News Links – 2019

 

San Diego, California, Tribune, March 12, 2019: No criminal charges for PG&E in 2017 Northern California wildfires, prosecutors say

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will not face criminal charges in the Northern California wildfires that killed more than 40 people in October 2017, authorities said. The Sonoma County district attorney’s office said in a statement Tuesday that there was “insufficient evidence” to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the utility acted with reckless disregard for human life in causing the fires. Prosecutors in Napa, Humboldt and Lake counties also declined to file charges after an “extensive” review of the cases, during which they consulted with the state attorney general’s office, the statement said. In a court filing in December, Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s office had said the utility could be charged with murder or involuntary manslaughter if authorities determine that recent deadly California wildfires ignited as a result of the “reckless” operation or maintenance of power lines. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection determined that the utility’s equipment caused many of the massive wine country wildfires and referred the cases to prosecutors in each county. Of the fires that originated in Sonoma, Cal Fire concluded that the utility’s equipment caused the Adobe, Norrbom, Pocket, and Pythian/Oakmont fires, but not the Nuns or Thirty Seven fires, nor the Tubbs fire that started in Napa…

Atlas Obscura, March 12, 2019: The life of a historic Los Angeles tree comes to an end

Since 1875, the four Moreton Bay fig trees at El Pueblo de Los Angeles—the site where the Spanish pueblo that became Los Angeles was founded in the 18th century—have been providing residents of the California city with shade and horticultural beauty. Planted by Elijah Hook Workman after arriving from Australia 144 years ago, the trees were initially part of a project to beautify the plaza, reported KCET. In addition, the Los Angeles Times notes that planting the trees helped foster the 19th-century narrative that anything could grow in the agricultural oasis of Southern California. And for almost a century and a half, the four trees endured, until March 2, 2019. During a Chinese lantern festival in the plaza, guests heard the thundering snap of one of the trees careening to the ground. The once magnificent tree was now making a slow descent to the earth, with Chinese lanterns dangling from its branches…

Coos Bay, Oregon, The World, March 12, 2019: Douglas-fir pest outbreak looms in April if landowners don’t remove storm-toppled trees

This winter’s heavy snow and wind have knocked down many trees across the state. This has set up perfect conditions for an outbreak of Douglas-fir beetle unless landowners act quickly to either remove the downed or damaged trees or apply an insect pheromone to drive away the pest. Forest Entomologist Christine Buhl is with the Oregon Department of Forestry. Buhl said that while the beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae) is native to the Northwest, its population can soar when living large-diameter Douglas-fir trees are thrown to the ground. “Normally this pest is scattered on the landscape wherever Douglas-fir grows,” said Buhl. “However, they tend to concentrate in tree stands where there has been a lot of storm damage…”

The Scientist, March 12, 2019: Climate Change Impairs Trees’ Recovery from Wildfires

Soil, temperature, and humidity conditions driven by climate change have made it more difficult for Douglas fire and ponderosa pine seedlings to establish themselves after a forest fire, researchers reported yesterday (March 11) in PNAS. At some locations in the western US, a “critical climate threshold” has already been surpassed over the past 20 years, meaning forests may not return after wildfires. “Maybe in areas where there are really abundant seed sources, there could be some trees, but it is becoming really hard to get these trees back due to climate change,” coauthor Kim Davis, a postdoc at the University of Montana, tells CNN. Davis and her colleagues analyzed tree rings sampled from nearly 3,000 trees in the Rockies and California from 1988–2015 to figure out when the trees had established themselves. When comparing regeneration after wildfires to annual climate conditions at their study sites, they found certain thresholds for summer humidity and temperature (too high) and soil moisture (too low) beyond which it became difficult for new trees to grow after a fire. “Across the study region, seasonal to annual climate conditions from the early 1990s through 2015 have crossed these climate thresholds at the majority of sites, indicating conditions that are increasingly unsuitable for tree regeneration, particularly for ponderosa pine,” the authors write in their report…

Nashua, New Hampshire, Telegraph, March 11, 2019: Tree-cutting planned in Amherst

Eversource wants to remove about 26 trees from Amherst scenic roads, including Mack Hill, Green, Lyndeborough, County and Pond Parish, and the utility has asked the planning board to hold a hearing in advance. Three years ago, plans for cutting 70 trees for a Pond Parish Road rebuilding project drew many people to a hearing to protest the potential loss of their three canopy. “My goal is to not have this room overwhelmed with people,” said community development director Gordon Leedy, who asked the board to have more than one hearing. “It’s literally every scenic road in town.” Eversource has sent letters to all affected property owners and will be targeting dead or sick trees, though it won’t remove them without permission of the land owners. It’s a balancing act, Leedy said, between having reliable power and keeping several hundred property owners happy. He and board members agreed that Asplundh, the company Eversource (formerly Public Service of New Hampshire) contracts to do tree trimming and removal did a terrible job on Amherst Street, where it shaved off the sides of pine trees…

Newton, New Jersey, New Jersey Herald, March 11, 2019: Lafayette man killed after tree he was cutting fell on him

A township man was killed Sunday after a tree he was cutting down fell on him, police said. Stephen Race, 64, was using a chainsaw to cut through a tree near or on his property on Beaver Run when it fell and struck him, according to State Police Trooper Alejandro Goez. Race, who was roughly a quarter of a mile into the woods, was found by a neighbor at 7:35 p.m. and pronounced dead at the scene by authorities. It is believed Race was alone at the time and his death has been deemed accidental and not considered suspicious. According to Race’s Facebook page, he was the owner/president of RHM Technology, in Stanhope, which helps companies design, manufacture and deliver products and services. Tax records indicate Race resided in a log cabin on roughly 50 acres of property on Beaver Run Road. Race vocally opposed a proposed cell tower in Lafayette in 2013/2014, telling the New Jersey Herald he was concerned about his family’s safety in regard to radio frequency waves and potential cell tower fires…

Ithaca, New York, Cornell Sun, March 11, 2019: The science of maple syrup: From tree to pancake stack and everything in between

Twenty miles southwest of Cornell’s Ithaca campus grows a forest of sweet trees. The tubing at their trunks carry sugary sap awaiting to be transformed into a crowd-pleasing breakfast staple: maple syrup. In the Arnot forest, a 6000 tree-section is an integral part of the Cornell Maple Program. But how do you get from sap to syrup? Aaron Wightman, the extension associate at the Cornell Maple program highlights the food science behind the maple syrup making process. This time of year –– late winter to early spring –– is prime for maple syrup production, especially in New York, the second largest producer of maple syrup. “The trees store their energy in the form of starch for their dormant period in the winter, but as winter moves closer to spring, the trees start releasing enzymes,” Wightman said, including “the same enzyme that you have in your mouth to help dissolve starch: amylase.” Once amylase is coursing through the tree, it converts the stored starch to sucrose. But, according to Wightman, that sucrose sap cannot flow without the freezing and thawing that happens between the cold nights and warmer days during this winter-spring limbo. “When it warms up, the CO2 inside the stem expands and creates positive pressure, so when you drill a hole in the tree, the sap is going to get squeezed out,” Wightman said…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal-Constitution, March 11, 2019: Forest Park man electrocuted, tried to dislodge drone from tree with metal pole

A man died Saturday after he was electrocuted while trying to retrieve a drone that had become stuck in a tree in Forest Park. Reff Teasley, 37, and his brother, Calvin Teasley, were using a metal pole to try to dislodge the drone when the pole touched a power line, Forest Park police said in a news release. They were both sent flying backward and landed on the ground nearby, the release said. Reff Teasley was unconscious and wasn’t breathing when police arrived. He later died at a local hospital. Calvin Teasley was taken to the hospital and was reportedly stable…

Colorado Springs, Colorado, KKTV, March 10, 2019: ‘Historic-sized’ avalanche near Aspen damages home, trees

An enormous avalanche outside Aspen claimed thousands of trees and damaged a home in its path Saturday afternoon. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) says the avalanche off Highlands Ridge was “historic” in size, measuring over a mile wide and dropping more than 3,000 vertical feet. A photo from CAIC shows the massive area where the snow broke off. “Highlands Ridge released naturally. Not a path or two off the ridge but everything from the Five Fingers to the K Chutes. The K Chutes ran as big as I’ve seen them go, and that was just a small portion,” wrote a CAIC staff member in a field report. The avalanche gained so much momentum during its 3,000-foot drop that it crossed a creek and ran back uphill for several hundred vertical feet, the field report said. The house in its path was protected by defensive structures, which were enough to keep the house standing but not to withstand damage — the chimney was destroyed and windows were shattered. The home was unoccupied…

Muskogee, Oklahoma, Phoenix, March 10, 2019: Grow: The right tree in the right place

Trees are an excellent addition to almost any landscape. They provide shade, beauty, windbreak, privacy, cleaner air, less noise, less glare and can even increase your property value. However, the key to these benefits is selecting the right tree and planting it in the right place. By having the right tree in the right place, homeowners not only help ensure a lifetime of satisfaction, but also keep maintenance costs low. There are several things to keep in mind when considering trees for the landscape. First, the tree’s purpose will impact the sustainability of different tree species, whether used for shade, aesthetic beauty, wind protection, screen or something else. Second, the size and location of the tree, including space for roots and branches, will affect which species to plant. And third, the shape of the tree varies among species, including round, oval, columnar, V-shaped or pyramidal shapes. Think about how the tree will work in the space available. If you have utility lines running through your property, large trees aren’t a good choice. As the trees grow, they will interfere with the utility lines and cause problems. Short trees don’t clash with overhead utility lines…

The Ecologist, March 11, 2019: Will the trees thank us for going cashless? Going digital is not as green as it might seem.

The big push to go digital – paying with an app, not a note; e-bank statements; the paperless office – resonates with some people concerned about the environment. However, it is increasingly apparent that some of the companies espousing these ideas are motivated more by profit than ecology. So let’s examine the claim that paperless is environmentally friendly. Totally sustainable forestry practices in Europe’s paper industry are fast approaching – contrary to popular belief. At present, 74.7 percent of pulp delivered to paper and board mills in Europe is forest management certified by independent forest certification schemes. The notion that paper consumption is stripping the planet is not exactly accurate either, being that the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon, for example, is the result of agricultural and cattle-ranching expansion…

Chico, California, Enterprise-Review, March 10, 2019: Letters: Unsafe PG&E wire, not trees, to blame for fires

For 10 years (1994-2004) while I was Butte County’s Tree Foreman I argued for more careful and conservative tree trimming consistent with ANSI A-300 standard and Best Management Practices. In areas where most people live the California Public Utilities Commission requires 4-foot minimum clearance. PG&E takes additional clearance to compensate for growth that occurs between trims. This is supposed to allow trimming cycles as long as 3-4 years. After a PUC investigation in 1996, PG&E went big with 10 to 20-foot clearance. This drastic cutting elicited a desperate response from the trees resulting in trim cycles as short as six months. A large tree can easily push 20 feet in one year. PG&E came back taking even greater clearance. Over 23 years this battle has resulted in the mutilation of trees, increased rates and an ever-increasing number of fires attributable to PG&E…

Wilmington, North Carolina, WWAY-TV, March 7, 2019: CFPUA contractor did not obtain permit before removing trees

CFPUA is developing a new policy and reviewing current projects that require tree removal permits, after the City of Wilmington ordered the utility to stop clearing trees along River Road. On Monday, CFPUA stopped the clearing of an easement it owns within the RiverLights subdivision after receiving a stop-work order from the City. The area involves a 30-foot wide, 4,000 feet-long water main easement that runs through an undeveloped tract of land within RiverLights. CFPUA said only about 800 feet has been cleared so far and all work has been stopped. CFPUA said their standard procedure has been that the construction contractor is required to obtain the tree removal permit as part of the work to prepare the easement for water or sewer main construction. But in this case, CFPUA said the tree removal permit was not obtained by the contractor. This also implied that City staff was not aware of the tree removal activity until they received calls from nearby residents…

Washington, D.C., Post, March 7, 2019: Loudoun County fines Trump golf course for cutting trees in Potomac floodplain

