree disease on the rise in St. Johns County

A bacterial disease is killing palm trees across the state, and arborists in St. Johns County say it’s become a problem locally. Lethal bronzing was originally discovered in Texas and made its way to Tampa in 2006. Now, it’s wiping out palms from the Keys to Jacksonville. Danny Lippi, master arborist and consultant of Advanced Tree Care in St. Augustine, said he’s diagnosed about a dozen cases over the last couple years. “We’ve been doing this for 20-plus years, and this is by far the most dangerous and aggressive palm disease we’ve ever seen,” Lippi said. “This is a scary one. This has the potential to wipe out thousands of palms.” The disease is caused by a bacteria-like organism called phytoplasma, which is thought to be spread from tree to tree by piercing-sucking bugs. The insects inject the bacteria into the palm when feeding on sap, and the bacteria spreads to the base of the tree, clogging its circulatory system. Unable to get the nutrients it needs, the tree dies within a few weeks or months. Cases are popping up in more than 30 Florida counties, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. While the disease has been spreading for more than a decade, it was only recently discovered in St. Johns County in 2018…

New London, Connecticut, The Day, August 19, 2019: New London group wants more tree-lined streets

The newly formed group known as New London Trees has a vision of the New London of yesteryear, when the streets were lined with elms and canopies of shade trees. The elms are long gone, but New London Trees, through an urban forestry project, is attempting to restore the city’s tree population through community plantings, education and advocacy. “Everybody started getting really concerned about what is happening to our tree-lined streets,” said group member Caroline Driscoll. “We want our trees back.” The fledgling group’s first effort is overseeing the replanting of nine trees along the center median on Governor Winthrop Boulevard. The current mix of aging dogwoods, cherries and crabapples are slated for removal because they have become “public hazards,” said New London Tree Warden David Denoia, the parks and grounds manager for the city’s Department of Public Works…The trees will be replaced with shade trees that will grow much taller and eventually provide shade…

USA Today, August 19, 2019: Here’s how the National Park Service is saving D.C.’s trees from Dutch elm disease

The National Park Service is using IV-like needles to save the beloved trees lining the National Mall and surrounding parks in Washington, D.C., that are infected by Dutch elm disease. The fungal disease has spread this year to around 200 classic American elm trees on the Mall, the grassy expanse that is home to the iconic monuments of the nation’s capital. Dutch elm disease does not cause any harm to people, so visitors need not worry. Dutch elm disease is a fungoid killer that is spread by the way of bark beetles. An infected tree has immediate symptoms that include wilting suddenly and leaf colors changing from green to yellow to brown. “The fungus grows and clogs the branches that bring water into the tree until eventually, the tree dies,” said Nina Bassuk, professor at the Urban Horticulture Institute in Cornell University. The park service uses hospital-level precision when taking care of its leafy patients. Using IVs that are sanitized between trees, park service workers make a minimally invasive scission in order to treat the tree, according to Jason Gillis, park arborist for National Mall and Memorial Parks…

Venice, Florida, Herald Tribune, August 19, 2019: Venice Planning Commission will review final draft of new tree protection ordinance

The final draft of Venice’s tree protection ordinance, which would govern permits to remove plants and trim trees, will be reviewed by the Venice Planning Commission at a public hearing Tuesday. The city is facing an Oct. 1 deadline on the expiration of an interlocal agreement with Sarasota County, which currently handles tree permits in the city. A draft of the ordinance, which made its debut at a workshop, included the possibility of extra property tax relief for property owners who have Heritage and Venetian trees on their land. That has changed in the final draft, which now includes language that would award up to $250 per year to property owners to cover the cost of trimming a “Venetian Tree” on their land. Venetian Trees, according to the ordinance, are “trees of native or non-native species that have significance, desirability, or utility to the community.” Banyan trees, such as those found in Heritage Park, are not native, but would be considered Venetian Trees under the ordinance…

Insurance Journal, August 16, 2019: Outside Inspectors Find Tree Hazards That PG&E Contractors Overlooked

PG&E Corp.’s court-appointed compliance monitor concluded the utility isn’t trimming trees that pose wildfire threats in high-risk areas of California and didn’t train its contractors properly. The monitor, Mark Filip, on Wednesday wrote to U.S. District Judge William Alsup, saying he uncovered “significant, actionable findings,” including record-keeping deficiencies. Inspections are “not only revealing individual trees that are missed, including three active wildfire threats in high-risk areas, but they also reflect gaps in processes, for example, contractor training,” the monitor said. The findings risk infuriating Alsup, who has repeatedly admonished PG&E over its failures and recklessness, and strained to arrive at a punishment that will spur the company to strengthen its fire-prevention efforts. That the monitor has uncovered hazards PG&E arguably should’ve found on its own doesn’t bode well for the utility, or its new Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson, at a Sept. 17 hearing the judge scheduled to discuss Filip’s findings. The monitor is reviewing PG&E’s wildfire-mitigation efforts, after the company’s 2016 conviction stemming from a gas-pipeline blast that killed eight people. Filip’s job is to ensure PG&E doesn’t violate the terms of its probation and to scrutinize its business practices more broadly…

NBC News, August 15, 2019: Alabama fan not making payments for poisoning rival Auburn’s landmark tree, DA says

A prosecutor wants to know why a University of Alabama fan who pleaded guilty to poisoning landmark oak trees at Auburn University isn’t making court-ordered restitution payments. Harvey Updyke was ordered to appear in court Oct. 30 to explain himself, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told WRBL-TV. Updyke served more than 70 days in jail in 2013 and was ordered to pay about $800,000 in restitution after admitting to poisoning trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn. Fans traditionally rolled the trees with toilet paper after a win, but the original oaks died after being doused with herbicide. Updyke has paid less than $5,000 and often misses payments, Hughes said.”We have been keeping an eye on his payments or more specifically, his non-payment, and he has made exactly two payments for a total of $200 in the past year. Because of that, we have been looking for him for close to a year, and we finally found him…”

Durham, New Hampshire, WCAX-TV, August 15, 2019: New Hampshire researchers find CO2 alters how trees grow

New research from the University of New Hampshire finds the increase in carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human activity and fossil fuels is altering the way forests grow and use water. Scientists found that trees respond to this rise in CO2 by using it to grow faster or by conserving water, depending on whether water is abundant or scarce. Scientists previously suspected the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels would cause trees to lose less water, but this new research provides a more complicated story…

Sacramento, California, KXTV, August 15, 2019: Tree branches falling in midtown, downtown Sacramento may be from the extreme heat

We are the City of Trees. It’s a name we take pride in until a tree comes crashing down and ruins your day and your car. This week, a huge branch snapped off of a tree on F street and landed on several cars. The people who snapped photos of the branches on the cars said it’s happened before with the same set of trees. A lot of neighbors on the Nextdoor App said this has happened to them too.They’re frustrated because their cars are either non-driveable or has major damage while they wait for their insurer and the City of Sacramento to review their claims.”Some [branches] can be 18 inches wide and 35 feet long and extremely heavy and can cause damage or death,” said Attorney Ed Smith, a Sacramento tree injury lawyer and founder of Autoaccident.com. Smith handles several cases of tree injuries a year. “They are fairly frequent. A lot of the cases depend on how much rainfall there is, how many storms there are, conditions of drought can cause the trees to rot and age faster and consequently the branches to fall,” Smith said…

Tampa, Florida, Tribune, August 12, 2019: Her car was crushed by a falling tree. She’s getting $180,000 from the city of Clearwater

The city is about to approve a $180,000 settlement with a woman whose car was crushed by a tree on city property as she drove past it. On May 5, 2017, Milagros Medina was driving with her grandson on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Suddenly, a laurel oak tree on a small plot of city-owned land near Tuskawilla Drive fell on the passing car. Medina seriously injured her neck. Her grandson, who was 8 at the time, suffered minor injuries, the Clearwater Police Department said. In December 2017, Medina sued the city, claiming the tree falling was “caused by improper inspection and maintenance.” Adam Talley, an attorney hired by Medina, said he could not comment until the case was completely resolved…

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen Times, August 12, 2019: Blue Ridge Parkway tree lethally damaged by vandalism, in rash of such incidents

A tulip poplar that once stood tall on the Blue Ridge Parkway has fallen, the victim of a vandal whose cuts went too deep for the tree to survive. Large sheets of bark were ripped from the tree, the trunk of which measured about 2 feet in diameter. A representative of the National Park Service confirmed Aug. 9 that it had been removed because the amount of damage done to it would have been lethal. “We cut the tree down as it would soon become a dead tree hazard that we did not want to have to respond to at a later date when it created a new safety hazard,” Chief Ranger Neal Labrie said in an email. The tulip poplar was located at Rattlesnake Lodge trailhead on Ox Creek Road, in Weaverville…

London, UK, Guardian, August 12, 2019: Tree-damaging pests pose ‘devastating’ threat to 40% of US forests

About 40% of all forests across the US are at risk of being ravaged by an army of harmful pests, undermining a crucial resource in addressing the climate crisis, new research has found. Tree-damaging pests have already destroyed swathes of US woodland, with the American chestnut virtually wiped out by a fungal disease and elms blighted by Dutch elm disease. About 450 overseas pests that damage or feed on trees have been introduced to US forests due to the growth in international trade and travel. A PNAS-published study of the 15 most damaging non-native forest pests has found that they destroy so many trees that about 6m tons of carbon are expelled each year from the dying plants. This is the equivalent, researchers say, of adding an extra 4.6m cars to the roads every year in terms of the release of planet-warming gases. This situation is set to worsen, with the spread of pests due to threaten 40% of the US forest biomass. Such a scenario would “have a devastating impact on the forests”, said Songlin Fei, a forestry expert and report author at Purdue University. “It is turning forests from storers of carbon to a carbon source. The best way to control these pests it through inspections and quarantine – once they are in the system it’s hard to stop them. For many trees it’s too late…”

Wichita, Kansas, Eagle, August 12, 2019: Wichita’s tree canopy is declining by 5,000 trees a year, officials say

Wichita’s tree canopy is declining, and the city’s quality of life with it, forestry officials say. Wichita loses an average of 5,000 trees a year, Gary Farris, Wichita city arborist said. The City’s forestry department works to remove dead and diseased trees from public areas, and attempts to replace them with new trees, Farris said, but they are limited to planting an average of 1,500 to 1,800 new trees a year due to their annual budget of about $384,000. The department does have a nursery where they grow tree seedlings, but because it takes seedlings three or four years to mature enough for transplantation, they often buy older trees in bulk from vendors, said Troy Houtman, director of Park and Recreation. The main forestry concern facing the city, state and nation, is the declining urban tree canopy, Farris said. “That’s not sustainable,” Farris said. “We’re on a downward slope, and should we be concerned about that? Absolutely.” An urban tree canopy is the amount of land in urban areas that is covered by trees when viewed from above. A good tree canopy can benefit an area’s ecosystem and quality of life covering a range of issues — including clean air and water; intercepting rainfall and pollutants; lowering air temperature, heating and electricity costs, and promoting “a clean and healthy environment,” Farris said…

New York City, Daily News, August 11, 2019: Stumped! Central Park fights to uproot remains of tree that fell on mother of three who sued for $200M

The trunk is junk! The Central Park Conservancy says the base of a 75-foot elm tree that fell on a mother of three should be uprooted — but the woman’s attorney is blocking the historic greenspace from planting a new sapling. The towering tree that nearly paralyzed Anne Monoky on Aug. 15, 2017 is in two pieces — stored on Randall’s Island and in Central Park — as her $200 million suit against the city proceeds. But the elm’s jagged stump is still in the ground on Center Drive near W. 62nd St. In new court papers, attorneys for the city and a Central Park landscape manager ask a judge to allow them to dig it up and plant a new tree, overruling claims by Monoky’s attorney that the stump and tree well may need “additional testing.” “The site as it presently exists is unnatural, unattractive and therefore inconsistent with the aesthetic we work to achieve in the park,” John Dillon, the vice president of landscape management for the Central Park Conservancy said in a sworn statement. The unsightly stump is surrounded by fencing. “The fence and the open tree well also attract and retain trash and other debris. Consequently, the area requires frequent maintenance by Central Park Conservancy staff to prevent it from becoming a trash can that attracts vermin,” Dillon said…

The Drive, August 11, 2019: West Virginia Man’s Reaction to Tree Falling on a Fiat Is This Year’s Greatest Local News Clip

A West Virginia student found her Fiat 500 thoroughly destroyed early last week when a tree that was being cut down close to where it was parked fell on top of it. What just might be more noteworthy than the flattened Fiat, however, is one bystander’s recorded reaction to it all. Brought to our attention by WSAZ, it happened last Monday morning in the town of Huntington when a city crew was attempting to cut down a tree that had reportedly been giving the neighborhood grief for quite some time. Billy Tatum, who was apparently playing cards on his porch watching the crew work, told the news outlet that one of the tree’s limbs was blown off during a storm several weeks prior, hitting the windshield of a parked truck. It appears the tree was not done with vehicular destruction because when the city workers cut the thing down, it landed right on top of the Fiat city car that was parked nearby and owned by a female Marshall University student. “It sounded like a beer can getting flattened,” Tatum told a news camera. “It just was ‘crunch.’ I hate to say it, but it was kind of cool, you know? What guy doesn’t like destruction. That’s why we go to demolition derbies, but hey, the bottom line is that’s that poor girl’s new car, and she can’t get to school now…”