The cutting and disposal of a dozen mature trees into the Potomac River nearly two weeks ago at the Trump National Golf Course violated Loudoun County’s zoning ordinance, the county said, and could cost the organization at least $600. The downed trees were spotted Feb. 23 by Steven McKone, director of the Calleva River School, as he kayaked the river. Subsequent paddlers and boaters saw about a dozen stumps 14 to 24 inches in width, and large tree trunks in the Potomac. The removal of the trees from a flood plain along the river requires a permit, which the golf course did not obtain, county officials said in a news release Wednesday, and violates three sections of the zoning code. The county ordered the golf course to stop all activity in the flood plain until it obtains the necessary permits. Trump golf course officials, who have 30 days to appeal the violations, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The initial fine is $200 per violation. That would rise to $500 every 10 days after the appeal period passes if the golf course does not secure the necessary permits. Loudoun officials said they will inspect the property every 10 days…

Sonoma, California, Marin Independent Journal, March 7, 2019: Fairfax decides to protect trees despite threat to pavement

The town of Fairfax has rejected the recommendation of its arborist that it remove all 20 of the liquidambar trees located at the downtown Parkade parking lot, even though their aggressive root growth may eventually undermine the new pavement that is being installed at the Parkade. A major overhaul of the Parkade, slated to cost $676,726, is underway. A recommendation to remove the trees by arborist Ray Moritz contained in a staff report for the Fairfax Town Council’s Wednesday meeting drew a crowd of concerned residents to the meeting. A three-hour discussion ensued. “There was a huge turnout,” said former Fairfax town council member Frank Egger. “There was a full court press on to save the trees.” In 2008, the city of San Rafael removed about 100, 20-year old liquidambar trees as part of its West End Village upgrade of sewer lines and water pipes between the Miracle Mile and D Street. Liquidambars, or American Sweetgums as they’re also known, have very shallow, aggressive roots that damage infrastructure such as curbs, sidewalks, gas lines and driveways…

Newsweek, March 1, 2019: S.C. Mayor says ‘yellow sticky substance’ on her car was sprayed by vandals, police say it’s just pollen

The mayor of a South Carolina town believed she was the target of a hate crime after cars belonging to her and her husband were dusted with a mysterious, “yellow, sticky substance.” Local and state police investigated the claims made by Lamar Mayor Darnell Byrd McPherson, who reported that on February 7 at 10 p.m. local time, someone sprayed her 2017 Symphony Silver Hyundai Elantra Sport and her husband’s soft-top 1998 Buick Roadmaster with a residue outside of their home. The material, she remembered, “got in all of the grooves” of her husband’s gray sedan. The mayor had recently returned to her home from a meeting in the larger city of Hartsville, about 22 miles north of Lamar. “My husband went out to the car to get some things out of the garage,” she told Newsweek. “He says, ‘Somebody’s painted your car!’” She explained in the interview with Newsweek that there were no words or symbols drawn on the cars. The cars were parked in the street near the end of the couple’s driveway, a block and a half from Lamar’s downtown. “To me that was the message,” she said. Darlington County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Robby Kilgo explained that an investigation was opened to determine what the substance was on both cars. “We found it to be pollen,” Kilgo explained in an interview with Newsweek. “There was no reason for us to collect a sample.” The report that was taken included details of an examination by two sheriff’s officials (a sergeant and a deputy) “immediately came to the conclusion that the substance had a yellowish tint to it and that it’s a type of powder similar to pollen.” Though the possibility was raised that the car’s mysterious coating could have been pollen and not the result of foul play, McPherson remained convinced someone was behind it…

Pocatello, Idaho, Idaho State Journal, March 6, 2019: Judge bewildered that case involving controversial tree, now stump, reached his courtroom

A district judge expressed his disbelief this week about how a lawsuit involving a controversial tree allegedly interfering with a Bannock County city’s right-of-way ever made it to his courtroom. In handling the case of Inkom suing Tracie Montgomery and her husband Gerrad for refusing to remove in a timely manner a 20-year-old Spruce tree that was planted on the corner of the Montgomerys’ Rapid Creek Road property, Judge Stephen Dunn did not hold back when it came time to question both parties about the seriousness of the case. “As much as I want to think this is the case of the century, it’s not,” said Dunn, adding that he has likely spent more time studying this case than he should have. Dunn also pointed out that the lawsuit against the Montgomerys began as an effort by the city of Inkom to force the family to cut down the tree, but after the family complied with that request this past December the case morphed into the city now trying to force the family to remove the tree’s stump and root system. The city of Inkom also wants the Montgomerys to pay several thousand dollars to cover the city’s attorney fees in the matter…

Bozeman, Montana, KECI-TV, March 6, 2019: Bozeman to give away 24 trees to diversify species

The city of Bozeman is giving away 24 boulevard trees in an effort to diversify the tree species in town. The city says this is the second year they do the Lott o’ Trees Program, made possible by a special grant. They have five different tree species they’ll be giving away on a lottery basis, including Kentucky coffeetrees, yellowwoods and oak trees. “We’re pushing for a lot of diversity. Currently we’re dealing with a big over-reliance on ash trees,” said Alex Nordquest, a forester with the Bozeman Forestry Division. “Ash make over one-third of our overall public tree population. It’s a huge over-reliance, and we’re trying to reduce that,” he added. Nordquest says ash trees are susceptible to an invasive pest called the emerald ash borer, and they are trying to prevent a citywide infestation that has occurred in other cities…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, March 6, 2019: SCE&G takes a chainsaw to Charleston trees — and its already ragged reputation

Dominion Energy may have taken over SCE&G, but some things haven’t changed. For instance, the utility is obviously still tossing all its tree trimming work to Freddy Krueger. In the past couple of months, the power line posse has sparked a nightmare on Farmfield streets and gone all Savannah Highway chainsaw massacre between Wesley Drive and Byrnes Downs. One morning last week, Mayor John Tecklenburg practically had to throw himself in front of some slasher in Old Windermere. Now, South Carolina Electric & Gas is again threatening to slice and dice James Island’s Riverland Terrace — home to perhaps the most gorgeous live oak canopy in the Lowcountry. It has gotten so ridiculous that the city asked the utility to hold up on the butchery while arborists check to see if SCE&G has complied with local ordinances. The results are due this week … as if there’s any doubt. By all rights, this sloppy, aesthetics-be-damned approach should be a crime. But in truth, there’s very little the city — or county — can do…

Charlotte, North Carolina, WCNC-TV, March 6, 2019: SC Forestry Commission: Cut down those Bradford pear trees

Driving around Upstate South Carolina, it’s not too hard to find Bradford pear tree in bloom with their white flowers dotting the landscape. However, the South Carolina Forestry Commission says these trees are ‘invasive’ and should be cut down. As part of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, the Commission is warning anyone with Bradford pears on their property about the dangers of the tree — including weak limbs that easily topple in severe weather, and thorns that fall, causing road hazards. “These trees compete with, and cause damage to native plants,” spokesperson David Jenkins said. “These trees should be cut down.” The Bradford pear originally became popular with developers because the trees grow quickly, but now are seldom used. Kayla Edmonds with Pike’s Nursery says there are terrific replacements for Bradford pears — including star magnolia trees, cherry trees, and Cleveland pears. Edmonds says Pike’s Nursery won’t be selling the Bradford pear because of the trouble it causes…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, March 5, 2019: In fight against invasive emerald ash borer, St. Louis’ tree removal efforts shift south

For years now, St. Louis has been under siege from emerald ash borers — an invasive beetle that means eventual doom for the region’s ash trees. With ash ranking high among the most common trees in the area, their loss will dramatically reshape the urban landscape. Though officials are years into a massive effort “to stay ahead of the bug” by removing thousands of ash trees, the fight may now be more visible to local residents as it fans out across different parts of the city. “This year, we kind of shifted gears,” said Alan Jankowski, St. Louis’ commissioner of forestry. He explains that over the past couple of years, the city concentrated its ash tree removal and treatment efforts in north St. Louis, after ash borers were found in 2015 on Emerson Avenue in the Walnut Park East neighborhood. But now in the city’s third year of work, efforts have pivoted south, covering areas along thoroughfares such as Grand Boulevard, Holly Hills Boulevard, Arsenal Street, Chippewa Street and Kingshighway…

San Jose, California, Mercury-News, March 5, 2019: Niles Canyon: Caltrans settles in Alameda Creek tree removal lawsuit

In a victory for environmentalists, Caltrans has agreed to replant four times the number of sycamore trees it removes along Alameda Creek when it replaces a bridge in Niles Canyon. The agreement was part of a settlement reached after the Alameda Creek Alliance sued Caltrans in late 2017 challenging the approval and environmental review for the Alameda Creek Bridge Replacement Project. In the suit, the alliance claimed that Caltrans “had improperly deferred identifying” what steps it would take to replace the trees affected by the construction. Alliance director Jeff Miller said Tuesday his group’s goal was to push Caltrans to provide a more specific plan for how and when it would replace the affected sycamore trees, instead of a vague commitment, and the parties negotiated the 4 to 1 replacement ratio for sycamores. Miller said the sycamores, especially mature ones, take decades to grow, and are having a bit of trouble reproducing on their own, so they need to be preserved. “Alameda Creek is one of the main areas in the Bay Area where you can find these large sycamores, and they provide habitat for everything from trout to birds to bats,” he said. “They help stabilize and shade the stream, they’re an important part of the creek ecosystem…”

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, March 5, 2019: Cleveland looking for ways to trim the time it takes to prune trees along city streets

Members of City Council have long complained that the city takes too long to prune trees along city streets. But the council and Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration appear ready to discuss ways to speed up the process with money from the mayor’s capital improvement budget. City Council will take up the capital improvements budget in the next few weeks, and trees are considered capital assets. So, that budget, which is separate from the operating budget that council is expected to approve March 25, could provide the money to hire a private tree company to help do trimming, Council President Kevin Kelley said in an interview with cleveland.com. Cleveland now has 14 tree trimming crews. And the administration has said it would take 23 years for those crews to trim every tree in the city’s right-of-way. That’s because the crews don’t just do routine trimming. They also handle calls for problems – trees damaged by disease or storms or other causes. “They have a full capacity [of work] with the staff they have,” said Sharon Dumas, Jackson’s interim chief of staff and director of finance…

Ann Arbor, Michigan, March 5, 2019: Ann Arbor considering law to prevent tall buildings, trees from shading people’s solar panels

When a homeowner invests several thousand dollars installing solar panels on their property, the hope is that a new building or neighbor’s tree won’t rise up to block the sun. Ann Arbor officials are now considering whether people who go solar or want to go solar should be granted solar access rights. City Council voted unanimously Monday night, March 4 to approve a resolution from the city’s Energy Commission to move forward on developing such an ordinance. It could give landowners the ability to register “solar easements” to preserve solar access on their properties in perpetuity. “The Energy Commission brings this forward asking that we devote some resources to studying the issue,” said Council Member Jack Eaton, D-4th Ward, sponsor of the resolution. “We want homeowners and property owners to install solar panels,” Eaton said. It’s going to be a complex issue with a lot of interests to balance, city officials acknowledge. “It’s going to be a challenge to weigh out the competing interests for, you know, air rights and solar rights, and it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out,” said Council Member Ali Ramlawi, D-5th Ward…

Phys.org, March 4, 2019: Dying trees in cities? Blame it on the concrete

A North Carolina State University study examining urbanization, scale-insect abundance and latitudinal warming on tree health in the Southeast captured a few surprising results. The study showed more scale insects on red maple trees in the midrange of eight cities within a 10-degree latitudinal difference, from Newark, Delaware, to Gainesville, Florida. Cities in that midrange, including Raleigh and Asheville, showed poorer tree health, due mostly to these high volumes of tree-destroying gloomy scale insects (Melanaspis tenebricosa), which appear as tiny bumps on tree branches and leaves. “Impervious surfaces—basically concrete and pavement—near trees was a better predictor of scale-insect abundance than temperature, and thus a better predictor of poor tree health in the study area,” said Michael Just, an NC State postdoctoral entomology researcher…

Springfield, Missouri, News-Leader, March 4, 2019: Botanist debunks one theory about how a car came to be 15 feet up in a tree

Riddle me this, says botanist Turner Collins: If you hung a horseshoe on a tree limb 6 feet above the ground when you were a child, and came back years later as an adult, how far would the horseshoe be from the ground? The answer is 6 feet — assuming there has been no soil erosion. Collins was responding to my Sunday Pokin Around column about how the remnants of what is believed to be a Model A Ford got to be 15 feet up in a tree near McDaniel Lake. One theory is that some 70 years ago the driver was barreling down a nearby hill and the car became airborne. Another theory mentioned in the story is that there was an explosion at a gas station that was once behind the tree and up a hill and a car part went flying and descended into the tree limbs…

Leesburg, Virginia, Loudoun Times, March 4, 2019: Trump National in Sterling accused of cutting trees on riverbank

Loudoun County officials are investigating whether the Trump National Golf Club illegally cut a dozen trees from the Potomac River shoreline and dumped them in the river. County officials told news outlets Friday that removing trees from the flood plain requires a permit, and the county is investigating whether the local ordinance was broken. Potomac Riverkeepers, an environmental group, said it received complaints about the dumped trees. Environmentalists say cutting the trees can contribute to shoreline erosion and that the dumped trees create a safety hazard for recreational users of the river. The Trump Organization did not immediately return an email seeking comment Saturday. The golf club faced criticism in 2010 after it cleared hundreds of trees to improve members’ view of the river…

Durango, Colorado, Herald, March 4, 2019: How to assess tree damage after our heavy snow

February was a bit snowy. My Facebook page is inundated with photos of “Snowpocalypse” and “Snowmageddon” – kids jumping off roofs, walls of the white stuff bracketing the driveway, dogs getting lost in the powder, etc. All impressive stuff. And we happily joined in, although there were times that I was probably too tired to even push the shoot button on the phone’s camera. Now that the meltdown is on, I’ve taken some time to walk the neighborhood, trouncing through snow and slush. I expected to find a fair number of broken branches and limbs, but unfortunately, the trees and shrubs fared worse than I had hoped. I saw branches resting awkwardly on fences and roofs; small fruit trees, no more than 8 feet high, with their main leader snapped in two; and plenty – and I mean plenty – of broken branches. I recommend removing as much snow as possible from branches throughout a storm period – especially if there are multiple heavy snow events like we saw in February…

Chico-Redding, California, KHSL-TV, March 3, 2019: Man wants PG&E to take down neighbor’s tree

A Paradise man says fire-damaged trees are threatening his home and family, and says so far PG&E’s not taking action. Homeowner Steve Kane says the tree he is concerned about is large enough to take his whole house down. Kane, his wife and dog have all moved back into their Paradise home since the Camp Fire, but feel like now they are facing another threat to their safety. Kane said, “After the last storm that we’ve had… over 10 inches of rain wind velocity at 25 mph… I have great concern of this tree that’s heavily listing on my house.” He said he is afraid it’s going to fall over, crush his house and possibly even kill someone. This tree has been marked “P2” by PG&E said Kane. He said that means it could fall within the next year. The currrently wet conditions and high winds are a big concern to Kane. “They’ve already decided they’re going to cut this tree down, and they have so far have not put any resources behind it at all… haven’t seen anybody. Nothing’s been done,” he continued…

Tallahassee, Florida, WCTV, March 3, 2019: Tree trimmer found dead dangling from wires in tall tree

Metro Atlanta authorities say a man working as a tree trimmer is dead after he was found tangled in wires and dangling high in a tall tree. Officials say the man hung upside down for nearly two hours Saturday from about 50 feet off the ground behind a home in DeKalb County. Firefighters tried frantically to rescue the trapped tree trimmer. But DeKalb County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Alex Lane said rescue efforts were difficult because the tall tree had few branches. The tree trimmer’s name was not immediately released. Authorities say they suspect the worker’s death was accidental…

New York City, New York Times, March 1, 2019: Goodbye sidewalk trees

Like many New Yorkers who left the city for the suburbs, I was drawn to my block, an otherwise forgettable street, for its soaring sidewalk trees — pin oaks, lindens and ash — that shade it in the summer and stand like barren giants in the winter. So I was stunned to step outside a few weeks ago on a bitter winter afternoon and see a line of white X’s spray-painted across their trunks. The next day, my next-door neighbor, Stacey Millett, whose home shares the corner with a ginkgo whose leaves turn golden in the fall, called the town forester and learned that all the trees would be cut down as part of a repaving project. “All of them,” Ms. Millett, 41, who has lived on this block of West Orange, N.J., with her family since 2010, texted me. “He wasn’t kidding…”

Panama City, Florida, News Herald, March 3, 2019: Re-Tree PC campaign to bring 100K trees back to Panama City after Hurricane Michael

The goal to plant 100,000 trees in Panama City by 2025 now has a name — Re-Tree PC — with a website on the way. Early on, city leaders established a goal of restoring the urban forest, hoping to inspire citizens to replant some of the estimated 1 million trees downed by the catastrophic Hurricane Michael. Now, the city is preparing to start tracking efforts and eventually offer free trees to residents. “We want all citizens from youngest to our oldest to be involved,” City Manager Mark McQueen said. “We want to involve senior adults that have enjoyed the city and want to create a legacy and involve seniors in planting seedlings … and we think it will be a tremendous opportunity for our kids to help them plant trees.” The city wants to see a “myriad” of trees planted, not just varieties of live oaks and pines, to make the landscape more interesting. Fruit trees are even being looked at for some locations, McQueen said…

Los Angeles, California, Times, February 28, 2019: Tree trimming guidelines in Edison wildfire plan may go too far, arborist says

Southern California Edison is making big plans to reduce the chances of fire ignition in high-risk areas like La Cañada Flintridge, proposing to spend more than $118 million throughout its service area on enhanced vegetation management between now and 2020. As part of a 119-page Wildfire Mitigation Plan, required by state law and submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 6, the utility aims to reduce threats posed by falling trees and hanging limbs near power lines by removing at least 7,500 trees (with funding being sought for the removal of up to 15,000) in 2019 and maintaining a 12-foot clearance around all electrical wires. Contracted work crews have been busy on the streets of La Cañada and neighboring Altadena in recent months, trimming or topping trees to accommodate the new radial requirement, far greater than the 4 feet standard previously imposed. The results of their labor — visible on several La Cañada residential streets north of Foothill Boulevard — is causing concern among residents and at least one arborist who fear such extreme pruning could imperil the health of certain tree species…

New York City, Columbia University, February 28, 2019: New tree ring analysis method may open insights to past climate

Satellite imagery of earth’s vegetation, measurements of carbon dioxide in the air and computer models all help scientists understand how climate is affecting carbon dynamics and the world’s forests. But these technologies stretch back only decades, limiting our picture of long-term changes. A new study in the journal Nature Communications shows how information revealed by a new method of analyzing tree rings matches the story told by more high-tech equipment over the short term. Because trees are long-lived, looking back in their rings with this new approach may add decades or even centuries to our understanding of carbon storage and how climate change is affecting forests. Traditionally, tree-ring scientists measure variations in the widths of tree rings in order to determine year-by-year changes in past temperatures or rainfall. This method can produce a reasonable picture in many cases, but has its limitations…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2019: A fallen tree, a silver lining

It was pitch dark and pouring rain when Leslie Stack and Frank Rizzo drove home from dinner and arrived at their historic Queen Anne Victorian mansion in Richmond, Va. They took in a horrifying sight: A 175-year-old red oak tree had fallen smack onto their house and was sticking out of their top floor. So began a 2½-year saga of dealing with permit offices, insurance and contractors, moving to five temporary accommodations, and restoring the 1901 home identified as Holly Lawn on the National Register of Historic Places. The couple only recently moved back in. The silver lining to the saga: two newly renovated bathrooms and other home improvements. “Now the house is in better shape than ever,” said Mr. Rizzo, 66, a steel-company executive. Giant trees can be a home’s most magnificent feature, enhancing its curb appeal and value. But they can also be a home’s greatest threat, with large trunks and limbs that can crush the structure. When that happens, some intrepid homeowners make the most of the moment, repairing the immediate damage while finally tackling home-improvement projects on their wish lists…

Grants Pass, Oregon, KDRV-TV, February 28, 2019: Winter storm brings fallen trees, increased business for tree services

Siskiyou Tree Experts has been at Riverside Park since nine Thursday morning, trying to get it cut up and removed. The company also had calls for other fallen trees in other parks before that. Although business is slowing down right now, busy is an understatement for the amount of calls Doug Tripp has gotten over the last few days. “We’ve probably gotten about eight calls that primarily involve emergency response trees that have failed due to the snow or just the heavy soil saturation,” Tripp said. Tripp added eight doesn’t sound like a lot but they’re used to maybe six calls a week.“ Just in a couple of days to get that many calls that are that specific to emergency responses that’s a lot in this time of year especially so it’s quite a bit to respond to at this time…”

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, February 27, 2019: SCE&G tree trimming in Charleston halted as city examines methods

Charleston residents west of the Ashley River are frustrated with recent tree pruning by the local power utility, but it turns out South Carolina Electric & Gas may not have been allowed to conduct the trimming at all. Attorney Thomas Rode represents the Old Windermere Neighborhood Association and said residents in the area have been wary of cutting as SCE&G conducts its regular work to make sure power lines aren’t imperiled by tree limbs. Primarily, he said, residents are concerned that the power company is cutting protected grand trees more than is allowed by the city’s ordinance. “We’re looking to strike the balance between what’s good for the trees but also what’s good for maintaining power, for maintaining safety,” he said. West Ashley pruning started in June of 2018, and there is only about one mile of work left, said Paul Fischer, a spokesman for SCE&G’s holding company. The next project will involve James and Johns Islands and includes 70 miles of trimming…

Madison, Wisconsin, WISC-TV, February 27, 2019: DNR warns of invasive tree found in 12 Wisconsin counties

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are asking people to be on the lookout for an invasive species of tree. According to the DNR, the Amur cork tree has been found in at least 12 counties, with populations ranging from a few to several thousand. The trees have a unique, corky outer bark and have a yellow tissue under the bark. The species of tree is damaging to the diversity of Wisconsin’s forests, and planting them is prohibited under the state’s invasive species rule. The trees are typically found in parks, yards and cities, but they can quickly spread to forests after their fruit is eaten by birds…

Washington, D.C., Post, February 27, 2019: Loggers cut down ash trees in a race with a killer beetle

Loggers in snowy forests are cutting down ash trees like there’s no tomorrow, seeking to stay one step ahead of a fast-spreading beetle killing trees in dozens of states. The emerald ash borer has been chewing through trees from Maine to Colorado for about two decades. Some fear areas in the invasion zone, such as Upstate New York, might have only five to seven years of ash logging left. Farther south, the situation is dire. In Maryland, hardwood exporter Mark Lipschitz said he can barely source ash anymore from the southern part of Pennsylvania and Maryland. “Emerald ash borer is probably the most thorough killing machine that we’ve come across in my career over the last 35 years,” said Tom Gerow, general manager for the Wagner Companies, which specializes in lumber that is used to make furniture. Wagner is sawing ash trees at its mills at about double the rate it used to…

Indianapolis, Indiana, WRTV, February 27, 2019: A man’s fight to save trees Duke Energy plans to cut down

A metro area utility company is going to cut down dozens of trees in Mooresville as part of an effort to clear trees from power lines and prevent outages. This has one one homeowner frustrated since those trees are around his home. Duke Energy has plans to hire a contractor to clear every single tree within their easement. In the front yard of his Mooresville home, Bob Stewart can identify every single tree. That’s because he planted them over the last 30 years with his mother. “Every time my mother came to visit she would bring a different tree,” Stewart said. “We’ve enjoyed that time together, planting them.”But in the next two weeks, each tree within Duke Energy’s 50 foot easement, near its power lines, will be cut down…

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard Crimson, February 27, 2019: Harvard Divinity School to continue with tree removal despite tree-cutting moratorium

The Harvard Divinity School announced Tuesday it will continue with plans to remove the red oak tree in front of the Andover Theological Library, despite objections from some Divinity School students and Cambridge City Council’s one-year moratorium on cutting down trees. Bartlett Tree Experts, a tree preservation company hired by the Divinity School to assess the red oak, concluded that the tree is a safety hazard and “in irreversible decline,” according to a statement released by the Divinity School. The tree-cutting moratorium, which passed Monday, includes an exception for trees deemed “dead” or “dangerous” by the city’s arborist. The City of Cambridge reviewed the Bartlett report, and the Commissioner of Department of Public Works, the City Arborist, and the Director of Urban Forestry agreed that the tree must be removed, according to the statement. Divinity School students and nearby residents have protested the tree’s removal since September, citing its spiritual and environmental importance, They also criticized the school’s decision-making process…