Edmonton, Alberta, Journal, August 11, 2019: Tree ravaging Asian longhorn beetle spotted in Edmonton

The first confirmed sighting of the Asian longhorned beetle in Edmonton happened in May after being spotted coming out of a pallet of wood in a warehouse, before getting the chance to ravage the city’s trees. The pesky bug has the potential to wreak havoc on elm and ash populations, although maple is its preferred meal. It was fortunate someone spotted the beetle so quickly, Mike Jenkins, a pest co-ordinator with the city said. “This is something we need lots of eyes out there looking for these insects,” he said. “All of the infestations in North America for this beetle, so far, have been found not by people like me … they’ve all been found by other people.” The city has approximately 298,000 publicly owned trees with green ash making up the majority followed by American elm and Blue spruce, according to the Urban Forest Management Plan. This is not the first time the beetle was spotted in Canada. The first reported case happened in 2003 in the Toronto area. Nearly 29,000 trees had to be destroyed to keep the insect from spreading. A second sighting was reported in 2013 and is currently being eradicated…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, August 11, 2019: 1 of the missing ‘moon trees’ in New Mexico believed found

Officials believe they may have found one of the missing trees planted in New Mexico from seeds taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 mission. KOAT-TV reports former New Mexico first lady Clara Apodaca and a naturalist identified last week a tree they believe to be one of those planted in the state four decades ago. Apodaca and the naturalist say a Douglas Fir located in a grassy area north of the state capitol in Santa Fe is a moon tree. Apodaca helped plant it. The discovery comes after the Albuquerque station reported that officials where the trees were planted decades ago said they have lost track of the trees. Moon trees were grown from 500 seeds taken into orbit around the moon by former U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Stuart Roosa during the 1971 mission…

North Andover, Massachusetts, Eagle Tribune, August 8, 2019: Forestry officials on alert as tree disease makes a move

Some of the state’s trees may be in danger of disease. New Hampshire forestry officials are concerned about a new oak tree-killing disease that may be making its way to the Granite State and the public is being asked to watch for danger signs. Oak Wilt disease has been in the Great Lakes region for decades but recent outbreaks in Albany and Long Island, New York have New Hampshire officials on alert. Red oaks — which have pointy-tipped leaves — are most susceptible to the disease and can die within a few weeks to six months of being infected. White oaks — which can be identified by round-tipped leaves — are less vulnerable. Oak Wilt is a fungus that affects the vascular system of most oak species, stopping the movement of fluids throughout the infected tree, which then quickly dies of dehydration. The disease is spread over long distances through the transportation of infected logs and firewood. Over short distances, it is spread through root grafting as well as by beetles that ingest sap from infected trees and then travel to other trees. Once an oak tree is infected with the disease, it cannot be saved. It is possible, however, to control and eradicate the disease’s spread to other trees, making it critical to find outbreaks early…

Midland, Texas, Daily News, August 9, 2019: Some tree issues caused by our blunders

When we see plants struggling to survive our thoughts often go to what insect or disease is causing the problem. We then proceed to the local garden center to find out what would be good to spray on our plants to rid them of their insects and disease encounters. Our garden centers pesticide aisle becomes a drug store for our ailing plants. But what happens if the health of our plants isn’t caused by an insect or disease but by our own blunders. I have discovered that most of the time unhealthy trees are the result of human activities. It is just like our bad health is often caused by not washing our hands, eating the wrong foods, actually inhaling smoke or walking in front of traffic. All these activities are detrimental to your health. There are activities we do that stress out our trees and cause them poor health. Since these health complications are not caused by a biological agent the term for these problems is abiotic diseases. Because there is no insect or disease present abiotic diseases can be difficult to determine. Also the cause of an abiotic disease could have happened many years previous. I have seen trees die because of a lightning strike 12 years earlier. Because it may take many years to show symptoms of abiotic diseases, many times it is too late to save the tree from dying. This makes it more important to be cautious and prevent abiotic diseases…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tribune, August 8, 2019: Not in my sidewalk: Debunking Philly tree myths

Trees aren’t generally controversial. They usually look nice, they provide shade and improve the air and water quality. Scientists say they even make people happier. But when it comes to planting a tree on the street, many Philadelphians say — nuh uh, not in my sidewalk. Angel Santiago is one of them. He loves trees, he says. Without the leafy tree next to his Kensington row home, he would probably need to run his AC all day. Yet, plant a sapling in front of his house? Nope. “It would be beautiful,“ Santiago said, until “the tree is fully grown, and then the roots are growing out, and the concrete is lifted up. Who covers that charge, who takes on that expense?” He describes the conundrum facing urban tree owners in existential terms. “But then again, you can’t cut the tree because it belongs to the city. So it’s a catch-22,” he said…

Providence, Rhode Island, Journal, August 8, 2019: Tips for planting a tree properly

First, and most important, I check the position of the trunk of the tree in the pot. In the wild you will notice that trees bulge out at the base, creating what is termed the “trunk flare.” This must be visible above ground after planting. I recently planted a couple of blue spruce trees on a nice cloudy day, and want to share with you what I did. First, and most important, I checked the position of the trunk of the tree in the pot. In the wild you will notice that trees bulge out at the base, creating what is termed the “trunk flare.” This must be visible above ground after planting. Too often, trees purchased at a nursery have the trunk flare covered with soil in the pot. Little seedlings are plucked from the ground and popped into pots without paying attention to the trunk flare. But, if the trunk flare and the bottom of the trunk itself is buried, the tree will not thrive or survive. Why is this so important? Because unlike the roots, the trunk is not resistant to soil microorganisms that cause rot. Within six to 10 years — just when a tree should be well established — the vital cambium layer in the trunk rots and the tree sickens and slowly dies. If you planted a tree in the past and wonder if you did it right, look at the top of the tree. Trees suffering from trunk flare rot will have few leaves at the top of the tree — what is called tip dieback. Deciduous trees will turn color well before others of the same species in the fall…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, Journal, August 7, 2019: Tree ‘doctor’ charged after trying save Plaza Sena cottonwood

A man who was arrested after he tried to block the felling of an old tree in downtown Santa Fe denies that he ever hit anyone during the incident. James Thomas, who goes by Steve Thomas, was charged Tuesday with one count each of trespassing and battery for allegedly disrupting work to bring down the huge cottonwood known as “Willy” that shaded the historic Sena Plaza courtyard for decades. But Thomas denies hitting anyone, and a police report says the alleged victim didn’t have any marks to indicate he was hit. “I’ve never had any charge of anyone being assaulted by me,” Thomas told the Journal Wednesday. “Nobody was ever scratched.” A Santa Fe Police report says officers responded to Sena Plaza after a dispatcher said a man was pulling on ropes tied to workers cutting down the tree and had also tied himself to the tree. An officer got to the scene and detained Thomas. Thomas owns a tree-saving business, Tree Doctor 911 based in Albuquerque, and claims the tree just needed maintenance to keep branches from falling off and potentially hurting patrons of La Casa Sena restaurant and other businesses on the courtyard instead of having to be cut down…

NPR, August 7, 2019: A Mysterious Disease Is Killing Majestic Beech Trees In American Forests

A mysterious disease is killing one of the nation’s most majestic trees. The beech is an important anchor species of mature forests, but scientists suspect a microscopic worm is attacking them.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: A mysterious disease is killing one of the most majestic trees in American forests – the beech. Known for its smooth, gray bark, the beech is an important anchor species. No one knows exactly what is causing beech leaf disease. A team of tree scientists is narrowing down the list of possible culprits. From member station WKSU, Jeff St. Clair reports on a botanical whodunit.
JEFF ST CLAIR, BYLINE: It’s a long slog to a bluff overlooking the Grand River in Lake County, Ohio. It was here in 2012 that Lake Metroparks biologist John Pogacnik first noticed something was awry.
JOHN POGACNIK: It just looked different. You could tell right away something was up.
ST CLAIR: What he saw was sunlight.
POGACNIK: Beech are usually a tree that create a lot of shade, and these are no longer doing that.
ST CLAIR: A slight breeze shakes the thinning canopy overhead.
POGACNIK: This tree right here is a really good example. You could see it’s probably 20 foot tall, and there’s probably 50 leaves on it…

Durango, Colorado, Herald, August 7, 2019: Trees brought down in avalanches can be collected for free

After a winter that brought down an onslaught of avalanches, the Bureau of Land Management has come up with a unique way to get it all cleaned up: free firewood collection permits. “It’s a win-win for both us and the public,” said Brant Porter, spokesmen for the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM recently announced free permits available for cutting and collecting firewood from avalanche slide paths on public lands along the Alpine Loop Backcountry Scenic Byway in Hinsdale and San Juan counties. “The Alpine Loop sustained historic levels of avalanches over the course of the winter, and as a part of that, those avalanches have left all sorts of wood and debris and rocks,” Porter said. “This effort will help us get some of that debris out of the area.” This winter, nearly 1,000 avalanches were reported to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center in the San Juan Mountains. And that’s just slides that were observed and reported…

Detroit, Michigan, WDIV-TV, August 7, 2019: How to check your trees for invasive ‘drilling beetle’ in Michigan

Imagine what the summer heat would feel like without the cooling shade of your backyard trees. If you appreciate your trees, August is the time to show them how much you care. Take a few minutes to check your trees for Asian longhorned beetles and the damage their larvae leave behind. “August is Tree Check Month – the best time to spot the round, drill-like holes made by the Asian longhorned beetle,” said Jeff Zimmer, acting director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “These destructive pests have invaded areas of Ohio, New York and Massachusetts, causing the removal of over 180,000 trees. In order to prevent this in Michigan, we are asking everyone to look for and report signs of the Asian longhorned beetle.” The Asian longhorned beetle is on Michigan’s invasive species watch list because it poses an immediate or potential threat to the state’s economy, environment or human health…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, KRQE-TV, August 6, 2019: Beloved tree cut down in Santa Fe’s historic downtown

Some call it a piece of Santa Fe history, others call it a liability. A cottonwood tree that has been standing for decades was cut down Tuesday. It brought anger, frustration and even some getting arrested. “This is a disaster. This is something that is a call to war,” Steve Thomas said. It’s been standing in the Santa Fe Plaza for at least 70 years, maybe even longer. “It’s a very nice shady spot to sit and enjoy a meal or a cocktail,” Santa Fe resident Mark Klapmeier said. “This tree is a gem in our city,” former Land Use Manager Lisa Martinez said. But now, the owners of the property it stands on are cutting it down because they believe it’s a liability. “The potential risks, outweigh the benefits at this point,” a city worker said. In a letter from the city, the Parks Division Director says the trees continue to drop large limbs more frequently. In fact, a branch broke off just last August. “There had been a windstorm, a branch had fallen, pinned a lady,” Martinez said. Regardless, Steve Thomas, a tree doctor himself, says this tree is healthy and could’ve been saved. “This is the biggest disaster I’ve seen so far,” said Thomas…

Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican, August 6, 2019: Family of Thomas Moszynski files $5 million wrongful death lawsuit after tree-cutting death in Amherst

The family of Thomas Moszynski, who was killed while cutting down a tree in Amherst, has filed a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit against the general contractor who hired Moszynski to do the work. Moszynski, 38, died Dec. 11, 2018 while working on a construction project at 31 Flat Hills Road in Amherst. His father Andrew Moszynski, of Easthampton, filed a lawsuit in July in Hampshire Superior Court against developer and engineer Joseph Aimua and his company, Joslad and Associates. Messages left for Aimua by phone and email Tuesday afternoon were not immediately returned. He has not yet filed a response in court. Aimua’s attorney is on vacation and could not be reached. Aimua, the construction supervisor and engineer who designed the project, had built a single family home at the property, which was owned by his company. Aimua hired Craig Malanson, who runs an excavating business, to excavate and install a sewer system at the site. Moszynski worked for Malanson. According to the complaint, Aimua had already built the home and made the decision not to remove the tall trees nearby before construction. After building the house, Aimua decided to cut down the trees to avoid any potential damage to the home…

Inhabitat, August 6, 2019: See the forest for more than the trees — why reforestation isn’t working

We can all agree planting a tree is good for the environment — right? According to a recent study in Nature, the global crusade for reforestation as a remedy for climate change is largely missing the mark. So where did it go wrong? The new evidence reveals that most of the countries with large-scale tree-planting programs are actually developing tree plantations, which might help the economy but fail to sequester the carbon that the countries originally pledged to. In 2011, the international Bonn Challenge was announced as an ambitious plan to plant 150 million hectares of trees by 2020. In 2014, more than 100 nations signed on under the New York Declaration of Forests, increasing the target to 350 million hectares by 2030. Unlike many lofty development goals, most countries are actually on track to exceed their promises, at least at first glance. In fact, the world actually has more forest cover now than it did in 1982. So, what’s the problem? Well, the majority of countries have been using the incentives and global momentum to back monoculture farms and counting trees that will be logged within years in their Bonn Challenge totals. According to the assessment, 45 percent of trees planted were species that will be quickly harvested for paper production. Another 21 percent were tree farm species, like fruits, nuts and cocoa. Only 34 percent of trees planted were part of so-called “natural forest,” even though the original intention of the Bonn Challenge was that all hectares planted should be natural forest…

Pensacola, Florida, News Journal, August 6, 2019: Pensacola used opinion of unlicensed arborist to stop removal of North Hill heritage tree

Pensacola relied on an arborist’s opinion to deny a permit to cut down a heritage tree in the North Hill neighborhood, but it was revealed in court Monday that the arborist wasn’t technically licensed when he said the tree shouldn’t be cut down. The city is suing property owners Larry and Ellen Vickery to stop them from cutting down a live oak in the back of their property at 605 N. Spring St. to make room for a house on the empty lot. The suit has become a test case for a new Florida law that states local governments cannot prevent the removal of trees on residential property. The law requires that property owners get documentation from a licensed arborist or landscape architect stating the tree is a danger to people or property in order to remove it. The Vickery family got that letter and submitted it to the city in July, sparking the city’s lawsuit, which was filed in the First Judicial Circuit Court. Before the new law went into effect, the Vickery family applied for a permit to remove the tree and several North Hill residents and others appealed to the city that the removal of the tree be stopped…

Albany, New York, Times Union, August 5, 2019: After court ruling, tree-clearing along hiking trails is on hold

A longstanding Adirondack tradition is under moratorium this summer due to recent court ruling that helped redefine what it means to be a tree. Each summer for decades, hundreds of volunteers would spread out across the Adirondack Forest Preserve to maintain and keep the region’s numerous hiking trails clear.But a big part of that effort is potentially on hold now, in light of the court ruling that state Department of Environmental Conservation officials have interpreted as putting limits on the cutting of saplings that can grow up in and along the region’s footpaths. “Stewardship projects that involve tree-cutting planned for this year are being reassessed in light of the court decision that limits tree cutting on the Forest Preserve. DEC is reviewing the decision and considering its options going forward,” the agency said in a prepared statement on Monday. “It has impact on the work that both the Adirondack Mountain Club takes on and any of the other stewardship groups,” said Wes Lampman, AMC chief operating officer…

Allentown, Pennsylvania, WFMZ-TV, August 5, 2019: Palmer Township rope-swing tree comes down, social media mourns

Palmer Township’s rope-swing tree at Penn Pump Park was cut down for safety reasons, the township’s administration announced at Monday’s supervisors meeting, and fans have taken to social media to protest its demise. Facebook posts noted that generations of locals have swung off the tree into Bushkill Creek. “Thousands of us know that tree,” a poster said. Other comments ranged from “tree of memories” to “It’s a shame,” to “This is so sad,” to “Evil.” One poster, not as dejected, noted, “It’s a tree … It’ll be OK.””It was a safety hazard,” Township Manager Robert Williams said at Monday’s supervisors’ meeting. Williams said the decision to cut down the tree was made after talks with township police and other staff members…

Port Huron, Michigan Times Herald, August 5, 2019: DNR: Be on the lookout for new invasive tree-drilling beetle

An invasive tree-destroying beetle could hitch a ride to Michigan aboard out-of-state firewood, threatening Michigan’s maples and other tree species. There are currently outbreaks of Asian longhorn beetle in Ohio, New York and Massachusetts, requiring the removal of about 180,000 trees, according to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources. While the Asian longhorn beetle has not yet been detected in Michigan, state officials are urging residents to check their trees for signs of damage and to avoid transporting firewood. The Asian longhorn beetle is thought to have come to the United States as stowaways in shipping material like wooden crates or shipping pallets from Asia. Transportation of firewood and lumber across state lines is thought to have helped its spread around the country, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Invasive Species Communication Coordinator Joanne Foreman said. The beetle is similar to emerald ash borer in that it burrows into trees and can cause severe damage or death of the tree. The Asian longhorn beetle targets a variety of different tree species, with a particular preference for maple — which are widespread in Michigan…

Worcester, Massachusetts, Telegram, August 5, 2019: Healthy soil crucial for the survival of trees in state’s forests

According to Cherry Valley professional botanist Normand Helie, the trees in state forests need to be fertilized — naturally or artificially — if they’re to be strong. “Without adequate nutrition from forest soils, our trees are limited in sequestering carbon for long term storage in their heart wood,” said the plant and soil scientist. Once, during Colonial times, the state’s white pines were designated as the “king’s pines.” Back then, white pine trees were tall and strong enough to serve as masts for ships. The colonists were very aggravated by this White Pine Act, which prevented individuals from harvesting the tree. Those colonists wouldn’t recognize the inferior strength of today’s white pines. Today’s nutrient-depleted soils produce white pines that if used as masts, would break with the first severe winds stressing their sails. When a forest has its trees cut down, it removes nutrients that would be eventually recycled to keep a forest healthy. Helie noted that the Auburn Sportsman’s Club’s forest, like so many others in New England, has been clear-cut several times. How much does nutrient removal hurt…

Cleveland, Ohio, WJW-TV, August 2, 2019: No one injured when tree trimming crane fell onto Willoughby home

A crane, being used for tree trimming, toppled onto a neighbor’s house in Willoughby. “I was standing at the sink, getting a glass of water when I heard a loud boom,” said 85-year-old Janet Dudek of Willoughby. A crane came crashing down onto her house on Crown Court just after 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. “I thought we had another earthquake until I saw the boom across my roof and laying in the yard,” said Dudek. Emergency crews rushed to the scene. Amazingly, no one was hurt. “I just saw the crane go down. The operator extended it out too far he said. It fell and he jumped out quick,” said Lucas Lazare, witness. A crowd of neighbors gathered to watch as a second crane and a tow truck were brought in to help remove the initial one…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, August 3, 2019: Tree-killing fungal disease found in Hawaii

A fungal tree disease has been discovered on Oahu, a report said, making it the fourth Hawaiian island where rapid ohia death has been recorded since its discovery in 2014. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources found the disease on a dead ohia tree about three miles (five kilometers) from Honolulu, the Star-Advertiser reported Thursday. The discovery prompted additional air and ground surveys to determine how widespread it is. “We’re taking this very seriously,” state protection forester Rob Hauff said. Ohia trees are considered a keystone species that provide a habitat for endangered species and are important to Hawaii culture…

Waco, Texas, Tribune, July 26, 2019: Tiny beetles munch through endangered songbird habitat

Matt Johnson treks along an Arizona riverbank and picks out a patch of yellow-tinged tamarisks. He sweeps a cloth net across the trees, hoping to scoop up beetles that munch on their evergreen-like leaves. He counts spiders, ants and leafhoppers among the catch and few beetles or their larvae. “Their numbers are really low,” the Northern Arizona University researcher said. That the tiny beetles brought to the U.S. from Asia in an experiment to devour invasive, water-sucking tamarisks showed up at the Verde River in central Arizona is no surprise. But it’s further evidence they’re spreading faster than once anticipated and eventually could pervade the Southwest U.S, raising the risk for wildfires and allowing less time to uproot the tamarisks, also called salt cedars, and replacing them with native trees. Without those efforts, drying foliage can spark wildfires and an endangered songbird that nests in tamarisk might not have a home…

Rochester, Minnesota, Post Bulletin, August 3, 2019: Growing Concerns: Why you shouldn’t ‘lion’s tail’ your tree

I have addressed this topic in the past but have recently noticed more companies that are removing the lower and inner branches of trees. This practice is called “lion’s tailing” because it removes all lateral branches on main stems, leaving foliage at the ends like the puff of hair at the end of a lion’s tail. Lions tailing is not a recommended pruning practice. It was done for several years with the thought that removing branches from the lower canopy would reduce wind-load and as a result reduce the chance of branch breakage. While this seems to make sense to some, it does not hold true. In fact, removing viable branches on the inner canopy shifts the wind-load to the top of the tree instead of the mid canopy. This shifts the point of maximum stress higher in the tree and onto smaller branches that are more prone to breakage under the wind load. You can test this theory by putting rags on the eyelets of a fishing rod. If you distribute the rags between on all of the eyelets and wave the rod you will feel how the load is evenly distributed. If you place rags only on the tip and wave the rod you will feel pressure on the rod is closer to the tip which increases leverage and moves the point of highest tension closer to the tip where the rod is thinner and has less strength…

Phoenix, Arizona, KNXV-TV, August 1, 2019: Homeowner criticizes ‘extreme’ SRP tree trimming for power lines

For more than 50 years, Connie Baggesen has counted on trees in her front yard to provide much-needed shade to her west-facing house. She says she came home one day in July to a couple of eyesores after tree trimmers with Salt River Project cut off more than ever before. “I just couldn’t believe that they had done them this extreme,” she said. “They went down to trunks and big branches.” She’s afraid the trees are dying, so she complained to SRP. They sent out an arborist. “He agreed that it was extreme,” she says. SRP says it was doing its job. The utility’s website says it uses “directional trimming” to train trees to grow away from overhead lines. A spokesperson tells ABC15 the arborist “determined that the trees are not in danger of dying…” but because of Connie’s concerns he offered to cut them down and remove the wood…

Staten Island, New York, Advance, August 1, 2019: New Brighton homeowner wonders: If she can’t get her severely busted sidewalk fixed by the city, who will?

After three years and numerous complaints to the city, New Brighton resident Julie Lewis is convinced the sidewalk in front of her home will never be fixed without her having to hand over some serious cash. The raised sidewalk, caused by tree roots from a city tree in front of her home, doesn’t allow the gate to her property on Scribner Avenue to open or close all the way. Lewis has been unable to use her driveway for years because of the gate’s inability to open. “It brings down our property values; it’s bringing down my property value. It just makes the neighborhood look bad,” Lewis told the Advance outside of her home. She’s also concerned about what she says is a looming threat of a lawsuit, should somebody fall and injure themselves on the raised sidewalk. Lewis has made six complaints to the city Parks Department since 2016 for root/sidewalk issues. Her sidewalk was inspected in August 2016, the Parks Department said, and was deemed eligible for its Trees & Sidewalk Program; it received a 74/100 rating…

Los Angeles, California, Daily News, August 1, 2019: City of Los Angeles now has an official forest officer to help plant 90,000 new trees

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday the appointment of Los Angeles’ first forest officer, a position that will oversee urban forests in an effort to plant 90,000 trees by 2021. “Every tree we plant can help stem the tide of the climate crisis, and when we expand our urban forest, we can sow the seeds of a healthier, more sustainable future for communities across our city,” Garcetti said. The mayor appointed Rachel Malarich, a certified arborist, to the post. According to the mayor’s office, Malarich has spent more than 12 years working to increase tree canopy in urban areas throughout Southern California, devising strategic management plans to expand urban forests and promoting community engagement. She spent more than a decade with Tree People, where she served as the director of forestry for more than three years, and worked as the assistant director of environmental services for Koreatown Youth and Community Center. Malarich is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified by the International Society of Arboriculture. “Rachel has the vision, experience and expertise necessary to lead the work of lining our streets with more trees and building a greener tomorrow,” Garcetti said…

Science Daily, July 31, 2019: Climate change alters tree demography in northern forests

The rise in temperature and precipitation levels in summer in northern Japan has negatively affected the growth of conifers and resulted in their gradual decline, according to a 38-year-long study in which mixed forests of conifers and broad-leaved trees were monitored by a team of researchers from Hokkaido University. The findings demonstrate how climate change has changed the forests’ demography and caused a directional change in the region, from being sub-boreal conifer-dominated to cool-temperate broad-leaved tree dominated. Climate change as evidenced by, for example, an increase in the number of downpours and super typhoons, is impacting our daily lives. Forest ecosystems around the world are not exempt from this, but there are many issues to still clarify, such as species-specific responses to climate change and their mechanisms. The present study published in Forest Economy and Managementis only one among several studies conducted based on a long-term monitoring of data. The researchers investigated more than eight thousand individual trees in 17.5-hectare primeval reserve areas (Osashima and Panke) inside Hokkaido University’s Nakagawa Experimental Forest situated in Hokkaido in northern Japan from 1979 to 2016. The team monitored their growth rates, mortality and recruitment (the process by which seeds establish themselves in an area and grow into mature individuals) rates and then analyzed the influence by climate change…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, July 30, 2019: James Island trees will soon be trimmed by Dominion. Officials want an arborist’s input