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, February 26, 2019: Loveland woman claims tree business scammed her

A Loveland woman claims she and her husband were bilked more than a thousand dollars after purchasing 15 ponderosa pines from a local tree planting business. Holly Hoxie said she found an advertisement on Facebook Marketplace from a business near Colorado Springs called, ‘Tim’s Timbers’. For $100 a piece, the business offered 6’-7’ Ponderosa pines with free delivery and free planting, plus a 1-year warranty. After reaching out to ‘Tim’s Timbers’, she said owner Tim Stribling arrived the following day and planted all 15 trees. Over the weekend, however, a strong windstorm blew in and knocked the trees out of the ground. When Hoxie and her husband went to check on them, they discovered the trees had no roots. “The burlap sacks he had around the trees were just filled with dirt. No roots whatsoever,” Hoxie told the FOX31 Problem Solvers. “Actually, some of the trees were already dead that he had planted…”

Orlando, Florida, Sentinel, February 26, 2019: Tree trimmer stuck in bucket above Turkey Lake Road rescued by Orlando firefighters after 3 hours

Orlando firefighters rescued a tree trimmer who was stuck for hours high above the ground in a bucket truck Tuesday morning near Universal Studios, according to the Orlando Fire Department. A tree trimming crew was working at the Turkey Lake Road and Production Plaza intersection when its truck ran out of gas early Tuesday, said OFD spokeswoman Ashley Papagni. One man was in the bucket trimming tree branches when the truck’s engine shut off. The crew was unable lower the bucket without it descending into traffic, Papagni said. The crew tried to handle the situation themselves, but were unable to come up with a safe solution, she said…

Popular Science, February 26, 2019: Love the taste of whiskey? Thank an oak tree

Historically the wooden barrel has been the world’s most important shipping container, only comparable to today’s large iron shipping containers, the holding vessels of our globalized consumer society. Like the shipping container, the wooden barrel has been used to transport an extremely wide variety of commodities, ranging from apples, gunpowder, salted meat, cement, coins, flour, fish, molasses and pickles to tobacco, linens, tar, seeds, vinegar, potatoes, oysters and, of course, beer, wine, and whisky, the transport of which they are still used for today. Driving through the center of Waidhofen an der Ybbs in Lower Austria feels like taking a trip back in time. My GPS insisted I drive down a narrow and increasingly steep road at which end the Cooperage Schneckenleitner supposedly was located. Still unsure and rather alarmed by the ever-narrowing road right next to the river, suddenly I was confronted by a scene right out of a medieval play. Partly situated under the arcs of a tall stone bridge was, indeed, a cooperage. I saw rows of wooden barrels, piles of staves, and people hammering iron rings around half-finished barrels…

New Haven. Connecticut, Register, February 25, 2019: Music saves North Stamford man when tree falls on residence

Powerful winds blew down a large tree onto a North Stamford detached garage that then uprooted, leaving the structure to completely support the weight of the downed tree. The tree was left cantilevered over the second-floor bedroom in the garage located at 37 Haviland Court, but the occupant, Mike Desmond, was unhurt when the tree came crashing through the roof. residence just before 2 p.m. when the tree came down, shaking the structure to its foundation. “I guess you could say music saved my life. If I was in the bedroom I would be dead,” Desmond said, as he was packing some of his possessions into an SUV parked in the driveway. Desmond said he had a place to live while the home is being fixed. Desmond, who is a guitar teacher in Fairfield and Westchester counties, said he was playing his guitar in his makeshift studio inside the 800-square-foot residence just before 2 p.m. when the tree came down, shaking the structure…

Cleveland, Ohio, WJW-TV, February 25, 2019: Massive tree crashes into Akron family’s home, lands where son would have been sleeping

Tom and Pam Gensel say they were on the far side of their home from where their bedrooms were located when they heard a loud crash on Sunday night. “I thought it was lightning hitting a tree and then I looked, turned around because I was in my kitchen and there was dust coming from the bedrooms,” said Pam. “I think I described it as kind of like a hundred picture frames being broken at once; you just heard all the glass and the crash and it’s like something you don’t hear normally,” said Tom. Wind gusts of more than 50 miles per hour on Sunday toppled a massive tree from their front yard into their home, crushing a bedroom where their teenage son would have been sleeping. “The one bedroom is completely collapsed. We can’t even open the door all the way to get into it; the other one just has a big hole in the wall with a window is there, you can see it part of the ceiling has fallen down in there as well,” said Tom…

Phys.org, February 25, 2019: Nitrogen-fixing trees ‘eat’ rocks, play pivotal role in forest health

By tapping nutrients from bedrock, red alder trees play a key role in healthy forest ecosystems, according to a new study. The study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers from Oregon State University and the U.S. Geological Survey determined red alder, through its symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, taps nutrients that are locked in bedrock, such as calcium and phosphorus. This process accelerates rock dissolution, releasing more mineral nutrients that allow plants and trees to grow. The study addresses the long-term implications of how nutrients make their way into ecosystems, which sustain their long-term growth and productivity and ultimately store carbon, said Julie Pett-Ridge, a geochemist in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and a co-author on the study. The research also furthers the understanding of a specific set of trees that are known for their ability to naturally fertilize forests by converting atmospheric nitrogen into forms available for other plants. This process, called nitrogen fixation, is essential for natural ecosystems…

Springfield, Massachusetts, WWLP-TV, February 25, 2019: If a tree falls in your yard, who’s liable?

Monday’s damaging winds took down many trees across western Massachusetts some even landing on people’s properties and homes. But what if that tree fell from your neighbor’s yard? 22News spoke with the Insurance Center of New England to find out what you should do if a tree damages your property. “If you have a tree that hit your house, whether it’s from your yard or your neighbor’s yard, it’s covered under your policy,” President and CEO Bill Trudeau explained. “So it’d be subject to your deductible, and then you wanna get an expert to remove the tree…”

Austin, Texas, Statesman, February 24, 2019: 4-story, 150-ton heritage tree finds new home

The branches of the 300,000-pound, 4-story-tall live oak swayed gently in the wind as the remote-controlled platform rolled slowly down 14th Street toward Waterloo Park on Sunday morning. Just behind the platform, city workers on bucket lifts replaced streetlights and traffic signals that had been removed to make way. Hank DeWitt, who works in heavy hauling and had helped move excavators to the park the day before, squatted in the grass to get a good angle for a photo as his young sons, to his right, kept their eyes glued on the 39-inch diameter tree. “We’re into big, heavy stuff and trucks,” DeWitt said of himself and his boys. “It is amazing to see something like this.” The heritage tree was moved Sunday as part of a partnership between the state, city of Austin and Waller Creek Conservancy. The cost of the project, which is estimated at $100,000, will be shared by all three entities. “It’s super cool. It’s super tall,” said 11-year-old Gavin DeWitt, failing to take breaths between his sentences amid his excitement. He marveled at the similarity between the machinery and the toy versions he had at home…

Newark, Ohio, Advocate, February 24, 2019: AEP: Less tree cutting, more smart meters coming to Pataskala this year

New Pataskala Area Chamber of Commerce member AEP Ohio provided an update on state, and local service improvements, and more, at the Feb. 19 monthly luncheon meeting. In his introduction, Chamber President Brian Elder noted AEP’s considerable presence along Ohio 16 in Pataskala, and now, as the first tenant in the Etna Parkway industrial park. Renée Shumate, external affairs manager for AEP Ohio, began by addressing the always sensitive topic of tree clearing undertaken annually by AEP. Joking about the reaction residents typically have when they see the tree trimming trucks roll into the area, she said AEP typically undertakes such work in four-year cycles. So far as Pataskala goes, “last year, we pretty much caught up, but there will be some trimming this year.” Although many dislike the trees being cut back, Shumate said, “Our aggressive tree-trimming maintenance has reduced outages 80 percent since (the year) 2000…”

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, February 25, 2019: Maine maple sugar forest could still tap U.S. conservation funds

A 23,000-acre forest north of Jackman that yields 25 percent of the state’s maple syrup could still qualify for $3.8 million in federal funding despite being rejected by a state land conservation program. In November 2017, members of the Land for Maine’s Future board passed over the “Big Six Forest” project for funding after opponents raised concerns about the lack of public access to the remote parcel via road except through Quebec. The decision followed higher-than-usual scrutiny of a project that got caught up in the political tensions over land conservation during the LePage administration. But the Big Six Forest had already qualified for $3.8 million from the federal Forest Legacy conservation program because of its status as one of the largest maple “sugarbushes” in the U.S. and its outsize contribution to Maine’s maple industry. More than 14 months later, the landowner is working with a conservation group and the state to finalize the deal in a way that doesn’t involve matching funds from the state. “From our perspective, the funds are awarded and now available,” said Jason Kirchner, public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service’s eastern region. “It is up to the state and those partners to determine how to move forward…”

Mother Earth News, February 24, 2019: How to filter pure maple syrup and avoid sugar sand

Have you ever found sediment, grit, or even chunks of sugar in your finished pure maple syrup? Congratulations, you’ve now met sugar sand (aka niter) and you’ve earned your official sugarmaking badge! We’ve all dealt with niter in syrup at some point in our tapping days and the good news: It is perfectly edible, just not so appetizing. So how to say goodbye to sugar sand? Fortunately, the solution is quick, simple, and inexpensive: Just run sap and syrup through a filter. This article will teach you how to get rid of almost all sugar sand in pure maple syrup and filtering easily fits into the boiling and canning process. Before we get started, let’s talk about how sugar sand is formed. Maple sap is really the tree’s food source made from lots of water, sugar, and other natural minerals. During boiling, you evaporate off the water and, with the sugar, those minerals become concentrated. Filtering removes the majority of these minerals to leave syrup clear…

Pocatello, Idaho, Idaho State Journal, February 21, 2019: Controversial Inkom tree now a stump but court battle goes on

It’s apparently not good enough that the Montgomery family cut down a 20-year-old tree they planted in their front yard and agreed to pay $300 for the city of Inkom’s attorney fees in the matter. The city is still pursuing legal action against the family. The city’s negotiations with Tracie Montgomery and her husband, Gerrad, over how much the family should reimburse the city for legal expenses associated with the city’s lawsuit forcing the tree’s removal stalled this week, the family said. The city of Inkom filed a lawsuit in August 2018 ordering the family to cut down the evergreen because it was allegedly in the city’s right of way along Rapid Creek Road. The family eventually complied but the controversy is not over. In response to the stalled negotiations over the family paying the city’s legal costs, the city refiled a motion asking the judge assigned to the case to rule in its favor without a trial.If Inkom receives a favorable ruling on the motion, the city could charge the Montgomery family the full amount of any incurred city attorney fees, damages the tree may have caused Inkom and what it will cost the city to remove the tree stump…

Tucson, Arizona, KOLD-TV, February 21, 2019: Tree trouble for midtown neighborhood

Tucson will soon consider a policy which would bring tree trimming, maintenance and pruning under one agency. Right now, there are basically nine different departments, groups or agencies that can trim or prune trees whenever they feel the need to. “There’s no one point of contact, there’s no one person going out doing an assessment of what needs to be done,” said Steve Kozachik, Tucson city council member in Ward 6. “So we have everybody sort of free wheeling and nobody is accountable to anybody.” Kozachik would like for that to change and has made suggestions to city management, none of which have been acted upon. He supports the one agency concept and has suggested Tucson Clean and Beautiful, who has skilled arborists be that agency. “Let them make an assessment of a specific job site, say trim these limbs and these trees,” he said. “So we don’t have someone come out and butcher the trees…”

Phys.org, February 21, 2019: Complete world map of tree diversity

Biodiversity is one of Earth’s most precious resources. However, for most places in the world, scientists only have a tiny picture of what this diversity actually is. Researchers at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have now constructed from scattered data a world map of biodiversity showing numbers of tree species. With the new map, the researchers were able to infer what drives the global distribution of tree species richness. Climate plays a central role; however, the number of species that can be found in a specific region also depends on the spatial scale of the observation, the researchers report in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The new approach could help to improve global conservation. Around the world, biodiversity is changing dramatically and its protection has become one of the greatest challenges confronting mankind. Researchers still know very little about why some places are biologically diverse while others are poor, and where the most biodiverse places are on Earth. Also, the reasons that some areas are more species-rich than others are often unclear…