Some James Island residents will have their grand live oak trees trimmed by Dominion Energy in the fall, and town officials are prepping for the worst. Last week, Town Council discussed the possibility of having a certified arborist present when Dominion does maintenance work to make sure the trees stay in shape. The discussion comes after residents in Mount Pleasant and Charleston created tree agreements with the utility after dozens of residents complained about haphazard trimming. “It’s not like a bad haircut,” James Island Town Councilman Garrett Milliken said. “It takes a while to grow back.” Milliken said the discussions were inspired when a particularly bad amount of tree trimming happened in the spring in West Ashley and Riverland Terrace, which even prompted an investigation by the city of Charleston. While state-wide legislation has been filed by state Sen. Sandy Senn, a Charleston Republican, it has not gotten traction in Columbia…

Ft. Myers, Florida, WBBH-TV, July 30, 2019: Phony tree trimmers burglarize home in Golden Gate

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to be aware of distraction burglaries after investigating a burglary in Golden Gate on Monday. In a Facebook post, the Sheriff’s Office wrote senior citizens are generally targeted in these types of burglaries. Criminals typically pose as tree trimmers, appliance repair workers or contractors pointing to a problem on residents’ roofs. The burglary that is currently being investigated involves a man and woman posing as tree trimmers who tricked their way into a home on 39th Street Southwest. A man showed up at the home on Friday and negotiated tree trimming work with the homeowner, Chet Seecharan, then returned Monday with another woman. Seecharan’s relatives answered the door and were led into the backyard by the woman to mark trees that needed trimming while the man entered the home and stole the owner’s jewelry…

Phys.org, July 30, 2019: Glimmer of hope as Italy battles ‘olive tree leprosy’

Working in an arid Italian field of crumbly soil, agronomists are battling a rampant bacterium that has already infected millions of olive trees and could threaten the entire Mediterranean basin. Xylella fastidiosa, which has no known cure, has devastated ancient olive trees in Italy’s southern Apulia region and beyond, causing 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of damage to the world’s second olive oil exporter after Spain. Since 2013, the disease has torn through Apulia’s olive groves, leaving thousands of skeleton-like trees in its wake, and little hope for farmers. Once Xylella fastidiosa bacteria—carried by tiny sap-sucking insects known as spittlebugs—take hold, blocking the tree’s ability to absorb water, the plant is doomed…

San Diego, California, KNSD-TV, July 30, 2019: Tree Trimmer Who Fell to Death Had ‘Incredible Love,’ Daughter Says

The daughter of a landscaper who plummeted 50 feet to his death while trimming trees in La Jolla wants her father to be remembered for the passion that he put into work and his family. Noe Valle, 39, was tending to a palm tree on Neptune Place between Kolmar Street and Gravilla Street when he fell just after 11 a.m. on Sunday, the San Diego Police Department said. His daughter, Vanessa, said she had plans with her father that evening but now can only remember the moment she found out her father would not be coming home. “My heart broke into two right away,” she told NBC 7 in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. “It was just a shock. I couldn’t even believe that my dad had passed away; it was so unexpected.” She said it was not unusual for her father to be working on the weekends. He held two different jobs and typically worked long hours seven days a week but it was something that he enjoyed…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, July 29, 2019: 150-year-old ‘Door Tree’ destroyed by vandals in Hamden, Conn.

Authorities are searching for vandals who destroyed a 150-year-old white oak tree known as the “Door Tree” in Hamden, Conn. on July 17, the Hamden Historical Society said in a statement. The tree, a local landmark named for its unusual arch-like shape, was found knocked down and cut to pieces. It is not clear when the destruction occurred, officials said. The Regional Water Authority, which owns the land where the tree stood, has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. An additional award from a private donor brings the reward to $2,000, the water company said. The tree has been photographed as far back as 1898 and has been featured in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! television show. The tree was in “exceptionally” good health and likely would have lived many more years, the company said. “We have heard from hundreds of people saddened by the news of the Door Tree,” said RWA spokesman Dan Doyle. “It’s a saddening and tragic loss…”

Raleigh, North Carolina, WTVD-TV, July 29, 2019: 18-year-old cyclist dies after slamming into tree on Raleigh greenway

An 18-year-old bicyclist died after hitting a tree on the greenway at Crabtree Boulevard and Culpepper Lane in Raleigh. It’s unclear what caused the woman to hit the tree but Raleigh police said they’re not ruling out foul play. Raleigh police said they got dispatched to check in with Wake County EMS at 7:40 pm Saturday night. Bicyclists who use the trail said it’s hilly and curvy. If you are a regular cyclist or hiker, Wake County EMS Assistant Chief Jeffrey Hammerstein has these suggestions: • Be aware of your surroundings; • Know your location, especially access points; • Have a cell phone or communication device with you; and • Wear a helmet. “It’s important for people to always be aware of what their access point was and which way they traveled from that access point,” Hammerstein said…

Phys.org, July 29, 2019: Increasing tree cover may be like a ‘superfood’ for community mental health

Increasing tree canopy and green cover across Greater Sydney and increasing the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of quality green, open and public space are among the New South Wales premier’s new priorities. Cities around Australia have similar goals. In our latest study, we asked if more of any green space will do? Or does the type of green space matter for our mental health? Our results suggest the type of green space does matter. Adults with 30% or more of their neighbourhood covered in some form of tree canopy had 31% lower odds of developing psychological distress. The same amount of tree cover was linked to 33% lower odds of developing fair to poor general health. We also found poorer mental and general health among adults in areas with higher percentages of bare grass nearby, but there’s likely more to that than meets the eye. Our research involved tracking changes in health over an average of about six years, for around 46,000 adults aged 45 years or older, living in Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong. We examined health in relation to different types of green space available within a 1.6 kilometre (1 mile) walk from home…

Eureka, California, Times Standard, July 29, 2019: You and the Law: Care for your trees or suffer consequences

While most business owners are aware they have a legal duty to maintain their premises in a safe, hazard-free condition, some fail to understand or accept the fact that this includes trees on the property. Trees provide shade, are good for the environment, but unless properly maintained, some are killers, notably eucalyptus. So, what would a business owner face if one caused damage to property or injury? Would their insurance always cover the claim? I’ll answer those questions in a moment, but first meet “Eric” who lives under the threat of a neighbor’s massive eucalyptus tree crashing onto his office or into a power transformer just feet from the tree, potentially causing a fire. “Our small accounting office is next to an auto body-repair shop that is on land dotted with eucalyptus trees. Some are dead and one scares the living daylights out of me, as branches are in electrical wires that run from the power pole to both of our offices. “The tree is massive, it is taller than the pole! I have repeatedly phoned and warned my neighbor that the tree is dangerous and will kill someone if it falls, or start a fire, setting the neighborhood ablaze, but he just ignores me. What should I do at this point?” San Diego-based attorney Evan W. Walker has had a great deal of experience with these types of cases. He began his analysis with an explanation of why eucalyptus trees are so dangerous. “Giant eucalyptus drop heavy branches, earning them the nickname ‘Widow Makers.’ They are prone to falling because their shallow, spreading root system does a poor job of steadying the tree. Add to that high winds from a storm, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble with a eucalyptus that has not been properly maintained,” he points out…

Quartz, July 28, 2019: When tree planting actually damages ecosystems

Tree planting has been widely promoted as a solution to climate change, because plants absorb the climate-warming gases from Earth’s atmosphere as they grow. World leaders have already committed to restoring 350m hectares of forest by 2030 and a recent report suggested that reforesting a billion hectares of land could store a massive 205 gigatonnes of carbon – two thirds of all the carbon released into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. Many of those trees could be planted in tropical grassy biomes according to the report. These are the savannas and grasslands that cover large swathes of the globe and have a grassy ground layer and variable tree cover. Like forests, these ecosystems play a major role in the global carbon balance. Studies have estimated that grasslands store up to 30% of the world’s carbon that’s tied up in soil. Covering 20% of Earth’s land surface, they contain huge reserves of biodiversity, comparable in areas to tropical forest…

Madison, Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Journal, July 28, 2019: Group urges nearly doubling of Madison tree canopy

Threatened by infestations, climate change and competing demands for space, Madison’s tree canopy will shrink with “potentially disastrous results” unless the city invests more in its trees, a new report says. After nearly two years of study, the city’s Urban Forestry Task Force is making a series of recommendations — some with potentially significant price tags — to nurture and dramatically increase the area covered by trees from 23% to 40% of Madison’s 80 square miles. Already, the city has had to deal with infestation by the emerald ash borerthat’s forcing the removal of thousands of trees, as well as disease, climate change, loss of mature trees to development, road salt, and cramped space for planting and growth in the public right of way…

London, UK, Metro, July 29, 2019: Neighbour ‘poisons’ 200-year-old tree because it’s blocking her view

A woman has discovered dozens of holes drilled into the base of her tree and she believes a neighbor may be to blame. Jill Sarchet, 51, became suspicious when leaves on the 200-year-old sycamore turned brown. She discovered around 50 holes drilled into the base of the 100ft tree at the end of her home in Worsthorne-with-Hurstwood, near Burnley, Lancashire. It is thought a trespasser is sneaking into her property under the cover of darkness and injecting poison into the holes. Arborists now say there is a very high chance the tree, which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order Council, will die. Mother-of-two Mrs Sarchet said: ‘This behavior is totally unwarranted and unnecessary. ‘This is one of the oldest and most important trees in Burnley and has been here a lot longer than the person responsible for this. ‘The whole situation has left me extremely distressed…

Watauga, North Carolina, Democrat, July 28, 2019: Blue Ridge Energy’s vegetation program includes herbicide, tree removal options

Whether it be by helicopter trimming, tree cutting or use of herbicide, local utility Blue Ridge Energy says its vegetation management program tries to find the best solution for everyone. The program is designed to clear the right of way for its more than 8,300 miles of power lines and usually starts with a telephone call. “Before vegetation is trimmed or treated, members are contacted in advance by telephone,” Blue Ridge Energy’s Renee Whitener said. “If we cannot reach a member to speak with them or leave a voice mail, a post card is sent to make them aware of the planned vegetation management.” Whitener said these notifications include a contact number for customers to ask questions, and that in all cases, the utility has been able to find a compromise. “We try to come up with a good solution for the member and make sure that the right of way is maintained for the reliability of members’ electricity as well as the safety for the linemen…”

New York City, The New York Times, July 25, 2019: Tree Stumps Are Dead, Right? This One Was Alive

In a rain forest near Auckland, New Zealand, a leafless kauri tree stump rises a few feet off the ground. These trees can become giants: The country’s biggest, Tāne Mahuta, or the “Lord of the Forest,” has grown 168 feet high, with a 115-foot canopy. But this stump is just a stump, so unassuming most would pass it by. One day, two ecologists from Auckland University of Technology spotted it on a hike. “A normal person would just think it’s dead. It looks dead to a point, but if you look a bit closer, you can see living tissue,” said Sebastian Leuzinger. “We both said to each other, ‘It’s clearly not dead. How does it live?’” Naturalists have observed living tree stumps in New Jersey, the Sierra Nevadas, British Columbia and elsewhere. But for more than 150 years, how the stumps survived without leaves for photosynthesis was a mystery. Dr. Leuzinger and Martin Bader discovered that the kauri stump lives by sharing water with neighboring trees. Most likely, they’re connected through an underground plumbing system formed when their roots naturally fused, or grafted, together, the researchers reported in a study published Thursday in the journal iScience

Fort Myers, Florida, News Press, July 25, 2019: Pensacola lawsuit over heritage tree could be test case for new Florida property rights law

A Pensacola lawsuit could be the first test case for a new Florida law that prevents local governments from regulating tree trimming or removal trees — even “heritage” trees — on residential property. The city of Pensacola is suing the owners of a vacant lot to stop the removal of a heritage tree. Property owners Larry and Ellen Vickery started the process to build a home on a vacant lot at 605 N. Spring St. in the North Hill neighborhood and wanted to remove a live oak tree at the back of the lot to build their planned house. The tree in question has a diameter of more than 60 inches. Trees larger than 34 inches are considered “heritage” trees under the city’s ordinance and have additional protections even on residential property. Some of the Vickerys’ future neighbors wanted the city to protect the tree. “Our concern is that this is a healthy 200-plus-year-old tree that’s been part of our neighborhood longer than our houses have been here,” Sarah O’Niell, a North Hill resident said…

Concord, New Hampshire, Monitor, July 25, 2019: Tree experts say the old patient is still healthy at Kimball Jenkins

The doctor has good news for the gorgeous, 141-year-old patient: Tests have come back and so far, everything is OK. “We’re still dissecting the information, if you will, but the first preliminary results are that things look good,” said Joseph Davis, an arborist for Bartlett Tree Experts. Davis is one of several tree experts who spent part of Wednesday examining, both from the ground and from high up in the branches, a huge copper beech tree that was planted as a sapling in 1878 on what is now the Kimball-Jenkins Estate in Concord. The tree is well known – it’s a common backdrop for wedding photos – but one of its three massive leaders from the tree fell during a storm in 2007. That led to worries that other parts might fall and damage buildings, especially the nearby Carriage House. Bartlett Tree Experts examined it back then and pronounced it safe, but the estate thought it was time to check again. “There was a pocket of rot that we just couldn’t see then,” said Ryan Linehan, general manager of the historic site. “Since it has been over 10 years I had them back out. Technology has come a long way since 2007…”

Des Moines, Iowa, Register, July 25, 2019: Trees, shrubs and soybeans getting eaten up? Blame the late summer outbreak of Japanese beetles and thistle caterpillars

A cool start with some flashes of extreme heat with consistent rain — the summer of 2019 has been a little off-kilter, which has been affecting the insects of Iowa, in turn. Two types of insects, Japanese beetles and thistle caterpillars, have been especially abundant and havoc-wreaking throughout the month of July due to separate anomalous weather events. Japanese beetles generally break out for six to eight weeks in early June, but due to the cool weather at that time, the adult beetles arrived in en mass around the beginning of July. These beetles can cause a grade deal of damage when it comes to linden and crabapple trees, fruit-bearing trees and grapevines (which can pose issues for vineyards) along with other foliate flora. So if a beloved tree or bush has suddenly turned brown party through the summer, these beetles are likely to blame. It’s likely too late to treat for them, but luckily the damaged has passed and it’s not permanent. “For deciduous trees, Japanese beetles feeding on the leaves is disfiguring and stressful,” said Donald Lewis, an entomologist at Iowa State University, “but not fatal…”

Salt Lake City, Utah, Gephardt Daily, July 24, 2019: NASA cuts 385 acres of trees in Florida for a better view of launch pads

NASA has cut down trees on more than 385 acres of Kennedy Space Center in Florida to allow a better view of launch pads where human spaceflight is set to return after a lull of many years. The last astronauts to launch into space from the site were aboard space shuttle Atlantis in 2011. Since then, trees have grown so thick that the view from the press site a few miles away is totally obstructed. On Wednesday, when the media arrived for a SpaceX launch, they noticed a change: a clear view of launch pads. “It looks like it did during the Apollo days, which is a great thing,” said photographer Julian Leek, 65, a freelancer who has worked for such outlets as Ladies’ Home Journal and the Miami Herald over the years. “Back then you could see the pads and the concrete, and now it’s a gorgeous view again. Over the years, the vegetation has been growing and growing,” Leek said. A tree-cutting contract for $80,207 recently was awarded to CORE Engineering and Construction of Winter Park, Fla., according to federal records…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal Constitution, July 24, 2019: Florida workers use tree limb to plug hole in critical water main

When a contractor drilled into a water line in a South Florida city last week, more than 200,000 people in Fort Lauderdale were left without water. City officials were stumped on how to fix the problem, but repair crews came up with a quick solution. Workers were able to keep the city’s water flowing Thursday by using a tree limb as a temporary plug to prevent water from gushing out, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Workers were able to encase the pipe in concrete to stop the water from escaping. “I thought they were very resourceful. They needed a quick fix,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told the newspaper. “The contractor used a wooden plug from a tree,” city spokesman Chaz Adams told the Sun-Sentinel. Rob Hernandez, Fort Lauderdale’s deputy city manager, told the newspaper that when wood interacts with water, it “swells up, forming a plug like a cork.” “The pipe was in good condition other than the area around the hole,” Adams told the Sun-Sentinel. “Once the wooden plug was in place, straps were wrapped around the pipe and over the plug to secure it in place…”

Denton, Texas, Record-Chronicle, July 24, 2019: Trees can’t escape the heat, but they have impressive coping mechanisms

As you dodge sunbeams on a hellaciously hot and humid summer’s day, it’s worth remembering that you have a constant friend willing to take a photon to save you. We refer of course to the humble tree, so seemingly passive and yet so instrumental in getting us through high summer. If its beauty were not enough, or its ability to mitigate greenhouse gases, the shade the tree provides is a real measure of relief from excessive summer heat. It can feel 15 degrees cooler beneath an old oak or maple, and a stand of them can create their own breeze as they forge their own microclimate. In an age of universal air conditioning, the sheltering value of a tree has become less obvious, along with the unperceived phenomena that allow it to ride out the heat wave in a way that we could not. Our forebears understood the value of getting to leafier, higher ground, even before expanses of asphalt and concrete created the heat islands of the modern city. Chip Tynan, horticulturist at the Missouri Botanical Garden, said once-leafy boulevards in St. Louis have had their trees removed in advance of their slow death by the emerald ash borer. “It has created a whole lot of very hot streets,” he said…

Phys.org, July 24, 2019: Picky pathogens help non-native tree species invade

Walk into a forest comprising only native trees, and you probably notice many different tree species around you, with no one species dominating the ecosystem. Such biodiversity—the variety of life and species in the forest—ensures that each species gets a role to play in the ecosystem, boosting forest health and productivity. However, when non-native trees invade, they form dense groups of a single species of tree. This bucks conventional wisdom because, in theory, pathogens—microscopic disease-causing organisms—should prevent this from happening. Trees have many natural enemies, such as herbivores and insects that nibble on their leaves. But their main foes are invisible to the naked eye. In older forests especially, fungal pathogens evolve to attack the seedlings of certain tree species and, over time, accumulate in the soils around the adults, hindering the growth of their seeds. Seeds that fall far away from their parent typically survive better. The pathogens thus help dictate where native trees can grow and prevent some species from dominating others. This effect is part of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis, a widely accepted explanation for the promotion of biodiversity in forests. The theory was developed in the 1970s by ecologists Daniel Janzen and Joseph Connell, who said that species-specific herbivores, pathogens, or other natural enemies make the areas near a tree inhospitable for the survival of its seedlings. If one species becomes too abundant, there will be few safe places for its seedlings to survive, thus promoting the growth of other plant species within one area…

Eugene, Oregon, Register-Guard, July 23, 2019: Drought-stricken trees die in and around Eugene

A string of hot, dry summers has taken a toll on trees in Eugene and surrounding forests in Lane County — and that has foresters and other people who regularly work with or around trees taking notice. “Those of us who do pay attention to trees are getting pretty — no other word for it — freaked out,” said Scott Altenhoff, city of Eugene urban forestry management analyst. “With fire danger, with disease — we’ve been seeing dieback in our forests and trees that historically have done very well (that) are just showing signs of stress.” Drought is killing Douglas fir, Oregon’s signature tree species, as well as grand fir in the Willamette Valley, according to Oregon Department of Forestry research reported earlier this week by the Statesman Journal. State scientists also told the Salem newspaper that drought may be contributing to declines in maple and cedar. Dead trees can be seen along 30th Avenue near Lane Community College, in the south hills, in Hendricks Park, and around other parts of Eugene, Altenhoff said. City officials don’t have a tally of how many trees have been affected by drought so far, but Altenhoff has encouraged planners to institute a monitoring program…

Houston, Texas, Houston Realtors Information Service, July 24, 2019: Tree falls on property line: Who pays? Who picks up the pieces?

When a neighbor’s tree falls over your property line, yell TIMBER, then call your insurance company. Home owners policies cover tree damage caused by perils like wind and winter storms. Most policies cover hauling away tree debris if the mess is associated with house damage; some will cover cleanup even if no structures were harmed. Your neighbor is responsible when a tree falls over your shared property line only if you can prove he was aware that his tree was a hazard and refused to remedy the problem. Regardless, your insurance company restores your property first, and later decides whether or not to pursue reimbursement from the neighbor or his insurer if the neighbor was negligent in maintaining the tree. Write a letter to your neighbor before his dead, diseased or listing tree falls through your roof or over your property line.The letter should include…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, July 23, 2019: What happened to New Mexico’s ‘moon trees’ planted after Apollo 14? Nobody knows.

Five trees planted in New Mexico from seeds taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 mission and given to the state by NASA have all died or been forgotten, according to officials at the locations where the trees were planted decades ago. Officials at New Mexico sites where the trees were planted decades ago admit their agencies since have lost track of the trees and some of them likely died with little notice, KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports. Moon trees were grown from 500 seeds taken into orbit by former U.S. Forest Service elite parachuting forest firefighter Stuart Roosa during the 1971 mission. Roosa and the seeds orbited more than two dozen times around the moon. NASA said the seedlings were planted throughout the U.S. and elsewhere around the world after Apollo 14 returned to Earth. The trees were meant to honor Durango, Colorado-born Roosa, who died in 1994…

Moraga, California, Lamorinda Weekly, July 24, 2019: PG&E responds to concerns about dead and dying trees, outlines plan for outages

Having been contacted by Orinda City Council Member Amy Worth, Pacific Gas and Electric Company has found the money to respond to concerns regarding dead and dying trees near local power lines. In the past PG&E would trim such trees, but removal of the trees was the responsibility of the homeowner or the city upon whose property the tree was located. Now, PG&E says that they will remove such trees, and will haul away the debris left behind, such as the large piles of debris left behind McDonnell Nursery in Orinda. “We’ll take care of that too,” said Tom Guarino from PG&E Public Affairs to Mayor Inga Miller and Worth, who raised the issue during a presentation by Guarino at the July 16 Orinda City Council meeting. According to Tamar Sarkissian, PG&E spokesperson, the new policies also apply to Lafayette and Moraga as well as other high fire threat areas. Crews of contractors have been actively removing trees and debris, taking care to follow regulations regarding the safety of bees and nesting birds, she noted. Guarino also said that the company is looking at locating a Community Resource Center inside the Orinda Community Center, which would also provide a place where Orinda residents could cool off or recharge devices during a power outage…

Jacksonville, Florida, WJXT-TV, July 22, 2019: Florida foresters sound alarm on palm-tree killing disease

Palm trees in line our streets and yards while adding a tropical touch to our region, but could a bacterial disease prevalent in South and Central Florida be targeting the palm trees in our back yard? Lethal bronzing is the name of the bacterial disease that can kill large numbers of palm trees at once. First discovered in the Tampa area over a decade ago, it has now spread to Alachua County. “The disease was originally called Texas Phoenix Palm Decline and it was named that in Texas,” said Larry Figart, an urban forestry agent with the University of Florida-Duval County Extension Service. Figart said the disease is caused by a bacteria-like organism called phytoplasma, which can spread from tree to tree – in part thanks to some help from an insect called a planthopper. Plant hoppers, also known as leafhoppers, are small and often on the move. “They roughly are a quarter of an inch to a half-inch long,” he said. “And what they have are piercing-sucking mouth parts.” Using their mouths, Figart said, planthoppers attach themselves to leaves, remove the sap and move onto another tree, where the cycle repeats. So whatever the insect has is carried from tree to tree…

Corvallis, Oregon, Gazette-Times, July 21, 2019: Oregon State University pauses old growth logging

The head of Oregon State University’s College of Forestry has ordered a temporary stop to the cutting of older trees on the college’s research forests after some ancient trees were felled. The Gazette-Times reports the move came after questions were raised about a logging operation near Corvallis that took down multiple trees more than 200 years old, including one Douglas fir that may date back to 1599. Interim Dean Anthony Davis announced the moratorium in a college memo July 12, about a month after a logging operation was conducted near Sulphur Springs in the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest. Davis says they made a mistake in carrying out the harvest by not considering the future research and ecological benefit of the older trees…

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, July 23, 2019: Jefferson County prepared for ‘tooth and nail’ fight against power lines

Jefferson County commissioners are digging in for a “tooth and nail” fight against a major power line project slated to carve through the rural tight-knit community, amid concerns from a predominantly black neighborhood in its path. The Thompson Valley neighborhood, on the north side of Interstate 10 near the intersection of the Florida-Georgia Parkway, stands in the path of the 176-mile transmission line project by utility giant NextEra Energy. People there are concerned that the company is taking advantage of people as it develops its preferred path for the seven-county power line. Last week, commissioners in the only county in Florida without a stop light unanimously approved a proposed alternate route for the project…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, WESA-FM, July 22, 2019: Persistent Rain Can Cause Tree Root Rot, Early Leaf Drop

Prolonged periods of rain and over-saturation of tree roots can cause root rot, which can impact a tree’s ability to consume water and nutrients. Soil saturation also makes it difficult for roots to breathe. Tree Pittsburgh Director of Urban Forestry Matt Erb said a lack of oxygen can cause roots to die or become infected by bacterial or fungal pathogens and that cause root rot. Root rot is when roots decay, ultimately causing the death of a tree. “If you have a tree that’s already stressed due to storm damage at the top of the tree or an insect or a disease problem, when that tree gets flooded that additional stress is compounded … That stressed tree is more likely to get root rot,” Erb said. Erb said root rot could be a factor in landslides because the root no longer holds onto soil. “A lot of hillsides are forested, and there are large, mature trees there, and those trees are coming down with the soil,” he said…

Providence, Rhode Island, Journal, July 21, 2019: Warwick man sues state over removal of 9 trees for runway expansion