West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University Extension, February 21, 2019: Trees and taxes

The tax filing due date is closing in. If you have not already done so, it is time to collect information and plan for your return. Woodland owners may be able to take advantage of some parts of the tax code to reduce their bill if they know what to look for, how to file and how to receive the best treatment of their income under the law. Several resources are available to help you drill down to those parts of the code that could provide you with some tax breaks. For those who have sold timber in 2018, depending on your individual situation, you may be able to deduct the costs associated with selling timber and the cost basis of the harvested timber from gross income. Basis is the amount you paid for the timber when you purchased the land or the value of the timber when you inherited it. Since timberland is normally sold at a value per acre combining both the bare land and timber value, some information on the amount and value of standing timber needs to be collected and some calculations done to determine basis. A professional forester can help you collect this information and calculate your basis. The best time to figure timber basis is when the land is purchased or inherited, but a forester can help you determine timber basis years after the property was acquired. Since basis represents the value at the time of acquisition, as the years pass and the trees grow, basis becomes a smaller percentage of the total timber value for the property…

Los Angeles, California, Times, February 20, 2019: Residents’ hopes to save ancient oak tree on Georgian Road felled by commission

Residents’ hopes of saving a centuries-old oak tree growing at a home on La Cañada’s Georgian Road were felled last week, when planning commissioners denied an appeal against a tree removal permit granted by the city’s planning director in November. A group of residents turned out for a Feb. 14 meeting of the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission to argue in favor of finding some way to keep the tree alive, after two arborists called by new property owner Alan Frank determined the tree was ailing and needed to come down. “I fundamentally believe property owners should have great leeway to develop and use their property as they wish — this time is different,” said appellant Edward Johnson. “On rare occasions, the community’s desire to preserve a community treasure should override a property owner’s right to use the property as they wish.” Frank told commissioners he sought professional advice regarding the health and maintenance of a few trees, including the coast live oak in question, another equally mature oak tree at the front of the lot and a sycamore…

Mobile, Alabama, Press-Register, February 20, 2019: ‘Live oak lobby’ loses vote on Broad Street tree plan

Mobile’s tree commission has voted to permit the removal of dozens of live oaks along Broad Street as a part of an extensive redevelopment plan designed make the corridor more pedestrian-friendly and visually appealing. The split vote, which may lead to an appeal before the city council, came during a Tuesday meeting at which several people spoke in favor of doing everything possible to save live oaks, arguing that the trees’ massive limbs and expansive canopies make them both a signature element of the city and a blessing to anyone out and about in summer heat. The 50 or so trees in question are not among Mobile’s oldest and grandest, with most estimated as being 40 to 50 years old and many described even by supporters as stressed. The project driving their removal is an extensive, multimillion-dollar redevelopment of Broad Street, a major roadway that forms part of the perimeter of downtown Mobile and separates it from Midtown…

The Nature Conservancy, February 20, 2019: Saving conifer strongholds in the Northwoods

Change is afoot in the Northwoods. But should we give up on the very trees that define it? Not yet. Not by a long shot. To plant the right tree in the right place has long been a precept in forestry. But as climate change descends upon the Northwoods, a transformation is underway. Scientists project that signature species, such as paper birch and white spruce, will gradually give way to southern trees, such as red maple. So what do “right tree” and “right place” mean in 2019? As warming continues, it is tempting to focus exclusively on “climate-proofing” our Northwoods. A mass planting of trees that can take the heat, such as red oak and bur oak, will doubtless be needed to help northern forests keep up with the pace and scale of climate change. But what of our majestic conifers—like red pine, white pine, tamarack and white spruce – that once dominated the landscape in the Great Lakes region? Many northern conifers will be unable to survive over the long term as the climate warms…

Seattle, Washington, KOMO-TV, February 20, 2019: After tree falls through roof, homeowners fear more failing trees on developer’s property

A local family is out of their home after a neighbor’s tree blew down and crashed through their roof. Now, they’re worried about other huge trees on their neighbor’s property. Portions of the townhome complex in Kenmore abut an undeveloped wooded area. Neighbors who live next to the property say they don’t feel safe because more trees could come down in future storms and they can’t do anything about it. “It sounded like a bomb exploded inside the house,” said Jay Arroyo. The explosion he heard was a giant Douglas Fir crashing through his roof in a December wind storm. The tree came down just feet from the room where a child was sleeping in the adjoining unit. “They had the engineers come in to see if it’s structurally safe,” Arroyo said, pointing out the extensive damage where the massive trunk sliced into parts of a bed room and bathroom. Emergency tree removal cost more than $13,000. Arroyo says repairs could exceed $40,000. He and his wife filed a claim with their homeowners insurance. He says their Home Owner’s Association also had to file a claim to get the roof repaired and was told his deductibles will come to $11,000. When a tree damages your property, your homeowners or renter’s insurance typically covers the loss, regardless of who owns the tree…

Buffalo, New York, News, February 19, 2019: Zombie ash trees taking a toll on homes, parks, power lines – and people’s nerves

Diseased ash trees snap like twigs in the face of gusting winds. The falling trees can damage property, block roads, tear down power lines and shatter a homeowner’s peace of mind. With high wind warnings appearing regularly in the weather forecasts, residents throughout Western New York are reeling after the fall of a towering tree. Many described the experience as unforgettable, costly and always jarring. Arborists called it preventable. “The biggest danger is dead ash trees. They’re punky, soft, lose their strength, and people wait too long to remove them. Taking them down becomes dangerous,” said Greg Sojka of Greg’s Tree Service in Lancaster. “The top snaps, branches break off and when it falls, it shatters like china. “There’s a huge liability and a hazardous situation with dead ash trees,” said Sojka. “The next wind storm, there will be another 40 or 50 down. They fall any which way the wind is blowing…”

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, February 19, 2019: Tree trimming scam in Columbia County

A man saying he will trim trees in Columbia County is a scam-artist according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday morning. Deputies say that a man is going around saying he will trim trees for people, but once they give him payment he never returns to complete the job. This incident is being investigated by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and they are warning those in the area to do their research before paying someone to trim trees for them…

White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Shoreview Press, February 19, 2019: Dead trees are essential to wildlife health

At a time of year when most of the outside world appears mostly lifeless, dead trees don’t stick out much. But to countless wildlife species, dead trees are an oasis of resources year-round. Woodpeckers are one of the most common birds to see in the winter landscape and one of the most famous for making good use of standing dead trees, or snags. With their specialized beaks and tongues, woodpeckers hammer at the bark of dead trees to find insects that have burrowed inside for the winter. In the spring, some of the cavities drilled into the trees by woodpeckers will become nests for their offspring, for other birds, or for completely different types of wildlife, such as squirrels. Tree cavities are an essential part of the life cycle of red-headed woodpeckers, a species that has declined significantly since the 1960s. Part of the reason their population has decreased may be due to the clearing of dead trees, and a reduction in nut-producing trees due to disease and infestation. However, the highest population of red-headed woodpeckers in Minnesota is found in East Bethel, at the University of Minnesota’s Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Center. Researchers have questioned why this area is so attractive to red-headed woodpeckers, and found that their nesting sites correlate to the number of prescribed burns done in the area. Before modern land management practices, natural fires were an essential part of Minnesota’s ecosystem. Many of the trees that were burned created the red-headed woodpecker’s ideal standing, dead tree for nesting…

Ukiah, California, Daily Journal, February 19, 2019: BLM taking steps to reduce wildfire risks by removing dead, dying trees

The Bureau of Land Management recently announced plans to remove hazardous trees in approximately 551,000 acres of BLM-managed public land in central and northern California in a plan that is now up for public review. The plan is outlined in the Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment, which BLM officials said “streamlines the process for right-of-way holders, utility companies, and counties to treat vegetation and remove hazardous trees within 200 feet of critical infrastructure to reduce wildfire risk.” According to the BLM, “significant increases in dead and dying trees are threatening public safety in high-use areas near roads, private property, utility lines, recreation areas and trails, and it is “taking action consistent with the direction of Executive Order 13855 to facilitate the removal of hazardous trees near critical infrastructure in California, as the effects of drought, bark beetle infestation and high tree densities continue to impact communities.” Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt is quoted as saying that “we have seen the sheer devastation that some fires can cause, (and) active forest management is the best way to address this pressing issue, and I am pleased with this latest step that the Bureau of Land Management is taking.” “This plan helps reduce wildfire risk by actively managing forests and woodland areas,” said BLM California Acting State Director Joe Stout. “It streamlines environmental review for vegetation treatments to create defensible space near roads, utility lines, private property, recreation areas, and other critical infrastructure to reduce wildfire risk..”

New Haven, Connecticut, February 18, 2019: $1.2 million settlement in tree-cutting suit against Naugatuck landscaper

The family of a Naugatuck landscaper, who died in a tree cutting accident while working at a Middlebury home in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, has been awarded $1.2 million. Superior Court Judge Mark Taylor approved the settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Michael Pranulis against his employer, K. Landscaping of Waterbury. “This accident was a tragedy and could have been avoided,” said the family’s lawyer, Raymond W. Ganim. “No amount of money can ever compensate the family of this loved man for this loss of life but this judgement by the court can and will ease the loss to the family.” Shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2012, Middlebury Police and Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department personnel were sent to 400 Charcoal Ave., Middlebury, after receiving reports of a man who fell. Upon arrival, police said they found Pranulis, 53, of 36 Winthrop Ave., Naugatuck, suffering from head trauma and multiple fractures. He was transported to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, where he later died from his injuries…

Austin, Texas, KVUE-TV, February 18, 2019: Invasive tree species in Austin is considered the zebra mussel of the plant world

Twice a month, Keep Walnut Creek Wild volunteers meet up at the North Austin park just off Parmer Lane to kill as many glossy privet trees as possible. “Definitely you want to wear gloves because these things are sharp,” Stephanie Simmons said describing the tools normally used to perform the task: either the carpet knife or putty scraper. Simmons striped off a ring of bark, a process called girdling. In a year, it’s expected to kill this tree. As a tree steward, it’s a practice she usually doesn’t do. “This is the only thing that I really will kill,” Simmons said. This isn’t an ordinary tree. KVUE’S Jenni Lee tagged along with the volunteers on President’s Day. She asked Simmons, “would you consider the ligustrum, the glossy privets, the zebra mussels of the plant world?” Simmons quickly responded, “yes! Yes!” Glossy privets are an invasive species that are taking over parks and green spaces in Austin…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 18, 2019: How a sweet-smelling fungus is threatening mighty oak trees

It’s not an insect, but a fruity-smelling fungus with the potential for tree devastation that some are comparing to the Emerald Ash Borer. It’s called oak wilt and though there have been no confirmed cases in Canada, arborists here are gearing up for its potential arrival in southern Ontario. A report about the oak wilt threat is coming to the city of London’s planning committee Tuesday. Jill-Anne Spence is London’s urban forestry manager. She says the city is ramping up its efforts to warn the public about the disease through a public awareness campaign and increased training for city staff. “It kills the tree rather quickly,” said Spence. Oak wilt kills by blocking an infected tree’s vascular system, depriving it of water and nutrients until it dies. It can be spread through the roots of infected trees or by beetles moving from infected trees to healthy ones. An outbreak in 2016 on Belle Island, Michigan — that’s about 600 metres from downtown Windsor — means it’s close, and could easily cross the border into Canada. London’s location along the Highway 401 corridor could make the Forest City a key front against the fungus should that border-hopping happen…

Taos, New Mexico, News, February 18, 2019: Taos Tree Board presents draft plan for taking care of 6,000 community trees

How many trees are in Taos parks, historic district and other public places in town? 6,000, representing dozens of species. Many are decades old, growing tall and strong through several generations of Taoseños. Some 300 or more are young, planted by members of the Taos Tree Board and volunteers. The tree board – made up of certified arborists, students, landscape architects and more – spent the last three years counting all the community’s trees. Now they’ve drafted a plan for how the community can care for Taos trees and help plant the next generation of saplings to keep the town shady, even through climate change. The board will present the draft plan and talk about other tree issues at a board meeting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 19) at the town of Taos council chambers, 120 Civic Plaza Drive. Everyone is invited to attend and find out more about how they can help keep Taos trees healthy. “We’re in the last stage of our tree management plan. The official name for that is the Taos Community Tree Care Plan,” said Paul Bryan Jones, one of the Taos Tree Board founders and a long-time certified arborist…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal-Constitution, February 14, 2019: Norcross tree plantings fulfill ‘net zero’ tree policy