Lawrence Morra likes his trees. And he likes the squirrels and birds that make them home. That is why Morra was so upset in 2017, when the state Department of Transportation at the behest of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation felled nine mature trees on his property as part of the runway extension project. “It was like an emotional bomb was dropped on me,” Morra said July 12, two years to the date the trees were cut down. Morra filed suit this month in U.S. District Court, alleging that the state violated his due process rights by cutting down the trees without fair and just compensation. He is seeking the money he says he is owed, as well as payment for the pain and suffering it caused. His complaint puts his losses at “easily upwards” of $1 million. Though he received $19,000, “It won’t even touch what they did,” he says. Morra’s parents — the late Frank and Argentina Morra — had the Cape-style house at 190 Cole Ave. in Warwick built in 1951 while his mother was pregnant with Lawrence, he says. The trees held memories of his childhood. He planted the blue spruce out front with his father. The silver maple in the backyard, with a trunk so wide it was hard to get his arms around, he planted for his mom. “The squirrels loved it,” he says. Then there was the Norwegian maple and the oak tree. Gone. Morra says Dan Porter, vice president of planning for the Airport Corporation, approached him in 2015 to offer him the fair market value for his home. Porter showed him a map that indicated four trees needed to come down…

Fenton, Michigan, Tri-County Times, July 21, 2019: Tough jobs: tree trimmer

John Hoffman’s chainsaw buzzes, spitting sawdust onto Oak Street 40 feet below. Finally, it cuts through the 10-inch-thick maple tree trunk, leaving the 3,200-pound, 30-foot-tall section floating above him, secured by a heavy crane. On Thursday, July 18, crews with Mosher Outdoor Services set up around 8 a.m. on E. Rockwell and Oak streets to take down several maple trees. Most are crisscrossed with utility lines, and the city of Fenton is paying to have them removed. Tree trimming is one tough job requiring specific knowledge and certifications to be safe on the job. Lining the streets are the crane, wood chipper, bucket truck and trailers with other equipment, like a Ditch Witch for dragging fallen branches across the street to be shredded. Workers use hand signals to communicate and safely operate, and work around heavy equipment. “We conduct a safety/tailgate meeting prior to the start of every job to discuss specific hazards and how the job will be completed,” Nathan Mosher said. “Communication is key during the removal process for the crew…”

Doha, Qatar, The Peninsula, July 21, 2019: Iceland tries to bring back trees razed by the Vikings

Before being colonised by the Vikings, Iceland was lush with forests but the fearsome warriors razed everything to the ground and the nation is now struggling to reforest the island. The country is considered the least forested in Europe; indeed, forests in Iceland are so rare, or their trees so young, that people often joke that those lost in the woods only need to stand up to find their way. However, it wasn’t always that way. When seafaring Vikings set off from Norway and conquered the uninhabited North Atlantic island at the end of the ninth century, forests, made up mostly of birch trees, covered more than a quarter of the island. Within a century, the settlers had cut down 97 percent of the original forests to serve as building material for houses and to make way for grazing pastures. The forests’ recovery has been made all the more difficult by the harsh climate and active volcanoes, which periodically cover the soil with lava and ashes. According to a report published in 2015 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), forests now only cover 0.5 percent of the island’s surface. The lack of trees means there isn’t any vegetation to protect the soil from eroding and to store water, leading to extensive desertification despite the country’s far northern location…

Springfield, Missouri, KOZL-TV, July 21, 2019: Tree thought to be extinct found in the Ozarks

The Ozark Chinquapin is a tree that was thought to be extinct for many years because of a fungal disease. It’s now resurfacing in the Ozarks. “Part of the reason why people thought they’d become extinct is they couldn’t find them,” said Tim Smith with the Ozark Chinquapin Foundation, a foundation focused on preserving the trees. “So how can you tell if a tree is an Ozark Chinquapin? “If you look at the leaf it’s kind of a long slender leaf nice, bristle tips that come out,” Smith said. In addition to the leaves you can also find burrs with spikes on the tree as well. The tree is more than just your average tree found in the Ozarks. It can provide a lot of food for wildlife. “What’s so special about the Ozark Chinquapin is it has a very high food source,” said Smith. “It has more protein, more carbohydrates than a White Oak Acorn which, is considered our number one food source for wildlife right now. “While these trees are found in the Ozarks, the foundation is keeping their location a secret. “Yeah we keep it top secret,” Smith said. “These seeds, especially the cross-pollinated seeds, are more valuable than gold because we’re trying to find something that is 100 percent pure and money can’t buy it…”

Nashville, Tennessee, The Tennessean, July 17, 2019: Commercial developers will have to plant more trees under new Nashville legislation

The Metro Council on Tuesday passed a new ordinance that attempts to slow some of the Nashville’s rapid tree loss from development. The legislation requires commercial developers to replace or plant more trees during construction and gives incentives for saving large trees on commercial projects, which include office, retail, apartments and condominiums. It stops short, however, of bolstering tree regulations for lots with single-family homes and duplexes. Nashville has been grappling with the side effects of the unprecedented real estate development over the past few years: increased traffic, construction sites blocking sidewalks, displacement of low-income renters, and the loss of thousands of trees. From 2008 to 2016, officials from Metro Water Services estimate the city lost 918 acres of tree canopy — the equivalent of 695 football fields…

Peoria, Illinois, WMBD-TV, July 17, 2019: Tree service workers take precaution in excessive heat

With excessive heat in the forecast several people are looking for ways to stay cool, especially tree workers. Bennett and Sons Tree Service employees have a job to do regardless of the temperature, but they take appropriate measures to make sure they are safe. Vitamin B-12 is one supplement workers use in the heat. It’s a tablet that helps keep the body functioning correctly. Workers also wear, dry-wicking clothing, attire made of a material that keeps them cooler. Bennett said he makes sure that his employees take breaks and stressed that their health is most important…

St. Louis, Missouri, KSDK-TV, July 17, 2019: Neighbors complained of dangerous trees for years, then one fell on their house

When the 100-foot-tall tree in Roosevelt Hawkins front yard fell Wednesday night, there was no mistaking something was wrong. “We heard it, and the house was shaking,” Hawkins said. But this was a day Hawkins knew was coming and warned the city. “I have called the city forestry department for two-and-a-half years trying to get these trees taken care of out here,” Hawkins said. “And we called again last month, Nothing. They only said, ‘We got you on the list.'” When we tell Hawkins he’s likely at the top of the list now, he only says “I hope so” with a chuckle. The tree landed with the bulk of its weight on Hawkins’ home, but branches affected the structures on either side too. Now his neighbor, Barbara Harris, worries she might be next as a large tree leans towards her home. “These trees are too big to be in the neighborhood,” Harris said. “They are too big and too old.” Harris said she reported the trees in front of her home as recently as three months ago since branches keep breaking off…

Science News, July 17, 2019: Planting trees could buy more time to fight climate change than thought

A whopping new estimate of the power of planting trees could rearrange to-do lists for fighting climate change. Planting trees on 0.9 billion hectares of land could trap about two-thirds the amount of carbon released by human activities since the start of the Industrial Revolution, a new study finds. The planet has that much tree-friendly land available for use. Without knocking down cities or taking over farms or natural grasslands, reforested pieces could add up to new tree cover totaling just about the area of the United States, researchers report in the July 5 Science. The new calculation boosts tree planting to a top priority for gaining some time to fight climate change, says coauthor Tom Crowther, an ecologist at ETH Zurich. The study used satellite images to see how densely trees grow naturally in various ecosystems. Extrapolating from those images showed how much forest similar land could support. Plant a mix of native species, he urges. That will help preserve the birds, insects and other local creatures. The analysis revealed space to nourish enough trees to capture some 205 metric gigatons of carbon in about a century. That’s close to 10 times the savings expected from managing refrigerants, the top item on a list of climate-fighting strategies from the nonprofit Project Drawdown, a worldwide network of scientists, advocates and others proposing solutions to global warming…

Cleveland, Ohio, WOIO-TV, July 16, 2019: Walmart and Rural King recall potentially diseased rhododendron plants after sudden death of oak tree

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), in coordination with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, detected a sudden oak death caused by rhododendron plants shipped to Walmart and Rural King stores throughout the state. Both retailers have agreed to initiate a voluntary recall of plants from their stores. It was recently confirmed that Ohio is one of several Midwest states that have received infected plant material. Approximately 1,600 rhododendron plants from the infected nursery were shipped to Ohio retailers. This shipment went to at least 17 other states. Gardeners and homeowners who have recently purchased a rhododendron from Walmart or Rural King should monitor the plant for signs of disease, including leaf spots and shoot dieback. It is also advised that Ohioans who purchased rhododendrons or lilac plants from these stores between March and May of this year should dispose of them to prevent further spread of the disease. Plants can be destroyed by burning, deep burial or double-bagging the plant, including the root ball, in heavy duty trash bags…

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, July 16, 2019: Jacksonville man claims city contractor removed wrong tree from his property

Is this a case of the contractor removed the wrong tree? Larry Dixon said he was surprised to find a city hired a tree contractor at his West Jacksonville home removing his Pecan tree. “I’m very frustrated,” Dixon said. Dixon said his battle with the city’s Municipal Code Enforcement Division began in March. He said he contacted the city about two trees in the city’s right-of-way because they look like they’re dying. He said that’s when he was given a citation for the dead branches on his maple tree. “I reported their trees and they gave me a citation for mine, that is correct,” said Dixon. In April, his citation was referred to abatement. Last Thursday a city contractor showed up and removed his pecan tree, not the maple with its dead branches. “I said ‘stop that’s the wrong tree,'” Dixon said. “It is the wrong tree. The tree did not have a dead leaf on it.” Five days after cutting down the tree, the same the contractor was back removing the debris…

Phys.org, July 16, 2019: Should we resurrect the American chestnut tree with genetic engineering?

The wild chestnuts around this leafy college town used to grow in such great numbers that locals collected the nuts by the bushel and shipped them off to New York City for a small fortune. These days, though, it can be hard to find a single tree thanks to a devastating blight imported from Asia in the late 1800s. “Every fall, I look for the burs,” said Neil Patterson of the Tuscarora Nation, a Native American tribe that has lived in the region for centuries. His ancestors depended on the trees for food and medicine. But in 10 years of searching, he’s never found the spiny pods that hold the chestnut’s prized fruit. Soon, scientists at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry here could change that. They say they’ve found a way to resurrect the chestnut by giving it a gene from wheat that shields it from the blight’s poison. If the federal government gives its blessing, these genetically engineered trees could be ready to plant in a few short years. It would mark the first use of the technology for ecological restoration, and probably not the last…

Kansas City, Kansas, WDAF-TV, July 16, 2019: KCK man gets outpouring of support from community after botched tree removal

Volunteers are stepping up to help a single father of four in KCK. He hired a man to cut down a tree, but the tree fell on his house. Now thanks to viewers it could soon be a problem solved! Outside, you could see a man hammering wood where none previously stood. Inside, volunteers were in each bedroom of the house repairing the walls and patching holes. AJ Reese is happy to see his home is a construction zone after FOX4 viewers saw his story. “I just started receiving calls after they saw it for the second or third time,” Reese said. “They saw the story, and I just started receiving calls. Over 25 calls of people that want to come and help and give them their all.” Reese has until July 25 to make the home safe for his four sons, or the city will force him to leave because the building was deemed unfit after the incident. “Getting in and helping someone when they’re down and out and need it, you know that’s just the thing to do,” retired construction worker Jack Reed said. “Come help,” Roberto Chavez, owner of Chavez Renovation, said. “It’s just donating time that you’ve got plenty of…”

Miami, Florida, New Times, July 15, 2019: State Says No to New Tree Regulations, but Miami Plans to Enforce Its Own Laws

From the oaks of Coconut Grove to the mahoganies of the Upper Eastside, the trees in Miami give each neighborhood a distinctive flair. So, for years, the City of Miami — which is designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation — has passed myriad regulations protecting the canopy and preventing residents from chopping down trees without significant approval. That could soon change: Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature passed a bill to bar local municipalities from regulating tree removals on residential properties. House Bill 1159, also known as the Private Property Rights Protection Act, went into effect July 1. Under the new legislation, municipal governments are not allowed to require any permits, notice, or approval from residents who wish to remove dangerous trees from their properties. All a homeowner needs is a report from a certified arborist or landscape architect who says the tree poses a danger. Current Miami law says that unless residents can prove a tree is dangerous, they have to pay for a number of surveys and mitigation practices that some consider far too onerous. “My clients have to spend thousands of dollars just to remove one tree from their property,” says Ron von Paulus, a certified arborist and the owner of Big Ron’s Tree Service. “They need to get a land survey, a tree survey, a tree risk assessment, and still have to mitigate by planting trees or donating to the tree trust fund. That’s already over $3,000…”

Phys.org, July 16, 2019: Joshua trees facing extinction

They outlived mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. But without dramatic action to reduce climate change, new research shows Joshua trees won’t survive much past this century. UC Riverside scientists wanted to verify earlier studies predicting global warming’s deadly effect on the namesake trees that millions flock to see every year in Joshua Tree National Park. They also wanted to learn whether the trees are already in trouble. Using multiple methods, the study arrived at several possible outcomes. In the best-case scenario, major efforts to reduce heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere would save 19 percent of the tree habitat after the year 2070. In the worst case, with no reduction in carbon emissions, the park would retain a mere 0.02 percent of its Joshua tree habitat. The team’s findings were published recently in Ecosphere. Project lead Lynn Sweet, a UCR plant ecologist, said she hopes the study inspires people to take protective environmental action. “The fate of these unusual, amazing trees is in all of our hands,” she said. “Their numbers will decline, but how much depends on us…”

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, July 15, 2019: Kingston ‘palm tree’ has people wondering if they’re really in Miami

The towering spruce tree on Mark Cyr’s Main Street property has passersby doing a double-take. The tree was recently stripped of its branches as Unitil prepares to have it removed before it threatens nearby power lines, but crews couldn’t reach the top. With all of the branches gone and the tip left untouched, the tree looks more like a palm tree. “People walk by and look at the palm tree,” Cyr said. The tree transformation on Cyr’s property at 159 Main St. happened about a month ago. At the time, the tree-cutting crew didn’t have a bucket that could go high enough to reach the top. The rest of the branches were cut, but workers had to leave the top alone until they could get a truck with a bucket that would extend that far. The result was a palm tree that makes traveling Main Street feel more like cruising a street in Florida, especially with the summer heat that’s gripping New Hampshire and is expected to worsen later this week. “When a spruce like that needs to be removed, the typical practice is to remove all the limbs first and take the tree down in chunks; this makes it much easier to safely control the removal and keep branches falling in unexpected directions, like onto the lines of other peoples’ property,” said Unitil spokesman Alec O’Meara…

Omaha, Nebraska, World Herald, July 15, 2019: Should we resurrect the American chestnut tree with genetic engineering?