Norcross residents will notice 10 new trees have been planted throughout town the week of Feb. 11-14, part of the city’s efforts to celebrate Arbor Day in Georgia (Feb. 15). With both a community planting event planned for Discovery Garden Park today and a tree replacement project scheduled for North Peachtree Street, the city invites residents and neighbors alike to embrace the spirit of ‘green’ living. Norcross will be replanting 10 trees on North Peachtree Street that have recently been removed after being deemed safety hazards by arborists. As part of the city’s sustainability plan, Norcross has a ‘net zero’ tree policy, which means for every tree removed, a new one is planted in its place. These conservation efforts are enforced by the Tree Board and contribute to Norcross being designated a Tree City for 15 consecutive years along with its Platinum Green Community status…

Laughing Squid, February 14, 2019: Husqvarna launches ‘Timber’, an app that matches tree lovers with available trees around the world

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Swedish outdoor power products company Husqvarna has amusingly launched Timber, the world’s first dating service that matches lonely dendrophiles with beautiful trees from around the world. Those interested in finding the perfect match can browse available the barks and branches online and indicate which one is most appealing by clicking on a heart (no swiping involved). Once a connection is made, both human and tree whisper sweet nothings via flora and fauna emojis. The company reported, “Husqvarna wanted to celebrate and honour the love for the forest that’s shared by many users of their products. So today on Valentine’s Day, we introduce Timber – a dating service matching tree lovers with beautiful trees around the globe. Timber is a tongue-in-cheek spoof of modern dating services: instead of swiping between lovesick singles, the user is presented with different trees that each have their own profiles. Once matched with a tree, it becomes apparent they don’t speak any human languages…”

Redding, California, Record-Searchlight, February 14, 2019: How to choose an arborist to check your trees after snow damage

Whether you want to check them, salvage them or replace them, you may need an expert to care of your trees after this week’s arboreal carnage. Heavy snow broke branches and snapped tree trunks after Tuesday’s storm dropped more than 10 inches of snow on the North State. While county crews clear thousands of broken trees from roads and public spaces, homeowners are assessing their own damage. Here’s how to choose an arborist to help. There are two things to look for according to experts. First, make sure she or he is licensed and bonded. Ask for a state contract license number, making sure it is either a C27 (landscaper) or a C61 (tree specialist), said consulting arborist and tree surgeon Brock Lindsey of Kateley & Kristiansson landscaping in Redding. Both kinds of license mean the person had a state background check and has insurance and bonding.“If it’s a cutter issue then you really need to make sure that cutter is insured,” Lindsey said. Otherwise, if someone gets hurt working on your tree you could be liable…

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, February 14, 2019: Introducing new trees in urban landscape can be complicated

As I move into the later years of my career, I get time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work in the world of urban forestry. When I think about individual tree species, a few come to mind. Bald-cypress is one that I started to encourage many years ago. Bald-cypress grows naturally where there is a lot of water. Many other trees can’t take the flooding the bald-cypress can endure as they grow. This allows bald-cypress to compete very well in swamps and floodplains of rivers. Surprisingly, bald-cypress grows very well in upland soils when planted as an urban tree, especially when planted from a pot in a mulched area of a lawn and away from the competition of other plants. Fortunately, we have found that on these sites, those cool, but potentially bothersome knees don’t occur unless the soil is really compacted or if the tree was over watered. Bald-cypress in urban settings has been found to be a relatively disease free and very wind sturdy tree. Many people that planted them are very happy with this tree in their yard…

Middletown, Connecticut, Press, February 13, 2019: Every ash tree in CT to die within the decade

Within the next eight years, every ash tree in the state of Connecticut will be dead. “It’s not a pretty picture,” said Claire Rutledge. “It’s a little hard to be optimistic about it.” If you want to know who to blame, look squarely at the emerald ash borer, a non-native, invasive species of beetle that feeds on the trees. Originally found in Michigan in the 1990s, the first emerald ash borer was confirmed in Connecticut in 2012, though they’ve probably been here a few years longer than that. Since then, the bugs have been spreading at an exponential rate. “After they reach a site it’s usually about between eight and 10 years that everything is dead that they can eat,” said Rutledge, an entomologist working with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. “It’s going to be spreading out in a wave.” The effects are obvious. At a meeting of the Weston town Board of Selectmen this week, tree warden Bill Lomas said he expects every ash tree in the town to be dead within a few years, as Weston-Today reported…

Washington, D.C., Post, February 13, 2019: Woman dies after large tree branch falls on her in Northern Virginia

A woman died after a large tree branch fell on her Tuesday as she was clearing other downed branches from her property in Loudoun County, officials said. The woman’s identity was not released pending the notification of her family, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. Officials said the incident happened about 8 p.m. in the 41600 block of Stumptown Road near Lucketts, about eight miles north of Leesburg. Law enforcement received a call about a person being struck by a large branch. When officers arrived, a woman was found pinned under the branch. She was taken to a hospital, where she died early Wednesday, said Kraig Troxell, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. Troxell said an initial investigation found that the woman was clearing tree branches that had fallen when one “came down and struck her…”

San Francisco, California, Examiner, February 13, 2019: Finding liability for falling trees

Recently, I addressed a question posed by a reader who asked who is responsible for damage caused by a tree branch falling from an adjacent yard and crashing through the roof of their house, narrowly missing their child. The article addressed the answer to that question with the assumption that it was a tree owned or maintained by a municipality. This week, I will address trees owned by individual, non-governmental owners. The reader’s inquiry involved a neighbor’s tree overhanging their property. State law provides that the owner of a tree whose branches overhang an adjoining landowner’s property is liable for damages caused by the overhanging branches. Therefore, if your neighbor’s tree drops a branch and causes injury to a vehicle, person, or structure, they are liable to you for the damages caused. In general, you are legally allowed to take it upon yourself to cut off any tree branch that overhangs your property from the point where it crosses the boundary. Courts have ruled that shade and debris cast by a neighboring branch, blocking light, clogging gutters, deteriorating a roof, etc., can constitute a nuisance, thereby making the tree owner liable for any and all damages caused. Even insignificant damages will implicate a legal right of action, although the recovery of damages is generally be proportional to the extent of the injuries…

Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, February 13, 2019: Lichen won’t harm the tree but could be sign of a bigger problem

It seems like the lichen on my tree exploded this year. It’s all over some branches, whereas it used to be only in random spots on the trunk. I’ve been told not to worry about your average gray-green lichen, but is there such a thing as too much lichen? It’s true that lichen does not harm trees because, being an algae-fungi combo, it has its own chlorophyll and is just using the tree as support. However, extensive spread can be a symptom of a stressed tree. Not a cause. The tree’s canopy may have thinned enough that the lichen is getting more sunlight, or the bark’s makeup has changed and now holds more moisture or provides better surface for attachment. At any rate, individual branches may be dying and need removal, or the entire tree may be in decline…

Fox News, February 12, 2019: Bonsai thieves steals 400-year-old tree from Japanese couple who call plants ‘our children’

A Japanese couple have taken to social media to make a simple plea to the thieves who stole seven bonsai trees from them: please take care of “our children.” Seiji Iimura and his wife Fuyumi said the miniature trees were taken last month from their garden in Saitama, located near Tokyo. “There are no words to describe how we feel,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “They were precious.” The trees were worth about $90,000 and included a Shimpaku Juniper, a 400-year-old tree that had been looked after by Iimura for 25 years. “Bonsai are like our children,” Fuyumi Iimura told the New York Times. “They are our children who have been living for 400 years. I now feel like our limbs were taken away, and miss them every day.” The couple have begged for the thieves to water the trees, and return them…

Lake Forest, California, Patch, February 12, 2019: Tree crushes SUV, woman sues city for negligence

A Tustin woman trapped inside her car by a fallen tree two years ago is suing the city of Cerritos for negligence, Patch has learned. The lawsuit, brought about Feb. 8 by 41-year-old Tustin resident Maelyn Chain, alleges “dangerous condition of a public property” and seeks unspecified damages. In 2017, Chain was driving along Cerritos Avenue when the enormous eucalyptus tree snapped and crashed upon her SUV. According to the suit, the woman “… believes … that the tree, given its giant size and large branches, was a dangerous trap for people on South Street and created a foreseeable risk of it becoming uprooted and landing on people and property….” Photos of the tree smothering Chain’s SUV after its Feb. 17, 2017, collapse at about 3:30 p.m. in the median while she was driving on South Street near Alfred Avenue, trapping her in the vehicle…

Digital Journal, February 12, 2019: The DNA of ancient giant trees could possibly save our forests

What if we could revive giant creatures that once roamed the Earth? Well, that’s what arborists are doing today, only they’re cloning saplings from the stumps of the world’s largest, strongest, and longest-lived trees, the giant redwoods. The redwood species contains the largest and tallest trees in the world. Sequoioideae (redwoods) is a subfamily of coniferous trees within the family Cupressaceae. and is the most common tree in coastal forests of Northern California. The three redwood subfamily genera are Sequoia and Sequoiadendron of California and Oregon, and Metasequoia in China. Only the two subfamily genera found in the United States produce the world’s tallest and largest trees. Some of the redwoods have been known to live for thousands of years, with the earliest fossil remains being from the Jurassic period. There aren’t too many redwoods today that can claim to be that old – they have been cut down. The two sub-families of redwoods are considered endangered species due to habitat loss, natural fire suppression technologies, and logging…

Sacramento, California, KTXL-TV, February 12, 2019: Cal Fire to change wildfire prevention strategies with Gov. Newsom’s direction

In his first State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom only made a few quick references to California’s deadly wildfires. Cal Fire Director Thom Porter says the Newsom administration helped to develop an entirely new strategy to prevent wildfires. “We have to do more proactively to reduce the risk to our communities,” Porter told FOX40. Historically, the number of trees and brush that could ignite and how many escape routes are available were the only measures Cal Fire used to assess which areas were most at risk of fire devastation. “What we’re adding now is more of a socioeconomic and social element,” Porter explained. “That includes age, that includes number of vehicles that a community has for evacuation. A lot of things that we haven’t typically looked at.” Those ideas came from lessons learned after the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire the state has ever seen. Many who died in the wildfire were seniors who could not escape…San Francisco, California, Chronicle, February 11, 2019: Report: California’s tree die-off reaches 147 million, boosting fire threat

Two years after California’s historic drought came to an end, the sweeping die-off of the state’s forests has slowed, yet vast tracts of dry, browning trees continue to amplify the threat of wildfire, federal officials reported Monday. About 18.6 million trees died in 2018, mainly the result of dehydration and beetle infestation, according to new estimates from the U.S. Forest Service. That pushes the total number of dead since 2010, shortly before the five-year drought began, to 147 million. It’s a toll not seen in modern times. With once-green mountainsides still basking in startling hues of rust and apricot, particularly in the Southern and Central Sierra, federal officials warned that weakened trees are apt to fall atop roads, power lines and homes while woodlands remain in such poor shape that they’re ripe for burning. Even President Trump has taken shots at the grim condition of California’s wildlands lately, calling for more active forest management. Federal officials are working with state and local governments to try to restore the health of the forests, but they’re up against a die-off that’s become increasingly entrenched and only hastened by a warming climate…

Indianapolis, Indiana, WXIN-TV, February 11, 2019: Officials looking at options for roughly 200-year-old tree as school plans renovations

A neighborhood on Indy’s northeast side is concerned about a roughly 200-year-old tree behind Eastwood Middle School. The Bur Oak is in a spot where the district wants to make renovations on campus. According to arborists, the tree dates back to when James Monroe was President of the United States. “It’s something if you could keep it, it would be a good thing,” said Shelley Clark. Clark believes it is a unique and important part of her son’s middle school. As Washington Township Schools plans to improve pedestrians’ safety during pick-up and drop-off, she hopes the Bur Oak stays. “I’ve been a master gardener,” Clark said. “I understand how native tree species are host to other species in the food web…” The project manager at Schmidt Associates said the district wants to separate car traffic from bus traffic so they plan to put a bus turn-around loop behind the school with some extra parking…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Minnesota Public Radio, February 11, 2019: Tree-munching insects likely to survive cold

One bright spot to this winter’s extremely low temperatures has been the idea that pesky bugs might perish in the cold snap. But according to one expert, several species of destructive tree-eating insects — some native to Minnesota, others not — actually are cold-hardy enough that they’ll likely survive until spring. The Eastern spruce budworm, for example, is a native forest insect responsible for defoliating or killing large areas of conifer forests every year across Minnesota. It can survive in temperatures down to about 30 degrees below zero, said Brian Aukema, forest insect ecologist at the University of Minnesota. Another is the forest tent caterpillar, a native insect that eats leaves from a variety of hardwood trees and shrubs, leaving them bare but not killing them. Its egg masses can tolerate cold down to 42 degrees below zero, Aukema said…

Tulsa, Oklahoma, World, February 12, 2019: Federal government sues attorney/rancher Gentner Drummond over destruction of 40,000 trees on Corps land

The federal government is suing Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond, his Drummond Ranch LLC, and two companies hired to apply herbicides to lands near Birch and Skiatook lakes for the loss of more than 40,000 trees on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property near the lakes. On behalf of the Corps of Engineers, the government filed suit in federal court on Feb. 8, claiming violation of Oklahoma state law governing “damages for wrongful injuries to timber,” trespass, and violations of rules and regulations governing public use of Corps property. The government seeks compensation for the destruction of the trees, compensatory damages for “injuries to timbers,” compensatory damages for trespass and destruction, an injunction preventing any further damage and court costs. Drummond, who ran for state attorney general in 2018, characterized the conflict as a disagreement between neighbors and objected to the Corps’ characterization of what has happened. “My family and I have ranched the Osage since before statehood,” he wrote in a statement provided to the Tulsa World. “The Corps of Engineers exercised its power of eminent domain during the ’70s to take part of our ranch. We have remained faithful stewards and good neighbors since that time. Also since the ’70s, we have regularly controlled black jack oak trees with aerial spraying to enhance the native bluestem grasses and provide for the natural wildlife…”

Augusta, Maine, Press-Herald, February 10, 2019: Lots of trees in Maine. Unfortunately, lots of pests, too

Maine is the most-forested state in the nation, with forests covering almost 90 percent of the state’s land area. But some major components of those forests are being threatened by pests, a fact made abundantly clear at the Grow Maine Green Expo last month in Augusta. The most immediate threat is the emerald ash borer beetle, which was found in Madawaska and neighboring towns in May and in the York County towns of Acton and Lebanon in September. State Horticulturist Gary Fish outlined for arborists and landscapers at the Expo the draft proposals for quarantines aimed at slowing down the spread of the pest. The emerald ash borer attacks all three types of ash trees that grow in Maine, Fish said – green, white and brown or black ash – and it kills 99 percent of the trees it attacks. “The brown ash, which is most important to native Americans, is the least resistant,” he said. Black/brown ash has been used for many generations in the traditional baskets and other products made by Maine tribal members. The areas to be quarantined under the draft proposal are all of York County and an area from the western boundaries of Fort Kent, Wallagrass and Eagle Lake eastward to the Canadian border. Nursery stock, firewood made from hardwood trees and green lumber would not be able to leave the quarantined areas unless the wood is certified as free of pests…

National Law Review, February 8, 2019: When your neighbor’s tree blots out the sun, can you force them to take it down? Not In Massachusetts

Imagine owning your dream house. You have your pool, your barbeque area, your big lawn for the kids to play on. You’ve worked your whole life for this, and now you have it. It’s perfect. Well, except for your neighbor’s overgrown 100-foot tall sugar oak. It’s so massive it blots out the sun. Your yard is bathed in perpetual shade. Your roof is covered in moss. You’re pretty sure you could grow mushrooms commercially. You complain to your neighbor. You mention cutting it down, or at least trimming it back. He laughs at you. That’s your breaking point. You’ve had enough. It’s time to sue him, right? Sure – just not in Massachusetts. A case called Shiel v. Rowell presents the age-old question of how society should resolve pesky disputes between neighbors involving trees. Should the courts impose reciprocal responsibilities on the neighbors, requiring them to consider the harm their healthy tree may cause to their neighbors and to compensate them for the actual harm caused? Or should a person be the king or queen of their domain, owing minimal responsibilities to those impacted by their choice of landscaping? In Massachusetts the answer is clear: property rights are paramount…

Tampa, Florida, WFTS-TV, February 9, 2019: Florida tree activist chops off hair during City Council meeting to prove point about cutting down trees

Most activists use signs, protests or petitions to make a statement, but sometimes you have to get creative to make a statement. One woman advocating for trees during a Tampa City Council meeting decided to cut straight to the point — literally. Cinzia Duncan is a tree activist and she wanted to make sure the Tampa City Council understood her point on cutting down trees. So, she grabbed a pair of scissors and chopped off a chunk her own hair. “Well that happened,” she said after cutting her blonde locks. “I can’t undo that.” While holding the chunk in her hand, Duncan went on to explain that once you cut your hair you can’t put it back, it has to grow — just like trees. Trees just take much longer…

Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin, February 9, 2019: Growing Concerns: Late winter is a great time for tree-trimming

February through March is an excellent time to schedule tree pruning. We will begin to enjoy warming trends that provide excellent working conditions for arborists. One of the most important benefits of winter pruning is that it reduces potential disease and insect problems that can be spread during the growing season. Some of the trees that are especially important to get pruned during the dormant season include: • Oaks. All species of oaks are susceptible to oak wilt disease, spread by sap beetles that are attracted to fresh wounds. Since the beetles are not active during the winter, there is no risk of the disease spreading now. In most years, the deadline for pruning oaks is April 1. The University of Minnesota notifies arborists when it is no longer safe to prune oaks each season. Pruning that is not completed prior to the high-risk periods this spring will need to be postponed until next October or later…

Traverse City, Michigan, Record-Eagle, February 7, 2019: Harmful bugs targeted by environmental officials

Audrey Menninga and Andy Harmon plodded into the woods on snowshoes, on a mission to help halt the spread of yet another problematic invasive species. Local environmental officials are busy tracking the progress of a new invasive pest insect making its way north along the Lake Michigan shoreline: the hemlock woolly adelgid. Menninga and Harmon are survey technicians for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network who are spending this winter trekking through local woods in search of signs of the invasive pest. The bug, often called by acronym HWA, is native to East Asia and feeds by sucking nutrients from hemlock trees. Individual insects are nearly microscopic, Harmon said, so the best time to spot the creatures is during winter months when their ova sacs can be seen with the naked eye as “white, cottony, little balls” clinging the the bottom of hemlock needles. “You’ll never see the crawler, but you will see the ova sac,” Menninga said… 

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, February 7, 2019: Cal Fire says PG&E doesn’t have to remove all trees above its lines

State fire officials have told the federal judge overseeing Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s criminal probation that California law requires the utility to remove all tree limbs that may topple onto a power line during times of high fire danger — but does not mandate removal of all overhanging trees or limbs, as the judge contended. Asked by U.S. District Judge William Alsup to interpret the law that it enforces, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said in a filing Wednesday that electric companies, during fire season, are required to cut down all trees or limbs that are within 4 feet of some power lines and within 10 feet of others, depending on the voltage in the line. In addition, Cal Fire said the law requires removal of any trees or limbs that “may come into contact with lines.” That provision applies to trees that have been weakened by decay or disease and any other trees or limbs that are leaning toward a power line or may fall on it, Cal Fire’s lawyers said. The requirement includes healthy trees that, in the “professional judgment” of competent inspectors, may topple onto a line in high winds, but it does not go so far as to require “trimming or removing every healthy limb that hangs over a power line,” Cal Fire said…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KHNL-TV, February 7, 2019: Manoa is dealing with a weird new crime: Vandals are stripping bark from trees

“This is brand new. You can feel it. It’s still fresh and still damp,” Art Mersereau said. The Manoa resident walks his dogs daily in Manoa District Park. He pointed out damage vandals have done to about a half dozen trees. “They started going after these trees,” he said. “Then after a while the ones along that stream over there started getting hacked at.” The trees are called acacia confusa, commonly known as false koa wood trees, a non-native species. In postings on Nextdoor Manoa, some people said a man and a woman have been spotted in the park at night using a machete to harvest the bark. Park users started noticing the damaged trees late last year. “These trees have been here for such a long time, and people are just tearing off the bark and doing whatever they’re doing to it,” resident James Humphries said. Arborists say some Pacific island cultures use the bark for medicinal purposes. The tree also contains the chemical DMT ― a hallucinogen. “Everybody is talking about how it’s drug-related. And it’s a hallucinogenic element in this tree,” park user Catherine Cooke said…

Family Handyman, February 7, 2019: Here’s why you should be scared of your trees after a winter storm

Dealing with a Polar Vortex can sure be an anxiety-ridden time for a homeowner. As if preventing freezing pipes and exploding toilets wasn’t enough, carefully checking out the trees in your yard should also be on the list. Why? Frost cracks. According to experts at the Monster Tree Service, trees that have been under extreme winter temperatures and storms can experience trauma that will affect the trunks of the trees. This happens when a tree is exposed to fluctuating temperatures. After the Polar Vortex in January 2019, Minneapolis’ weather jumped almost 50 degrees in just one week, from -28 degrees to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Arborists speculate where frost cracks come from, but Monster Tree Service finds frost cracks to occur due to temperature fluctuations. This causes the trunk to expand and contract rapidly, leading to vertical splits on the bark and deeper (similar to a soda expanding and exploding when frozen). “Often you can hear them occur, they sound very loud, almost like a rifle bang,” said Adam Barker, Arborist Sales Manager at Monster Tree Service. “But if it’s been cold conditions and it’s a thin bark tree and you see a new crack in the tree, you can probably narrow down the different [signs] to see if it happens to be a frost crack. If you can see fresh wood fibers below the surface and it’s a visible crack, and it’s been very cold lately, then there’s a good chance that a frost crack has occurred…”

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, February 6, 2019: SCE&G to start pruning 70 miles of Charleston area trees, wants to hear from residents

Few things can set a neighborhood off like tree trimming by a utility. The work can spawn protests, yard signs, letters to the editor and general angst — particularly when the trees involved are live oaks or any iconic grand trees. That’s been the case the past couple of years on James Island, where residents have been politically active over plans to more extensively cut the canopy in Riverland Terrace to upgrade the power lines. Later this month, South Carolina Electric & Gas plans to prune more than 70 miles of overhead distribution lines throughout parts of the city of Charleston, the town of James Island, the James Island Public Service District and other areas of Charleston County, including some on Johns Island. The schedule isn’t related to planned upgrades but is tied to SCE&G’s five-year maintenance cycle for pruning and brush clearing. Still, Charleston area residents take the work seriously, often complaining the trimming can be excessive and unsightly. Troy Miller, president of the Riverland Terrace Neighborhood Association, said residents remain concerned about the long-term upgrade plans that “would require extensive trimming of the trees” but are keeping a close watch on this maintenance…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, KFOR-TV, February 6, 2019: Man wants to turn nuisance cedar trees into electricity

They’re the fuel that feeds so many of our state’s destructive wildfires: Red Cedar trees are no stranger to Oklahoma. No matter where you look, you’re sure to find one. However, an Oklahoma man wants to change that. “Basically they are land mines waiting to explode,” said Steve Farris. The OSU forestry grad says not only are red cedars responsible for the severity of the western wildfires last spring, but the invasive species originally planted by the government to prevent soil erosion and provide windbreaks is cutting into farmland, and each tree can soak up to 80 gallons of water from the soil a day. “We are losing 700 acres a day to cedar encroachment over the state of Oklahoma,” said Farris. Farris moved back to the Sooner State from New Hampshire 10 years ago. He wants to take a page out of their play book and create biofuel power plants to turn the nuisance trees into electricity. “500 megawatts of power per day thru the production of cedars we would be looking at getting rid of 25000 tons of cedars per day.” said Farris…

Los Angeles, California, Times, February 6, 2019: Southern California Edison unveils plan to prevent wildfires