The wild chestnuts around this leafy college town used to grow in such great numbers that locals collected the nuts by the bushel and shipped them off to New York City for a small fortune. These days, though, it can be hard to find a single tree thanks to a devastating blight imported from Asia in the late 1800s. “Every fall, I look for the burs,” said Neil Patterson of the Tuscarora Nation, a Native American tribe that has lived in the region for centuries. His ancestors depended on the trees for food and medicine. But in 10 years of searching, he’s never found the spiny pods that hold the chestnut’s prized fruit. Soon, scientists at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry here could change that. They say they’ve found a way to resurrect the chestnut by giving it a gene from wheat that shields it from the blight’s poison. If the federal government gives its blessing, these genetically engineered trees could be ready to plant in a few short years. It would mark the first use of the technology for ecological restoration, and probably not the last. Across the country, forests face growing threats from invasive pests, diseases and climate change. Elm, ash, oak, hemlock and whitebark pine are all dying in huge numbers…

Bakersfield, California, Californian, July 14, 2019: As trees die in Sequoia, Forest Service hopes new plan will save the ecosystem

A massive tree die-off in both the Sierra and Sequoia national forests have caused officials to revise a plan meant to save the parks as climate conditions have worsened. Across the state, about 147 million trees lie standing dead, according to a report by the U.S. Forest Service, with about 1.4 million acres of the destruction concentrated in both national forests. A drought starting in 2011, combined with mismanagement of the forests by the Forest Service, left trees vulnerable to intense fire hazards and bark beetle infestations, the report said. Around 2015, “the Sequoia and Sierra National forests began seeing die-offs at an alarming rate,” the report said. “Scientists are monitoring the massive tree die-off in the Sierra Nevada and warn that climate change impacts over the next decade will increase the threat of ongoing mortality in the region.” The Forest Service is in the process of devising two plans meant to restore the parks to healthy ecosystems. Its current management plan was last updated in 1990, and park officials consider it to be out of date. Among other flaws, the agency’s policy of suppressing fires within the parks allowed both Sequoia and Sierra forests to become too overgrown, which increased the risk of catastrophic wildfires and beetle infestations, according to the Forest Service’s own report…

Chicago, Illinois, WBBM-TV, July 14, 2019: West Lawn homeowner in need of tree trimming months after asking City for help

Low-hanging tree branches are a big cause of concern for a West Lawn homeowner. After months of asking the city for help, signs were put up and the service was scheduled. But the work still did not get done at 65th and Hamlin, where a trio of trees with branches draped over Eddie Guillen’s property. Orange no parking notices were posted on these trees indicating work would be done to trim the branches, days later, tickets were issued, the signs were removed, but these tree branches are still untouched. “How long? How many more months?” Guillen questioned. The West Lawn homeowner told CBS 2 he’s been asking the city to trim them since April, before something bad happens. “One of the branches falling down, hitting the house,” Guillen said…

Chicago, Illinois, WBEZ Radio, July 11, 2019: Andersonville neighbors hope State rule change can save Chicago Trees

Andersonville neighbors Tamara Schiller and Lesley Ames were heartbroken when they got the letter from their alderman on June 18. It read: “After exhausting all options and alternatives, the Department of Water Management has determined that the trees on Balmoral, Summerdale, Berwyn and Farragut listed below will have to be removed…” The two neighbors had been working for months to protect the trees from removal by the water department for infrastructure work. The letter from Chicago Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th Ward, felt like a final defeat and the certain loss of some of the neighborhood’s biggest and oldest trees — more than a dozen on adjoining blocks. But, by early July, they got word that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office had put a temporary hold on the tree cutting to await the outcome of a proposed state rule change due for a hearing on July 16. If accepted, it would explicitly offer municipalities less disruptive repair methods. In Chicago, the proposed rule change could save more than 100 trees across the city slated to be removed this summer. This inspired Ames to write a letter of her own to Lightfoot on July 3…

Richmond, Virginia, Associated Press, July 14, 2019: Virginia launches new forestry program to help James River

Virginia is trying to protect its longest river by launching a new program to plant 900 acres of trees, shrubs and other vegetation along waterways. Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday an initiative to plant forested buffers in the James River watershed between Lynchburg and Richmond. The Virginia Department of Forestry is partnering with the James River Association on the project, which is part of a $15 million, multi-year plan to improve the river’s quality. The buffers slow flood water, filter runoff, and provide shade and shelter to wildlife. The 340-mile long James is fed by 15,000 miles of tributaries…

Denver, Colorado, KMGH-TV, July 11, 2019: Developer chops off multiple branches from neighbor’s tree in Potter Highlands Historic District

The pounding of hammers and whirring of saws constantly echo throughout the Potter Highlands Historic District, where several homes and duplexes are under construction. Longtime resident Michele Gabriel is trying to get acclimated to the noise, and to other impacts. “I grew up in this neighborhood,” she said. “I lived in the house (catty corner) that got torn down.” She told Contact7 that a tall evergreen tree in her front yard has become a victim to that growth. “When my husband asked me this morning if I knew our tree had been trimmed, I said, ‘no,'” she said. Ms. Gabriel was stunned when she looked up and noticed that multiple branches had been removed on the south side of the trunk, leaving a gap about two stories tall. “It’s been mutilated,” she said. “It’s asymmetrical now and just unsightly…”

Albany, New York, WAMC Radio, July 11, 2019: Appellate Court Rules Cutting Trees To Create Trails In Adirondack Forest Preserve Unconstitutional

In 2013, Protect the Adirondacks filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of New York state’s plan to cut trees in the Forest Preserve and build nearly 27 miles of snowmobile trails. The New York Appellate Court issued a split decision recently, ruling that while building the trails did not violate the state constitution, the planned destruction of timber did. The New York state Constitution’s Article 14 states that Forest Preserve lands “..shall be forever kept as wild forest lands…nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.” Protect the Adirondacks had filed suit against a DEC plan to construct snowmobile trails, arguing it would mean cutting more than 25,000 trees, or timber, at least three inches in diameter. The Appellate Court determined that construction of the trails would result in “…an unconstitutional destruction of timber in the Forest Preserve.” Executive Director Peter Bauer says the ruling is important because only two other decisions over the past 75 years have set precedent for tree cutting on the Forest Preserve. “This case actually expanded upon and provided greater definition for the protection of trees on the Forest Preserve. Those trees need protection. The Constitution doesn’t say what trees are protected and what trees are not protected or that only some trees are protected or some trees are not protected. The Constitution says the trees on the Forest Preserve are protected. Of course the state of New York can cut trees for its management activities but in this case cutting 25,000 trees went over any reasonable standard…”

Southern Pines, North Carolina, Pilot, July 11, 2019: Sycamore Tree Stump Granted Clemency

The loss of a century-old sycamore tree in downtown Southern Pines was inevitable. The massive branches had deteriorated over time, damaged by bacterial leaf scorch, a condition common to sycamores in this area. On Sunday at dawn, a professional tree removal service will remove everything down to the eight-foot mark. The sycamore stump — with its textured bark and rumpled roots — will then be reborn to serve a new purpose, said Suzanne Coleman, who oversees the town’s Welcome Center and is spearheading a grassroots initiative to convert the spot into a new Free Little Library site. Coleman was inspired by Sharalee Armitage Howard, an artist and librarian from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, who turned a 110-year old cottonwood stump in her yard into a tiny library. The project involved carving bookshelves into the stump, then adding lighting, a small door and a shingled roof. Earlier this week, she reached out to Southern Pines Town Manager Reagan Parsons and said he accepted her proposal…

Sarasota, Florida, Herald Tribune, July 11, 2019: North Port tree ordinance discussion touches on private property rights

As part of the rewrite for the city of North Port’s tree protection regulations, the City Commission has decided to base the ordinance on Sarasota County’s. The city is working to maintain 35% tree coverage within the city limits — including private property, parks and other public land. A survey of tree coverage within the 1997 city limits using i-Tree Canopy, which can be found at canopy.itreetools.org, estimated that in 1995, tree coverage was at 41.2 percent. That year was chosen because an aerial photo from 1997 was not available. In 2019, the tree coverage in that same area was only 35.6%. That survey does not include two major annexations — Warm Mineral Springs Park and Taylor Ranch, where the West Villages is being developed. While North Port’s draft ordinance is modeled after Sarasota County’s, ordinances for three other platted communities — Deltona, Key Biscayne and Port St. Lucie — were also reviewed…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2019: PG&E Knew for Years Its Lines Could Spark Wildfires, and Didn’t Fix ThemPG&E Corp. knew for years that hundreds of miles of high-voltage power lines could fail and spark fires, yet it repeatedly failed to perform the necessary upgrades

Documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal under the Freedom of Information Act and in connection with a regulatory dispute over PG&E’s spending on its electrical grid show that the company has long been aware that parts of its 18,500-mile transmission system have reached the end of their useful lives. The failure last year of a century-old transmission line that sparked a wildfire, killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise wasn’t an aberration, the documents show. A year earlier, PG&E executives conceded to a state lawyer that the company needed to process many projects, all at once, to prevent system failures—a problem they said could be likened to a “pig in the python.” Even before November’s deadly fire, the documents show, the company knew that 49 of the steel towers that carry the electrical line that failed needed to be replaced entirely. In a 2017 internal presentation, the large San Francisco-based utility estimated that its transmission towers were an average of 68 years old. Their mean life expectancy was 65 years. The oldest steel towers were 108 years old…

Washington, D.C., WTOP Radio, July 10, 2019: Is standing water threatening your tree? Know the warning signs

Standing water can damage or drown tree roots after about a week, warns an arborist from Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. “Trees breathe through their roots, like you and I breathe through our lungs,” said Lou Meyer, assistant district manager of the Davey Tree Expert Company. “A full week of standing water — that’s when you need to get really concerned.” Oversaturated soil can asphyxiate and kill a tree, lead to root rot or prevent an appropriate intake of nutrition. To help prevent flooding, consider getting or adjusting downspouts on your home to redirect water away from a tree. Other options include creating a small berm of soil around the tree to divert water, or installing a French drain system or dry well to slowly absorb water underground…

Washington, D.C., WTTG-TV, July 10, 2019: Exclusive: Documents show warnings on Arlington path where tree limb killed woman

FOX 5 obtained county Parks and Recreation Department work orders that show numerous complaints about low-hanging or falling limbs on a path just weeks before a woman was killed there last month. The woman, 67-year-old Louise Peabody, died after a limb from an 80-foot oak tree fell on her on June 27 at Lucky Run Park off South Walter Reed Drive. In the days after Peabody’s death, Arlington County officials told FOX 5 the most recent complaint was received in May 2018, but now a county spokeswoman says that information was not as detailed as what FOX 5 uncovered through a public records request. A complaint on June 6 documents “a partially fallen tree over the trail.” County officials say they respond to tree complaints regularly and maintain they never got a complaint about the tree that killed Peabody. They also say they examined the limb and determined it was healthy…

Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer, July 10, 2019: Duke Energy sued for halting work on a Lake Norman home — due to a tree, owner says

A Lake Norman property owner is suing Duke Energy for ordering him to remove his $10,000 dock and halt the planned construction of a $342,000 home — all because his landscapers mistakenly cut down a tree, he says in a federal lawsuit. Douglas Ehmann says in the lawsuit that “as a result of the inadvertent cutting of one tree,” Duke “unilaterally, capriciously, and unfairly revoked” his pier permit for five years and “ordered a hold” on a building permit for the home. The property is off N.C. 73 in the Tranquil Cove subdivision in Huntersville. Ehmann claims in the lawsuit that spite might also be involved: The Duke Energy official who revoked his dock permit lives just across the cove from his land “and has developed a personal animosity” toward him, according to the lawsuit, which does not elaborate…

Norwalk, Connecticut, News-Times, July 2, 2019: Redding resident sues Eversource over tree cutting

A resident has filed a complaint against Eversource because she says the company overcut the trees in town and is worried the same thing will happen this summer. The trimming was done as part of the company’s standard four-year maintenance cycle in 2015. At the time, a lot of residents complained the work was done too aggressive, especially along scenic roads, while town officials said it was needed to keep trees from falling on power lines. In her complaint filed Monday, resident Nancy Burton called the 2015 effort a “massive tree-cutting campaign” that removed sides of trees that were at least 30 feet tall along many roadways. A judge denied her request to delay the trimming for this current management cycle on Monday. Though Eversource officials are still reviewing the complaint, the company has voluntarily suspended the tree trimming work near her home, said Tricia Taskey Modifica, Eversource’s Connecticut media relations manager. “The work scheduled to be done in the front of Ms. Burton’s property is crucial as we’ve identified trees that are coming in contact with our electric lines,” Taskey Modifica said. “It’s also important to note, our vegetation management practices are designed to meet the stringent guidelines approved by our regulators to ensure proper clearances between limbs and power lines, and to maintain safe operation of our system and reliability for our customers…”

New York City, Patch.com, July 2, 2019: NYC Takes More Than A Year To Fix Tree-Damaged Sidewalks: Audit

New York City’s Parks Department takes months to inspect tree-damaged sidewalks and more than a year on average to fix them, an audit has found. The department took an average of 419 days — or roughly a year and two months — to repair sidewalks busted by tree roots in the 2017 fiscal year, with one fix taking more than a decade to finish, according to the audit City Comptroller Scott Stringer released Monday. Those repairs came along with lengthy waits for inspectors to even check out the damage, the audit found. It took the Parks Department an average of 101 days to inspect sidewalks in response to homeowners’ service requests — more than triple the department’s own 30-day target, the comptroller’s office says. “Our street trees are some of our most vibrant neighborhood markers, yet New Yorkers often have to wait more than a year for basic maintenance,” Stringer, a Democrat, said in a statement. “That delay could be the difference between an accident and a safe walk or passage for a stroller or a wheelchair. We can’t wait until the worst happens…”

Rockford, Illinois, Register Star, July 2, 2019: Pathogen that kills oak trees found in Freeport

A pathogen that has ravaged large tracts of oak trees and native plant species in Oregon, California and Europe has been discovered in Stephenson County. The pathogen causes Sudden Oak Death, a disease that fatally infects the trunk of oak trees and non-lethally affects other types of trees. It’s been confirmed in ornamental plants at 10 Walmart locations across the state, including Freeport, according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. “The pathogen, Phyopthera ramorum, can cause both a blight and sudden death, depending on the host,” Diane Plewa, diagnostician at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic, said in the release. “Because (the pathogen) has only been detected on non-oak hosts, the disease Ramorum blight has been confirmed in Illinois but not the disease Sudden Oak Death. Currently, there is no evidence that any oak trees in Illinois are infected at this point.” Department of Agriculture staff members began testing plants in late May, and a number of varieties of rhododendrons and lilacs have since been confirmed as carriers of the disease, though the disease can infect more than 100 different plant species. Plants that are confirmed carriers are being kept by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for later disposal, or have been destroyed on site…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal-Constitution, July 2, 2019: Developer illegally cut down thousands of trees near river, county officials say

DeKalb County officials have ordered a Michigan-based developer to stop work on a 100-acre lot off Moreland Avenue, where they say thousands of trees were cut down without the proper permits. Channel 2 Action News reported that earlier this year, the county alerted property owner Crown Enterprises to several possible environmental law violations. DeKalb’s Department of Planning and Sustainability warned of fines of up to $2,500 per day, and showed photos of illegal tree harvesting. “I can’t understand, number one, how a company could have so little regard for the environment and so little regard for the law,” Carol Hayes, the elected district supervisor for DeKalb Soil and Water Conservation, told Channel 2. She said Crown did not have permission or permits to disturb more than 50 acres on the site, which is near the South River in southern DeKalb County…

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant, July 1, 2019: Man killed by falling tree limb in Fairfield

Fairfield Police said a man is dead after a tree limb fell on his vehicle Sunday afternoon. David L. Schmerzler, 54, of Fairfield was struck by the falling limb just after 2 p.m. as he, his wife and daughter were driving down Sturges Highway. Police said a large tree limb from a Sassafrass tree landed on the vehicle. Police said Schmerzler was unconscious when they arrived on scene and transported to Norwalk Hospital. He was pronounced dead at Norwalk Hospital at 3:18 p.m. Schmerzler’s wife, Donna, sustained minor injuries. It is believed that the tree limb broke off as a result of strong winds Sunday afternoon. Over the weekend, two days of powerful thunderstorms pummeled southern Connecticut downing trees and power lines. The damage at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport was so extensive that state officials were forced to close the popular park Sunday for repairs…

Bakersfield, California, Californian, July 1, 2019: Shade from trees a rare but coveted commodity in Bakersfield parking lots

The temperature was flirting with triple digits when Rob Johnson pulled into a parking spot about as far from the front of the Lowe’s store as a customer could get. Johnson didn’t mind the walk to the front door of the home improvement store at College Center in east Bakersfield. Finding a well-shaded parking spot was easily worth the inconvenience. “When you park in the sun, the car’s like an oven when you get back in it,” he said. “I look for shade. Every time.” At River Run Plaza at Coffee Road and Olive Drive, Kulwant Singh Sangha used the same strategy. He parked beneath a tree with a healthy shade canopy, even though it was in mid-lot, a bit of a walk to the Albertson’s. “I see people parking $100,000 cars in the sun. I like the shade,” he said. It’s a dance that’s played out in parking lots all over Bakersfield during the scorching summer months. The shaded spots are like gold, and some shoppers will cruise until they find one. Unfortunately, large shade trees are too often a rare luxury in the city’s myriad commercial parking lots…

Oakland, Michigan, Press, July 1, 2019: Cracks in tree bark are common, but you can help prevent them

Q: I have a small, 4-foot-tall maple in my yard that has a crack in the bark on the southwest side. The crack is vertical and at least 8 inches long. Do I cover this crack with paint or pruning sealer to prevent an infection? Some of the bark appears to be loose. I do not think the crack was there in the fall. What caused it? Can I prevent more cracks in the future?
A: Cracks on young trees with thin, smooth bark are common. If what you say is correct, the crack happened over the winter. Extreme cold weather makes the bark and wood in the trunk contract. Then sun warms the south, west or southwest side of the tree and the bark expands before the wood underneath. The bark is ripped away from the contracted wood, but the damage doesn’t appear until the trunk grows in circumference. Now, you’ve got a crack. In most cases, damage is not severe. The phloem and xylem that transport moisture and nutrients up and down the tree run vertically. If the crack ran horizontally, it would be devastating. Trees do not get infections, but moisture and insects can collect under the bark can, to the detriment of the tree…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV, July 1, 2019: Iowa park uses goats to help eradicate invasive species

For the humans, some of the foliage growing among the trees in Loomis Park are invasive species that shouldn’t be there. For the herd of goats grazing there, that foliage is lunch, dinner, breakfast and snacks. The Hungry Herd, owned by Doug Bartels, of Lytton, made its first appearance at the park along the Des Moines River last year. This year, there are 33 goats including nine kids. Last year’s herd was 68 goats including 16 kids. Lori Branderhorst, Fort Dodge’s director of parks, recreation and forestry, said the goats are a great way to get an area cleared out economically and environmentally. “It’s $2.75 per head per day,” she said. “It’s a pretty economical way to get work done. It’s pretty much a non-budget project…”

Honolulu, Hawaii, NBC News, June 30, 2019: Sacred Hawaiian tree species threatened by deadly fungus; tourists can help save it

A deadly fungus threatens one of Hawaii’s most beloved and important species, the ʻōhiʻa tree, and those believed responsible for introducing the threat to the tree in the first place are now being asked to help save it — tourists. The native ʻōhiʻa is sacred to Hawaiians as a cultural touchstone and ecological underpinning for the state’s lush forests and abundant wildlife. The flowering evergreens that can tower to 85 feet comprise 80 percent of the state’s canopy, covering 1 million acres, and its nectar sustains birds and insects found nowhere else on Earth. Now, public agencies and private citizens are trying to avoid biological and economic catastrophe by proclaiming war against a deadly fungal disease coined “rapid ʻōhiʻa death,” or ROD, that is swiftly destroying the trees. What’s more, invasive species like the miconia tree, native to North and South America and called the “green cancer” of Hawaii’s forests, are choking out the ʻōhiʻa…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, June 29, 2019: Don’t pile it on when mulching around a tree

To help a tree or shrub, spread mulch over its roots the right way — as a layer, not a mountain. “All too often, you see mulch heaped up around a tree’s trunk,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “It looks sort of like a volcano. And it’s bad news for the tree.” The heaped-up mulch makes the tree’s bark vulnerable to insects, diseases, burrowing rodents and rot. Bark may look tough, but it can easily be damaged. If the bark is penetrated, disease-carrying organisms can enter the tree. “A pile of mulch traps moisture and creates perfect conditions for pests and pathogens,” Yiesla said. Small animals can burrow through it to chew the bark. Too-deep mulch also can block oxygen and water from getting into the soil to reach the plant’s roots. Unfortunately, “volcano mulching” is very common, even in some professionally tended landscapes. “Homeowners see it everywhere, so they may assume it’s the right way to mulch,” she said. “It’s not…”

Richmond, Virginia, Times-Dispatch, June 28, 2019: Man pleads guilty to cutting down tree with eagle’s nest in King William

A Mechanicsville man who cut down a tree with an eagle’s nest in it last year pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to a misdemeanor charge of taking a bald eagle nest. Edwin A. Mills, 63, was fined $1,000 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Roderick C. Young, a punishment recommended by both the government and Mills’ lawyer. The maximum punishment is one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Details were not available, but Mills’ lawyer, Robert A. Peay, said the tree was located on private property on a Mills’ family farm near the 160-acre Hollyfield Solar facility in King William County. Peay said Mills was concerned for the safety of two small dogs owned by his daughter, who was living on the property last year…

Naples, Florida, Daily News, June 29, 2019: Does board need membership approval to remove a dead tree?

Q: Our community has many large, mature and beautiful trees, one of which is on my property, but has now died. The association denied my request to remove the tree, even though I received a report from a professional that the tree was dead. With it being hurricane season, I am worried that a strong storm will cause the tree to fall on my villa. Does the board need membership approval to remove a dead tree within my property line? S.B., Naples
A: It would be very unusual for the governing documents to require membership approval to remove a tree. There is no law that requires membership approval to remove a tree. Moreover, if you are in a condominium, the Division of Condominiums gives boards broad latitude to alter landscaping without approval of the membership. In this case, if you have not already done so I would suggest that you provide the report regarding the tree to the association and request that they either remove the tree or give you permission to remove it. If they fail to do either and the compromised tree does fall and damage your home, the association could be deemed negligent for failing to correct the problem. Also, keep in mind some counties require a permit to remove trees, so you should check with your county on that issue…

San Diego, California, San Diego Reader, June 26, 2019: San Diego’s unsupervised tree trimming

The ungraceful demise of La Jolla’s semi-famous Lorax Tree may be only the beginning. San Diego’s urban forest has grown increasingly unruly, and much of the blame lies with not knowing what’s going on among the branches at the top of the city’s organization tree, says a new audit. “According to the most recent estimate of the street tree inventory, there are over 200,000 street trees in the public right-of-way,” per a May 31 report by interim city auditor Kyle Elser. “Just over 20 percent of the street trees are some type of palm tree, and the other 80 percent are considered shade trees.” Vested with the responsibility of taking care of most of that greenery is the Urban Forestry team of the city’s Street Division, with an annual goal of trimming 44,000 trees by way of a $2.4 million outsourcing contract. But the city “does not have sufficient contract administration to provide assurance that the vendor responsible for tree maintenance is meeting contractual obligations.” In addition, “invoice documentation provided by the Contractor for palm trees does not provide sufficient documentation of work performed to determine whether tree maintenance was billed at the correct rate…”

Washington, D.C., Post, June 27, 2019: Woman killed by falling oak tree limb in South Arlington park

A falling oak tree limb struck and killed a woman Thursday afternoon as she walked along a path in a South Arlington park, county officials said. The limb fell from an 80-foot tree in the Lucky Run Park, a narrow wooded stretch that runs alongside South Walter Reed Drive near Route 7. Firefighters responded to the scene about 1:45 p.m. and took the woman to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, authorities said in a statement. Officials did not release the woman’s name. “Arlington County is heartbroken that a community member was struck by a falling tree limb in a park this afternoon. Our condolences and thoughts are with the family,” the statement said. The path is surrounded by residential properties and connects to a network of paved paths frequented by walkers, runners and bikers…