California’s second-largest power company plans to cut down tens of thousands of trees in high-risk areas, inspect thousands of miles of power lines and consider the use of preemptive power shutoffs this year, part of a $582-million plan to reduce the risk of fires sparked by the utility’s infrastructure. Southern California Edison submitted a wildfire mitigation plan to the California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday, as required by Senate Bill 901, which was passed by the Legislature last year. Although the Rosemead-based utility doesn’t face the same level of fire liability as Pacific Gas & Electric — which filed for bankruptcy protection last week — Edison’s electrical equipment may have ignited the Woolsey fire, which killed four people and burned nearly 100,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties last year. Edison already asked the Public Utilities Commission in September for permission to charge ratepayers for $582 million worth of fire-prevention projects, such as insulating exposed wires that could spark blazes, building more weather stations to better forecast fire risks and deploying infrared cameras to monitor equipment. The mitigation plan provides more details about what Edison expects to do this year. The company plans to inspect at least 125,000 trees in high-risk areas that could topple into power lines, on top of its existing plans to remove or trim 7,500 potentially hazardous trees this year. The company also plans to inspect all 19,000 miles of power lines it operates in high fire-risk areas, with a more rigorous protocol than in past years, said Phil Herrington, Edison’s senior vice president of transmission and distribution…

Physics World, February 7, 2019: Trees dying younger in Canada too

Trees in today’s boreal forests are living fast and dying young. Over the last 60 years the life expectancy for trees has decreased significantly, a new study reveals. The fastest-growing trees have shown the greatest decline in longevity. Rising levels of carbon dioxide and reduced water availability appear to be a major driver of the trend. There is concern that forests may see large-scale die-off, with potentially serious implications for their ability to mop up carbon and slow climate change. Back in 2015, researchers were shocked to discover that although tree growth in the Amazon rainforest had increased over the last 30 years, trees were dying younger, resulting in less carbon dioxide sequestration in the region. This led the team to speculate that faster growth due to climate change was leading to higher mortality rates. The big question was whether this was a localised phenomenon, or a global effect. To find out, Eric Searle and Han Chen, both at Lakehead University in Canada, carried out a similar study on high-latitude forests in Canada…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, February 5, 2019: Tree-trimming business flourishes in wake of fires, storms

Right now looks like a very good time to be in the tree-trimming business. With a federal judge suggesting that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. isn’t doing enough tree trimming and with fire-wary homeowners eager to get rid of extra vegetation, the tree trimmers of California are humming like chainsaws. “Increased demand related to new challenges from drought, storms and insect infestations has played into that,” said Bob Rouse, a director of a nationwide association of tree trimmers. “There are a lot of jobs, pay is rising, and there is room for growth. And the need to provide care for trees is greater now than any time I can remember.” Northern California tree trimmers, many of them on a hiring binge, agreed. Years of increasingly devastating and deadly wildfires in Northern California have translated into tens of millions of dollars for prevention and preparedness. Homeowners in dense, wooded areas are being advised to keep a barren, defensible zone around their houses and remove any flammable trees…

Los Angeles, California, KTTV, February 5, 2019: Altadena neighborhood lobbying to rescue trees from ‘aggressive pruning’

An Altadena homeowner said it felt like “an absolute punch in the gut” when he saw that an old neighborhood tree had been butchered. Shawn Maestretti snapped photos he shared on social media of Southern California Edison workers in the midst of trimming trees to make clearance around power lines. Maestretti, a certified arborist and climate change educator, said what the crews did made the situation more dangerous in the long-run. “They shortened its life,” he said. “It’s at risk of eventually failing. It’s certainly not going look beautiful at now. It’s at more risk of catching fire.” Maestretti and other neighbors believe the aggressive tree trimming is the utility’s knee-jerk reaction to recent wildfires…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, February 5, 2019: From flowering shrubs to tree trunks, cold snap impacts plant life at Chicago Botanic Garden

It wasn’t just cold commuters and local wildlife that had to deal with the effects of the polar vortex that gripped the Chicago area last week. The brutally cold temperatures also had an impact on the plants and flowers at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, but not always in a detrimental way, according to experts. Tom Tiddens, garden supervisor of plant health care, detailed the problems faced by some of the collection at the garden, particularly noting the impact on forsythia, a yellow flowering shrub. He said the shrub’s flower buds will likely be destroyed or knocked back, limiting the number of yellow blooms. “You see it only blooming from the ground up for about a foot and it is a clear line above that and there is no flowering at all, and that is because the flower buds have been damaged by extreme cold weather,” he said. “I am expecting to see that this year…”

Del Mar, California, Times, February 6, 2019: Del Mar residents call for changes to tree ordinance

Following the toppling of a 75-foot-tall tree in Point Loma that killed two people last month, Del Mar residents are urging the city council to revisit its tree ordinance to help prevent such a tragedy in the north coastal city and maintain views. The city’s current ordinance protects Torrey Pines and Monterey Cyprus trees unless they are found by a city arborist to be unhealthy or dying. Additionally, if a tree is within 12 feet of another unhealthy or dying tree, the city can provide a permit to remove them. However, some residents fear unhealthy trees may not be the only risks. Jayne Haines, a 25-year Del Mar resident, said years ago, a “huge, healthy” eucalyptus tree fell across her property. “It didn’t look dead,” she said. “It just fell. … What if a healthy tree has shallow roots and falls? If an arborist plays God and says it isn’t in danger of falling, and it does, are they liable for the damage and possible death of someone caught in its path…”

Charleston, South Carolina, WCSC-TV, February 4, 2019: James Island homeowners concerned with upcoming SCE&G tree trimming

Dozens of James Island homeowners say they are looking forward to having their voices heard at the upcoming SCE&G meeting regarding tree trimming. The meeting is Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the James Island Town Hall. SCE&G representatives will be there with maps of area they will soon be trimming and examples of past trimmings they have done. Neighbors say their centuries old trees are a Lowcountry staple, so they don’t want the power company to mutilate the trees like the company has done to others in Charleston. SCE&G says without this maintenance, the power lines will be in jeopardy. Although on Thursday, they say they will be open to hearing alternative ways of trimming in order to come up with a compromise…

Kansas City, Missouri, KSHB-TV, February 4, 2019: Who’s responsible for tree damage claims?

Weeks after a winter storm blanketed the metro area with snow, people are still cleaning up the mess. As some tree limbs litter metro neighborhoods, others continue to fall, which could put people at risk. Insurance Agent Brian Rauber has dealt with a number of claims involving tree damage recently. “I had many scenarios where they’re parked in the driveway and a neighbors tree limb falls on their car, that happens all the time,” said Rauber, Brian Rauber Insurance Agency. If the tree was alive and healthy, Rauber said the homeowner is not responsible for the damage. He said the homeowner had no reason to know the tree would create the claim. “If the tree had been dead then the homeowner is negligent, in that regard, they should have known that the tree could fall or limbs could fall and they should have taken care of it prior to the damage it caused,” said Rauber…

Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Daily Times, February 4, 2019: A cut above: Tyler clears trees to recreate ecosystem for pine barrens

Motorists along Barren Road near Penncrest High School may notice a clear cut of trees. It is not a new development, in fact it is part of Tyler Arboretum’s effort to refurbish a rare environment, serpentine barrens, the only one of its kind in Delaware County. “While it looks like we just cleared six and a half acres of woods, it was to bring back this unique ecosystem,” said Mike Karkowski, Tyler’s director of Horticulture, as he walked walked down a fire road on what is now the perimeter of the project. “Pink Hill Serpentine barrens has a truly unique soil chemistry and contains unique plants, and they create a habitat for a different set of insects.” Serpentine barrens are an area of land formed millennia ago when the continents collided and uplifted. The pressure changed igneous or volcanic rock on the sea floor to metamorphic formations and pushed it up to create a ridge that was exposed and formed the serpentine barrens. The name Pink Hill comes from the pink phlox that blooms on the hill in the spring. Serpentine barrens are found in only a number of places, including Chester County near West Chester and Oxford, outcroppings east of the Appalachian Ridge from Georgia to Newfoundland, as well as in California and Oregon. However, they make up just 1 percent of the earth’s surface…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, KDKA-TV, February 4, 2019: Tree Service Employee Struck, Killed By Falling Tree In O’Hara Twp.

A tree service employee was struck and killed by a falling tree in O’Hara Township late Monday morning. It happened around 10:45 a.m. on Marberry Drive near Bradberry Drive. Police and paramedics were sent to the scene for a report of 33-year-old Adam Hursen being hit by a falling tree. At the scene, responders found Hursen, who had been struck by a falling tree and pinned underneath it. Hursen was extracted from under the tree and pronounced dead at the scene. Allegheny County Police say crews from the Tree Masters tree service had been contracted to remove trees at a home on Marberry Drive. While they were removing one of the trees, it fell unexpectedly and struck another tree, which in turn fell and struck Hursen, who was standing about 40 feet away. Hursen was trapped under the tree for a time before he was able to be freed…

Palm Springs, California, Desert Sun, February 3, 2019: That viral photo of a cut-down Joshua tree? The damage was pre-shutdown, experts say

Some of the most iconic photographs taken inside national parks during the partial government shutdown were of fallen Joshua trees inside Joshua Tree National Park. One of those images, which showed a downed Joshua tree that had apparently been felled, was published in early January by the nonprofit publication National Parks Traveler. The image was later seen by thousands online and used in stories from The Daily Mail, CNN and other news sites. But that tree, which park officials believed was downed as a result of vandalism during the shutdown, was actually cut down before the shutdown, the park’s superintendent told National Parks Traveler in a recent article. “When park botanists were able to get to the site at a later date, they confirmed that this tree was in fact cut down prior to the shutdown,” Superintendent David Smith told the publication. “The park apologizes for any confusion this initial report may have caused,” Smith added…

Fresno, California, KFSN-TV, February 1, 2019: How to tell if your tree could be a hazard in the coming storm

Arbor Solutions, a tree service company, had crews busy working to remove trees from a property in Fresno ahead of the incoming storms. Mike Garner, co-owner and lead certified arborist with Arbor Solutions, said the trees were hazards. “Some (trees) already had limbs failing and the other tree appeared to be completely dead,” he explained. The trees were showing signs of decay. “You can see these fruiting bodies on here, what this indicates is that there is a good amount of rot on the inside,” he said while holding a cut-up tree branch. “(The rot) leads to a very weak limb and that limb is more than likely dead. Another system we saw was that bark was peeling right off…”

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 4, 2019: Rising CO2 won’t make trees grow more, study suggests

Everyone knows plants need CO2 to grow. So it seems logical that the extra carbon we’re spewing into the atmosphere will make plants grow more, capturing more carbon and mitigating climate change, right? That’s something argued by climate change skeptics and assumed by some scientific models used to predict future changes in the Earth’s vegetation. But growing evidence suggests that extra CO2 in the atmosphere isn’t making trees grow more. And, in fact, climate change is generating warmer, drier conditions that could make them grow less in many places. A recent study of extraordinary Quebec cedars that are between 600 and 1,000 years old adds to that evidence. It found rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times made trees more efficient at using water, but didn’t increase the growth of their trunks — and therefore the amount of carbon they stored, the researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last week. “What we bring as a hypothesis is if you don’t have the water and nutrients to consume this supplementary CO2, well, you cannot grow faster,” said Claudie Giguère-Croteau, who conducted the research while she was a master’s student at the University of Quebec in Montreal…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, February 3, 2019: Don’t jump to conclusions when diagnosing tree problems

This is Part II of the column on diagnosing tree problems. Last week, we learned that water stress and weed whacker injury are the most common tree problems in our landscapes, and that the rooting area necessary for large trees to survive and grow is much bigger than most folks realize. We also touched on the reasons why symptoms are rarely sufficient for conclusive diagnosis of a tree disorder. This is partly because symptoms may point to secondary or tertiary problems. Many — but not all — insect pests and pathogens are more likely to attack trees that are already stressed. Plant stressors can be broadly divided into two categories: biotic and abiotic. Biotic stressors are caused by living or once-living organisms, like insects, bacterial and fungal pathogens, and animal pests. Nature’s Notebook is a national, online program with the USA National Phenology Network that uses amateur and professional naturalists to record plant and animal observations in a given location over time. The steps for becoming a volunteer are straightforward. And you can set your backyard as a location or pick a public space and get a group to sign up together…

The Scientist, February 1, 2019: How trees fare in big hurricanes

Trees bowed to 45-degree angles and flying leaves crisscrossed the sky as Hurricane Florence ravaged North Carolina’s coast and inland regions in mid-September 2018. The storm, which peaked as a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall near Wilmington as a Category 1, deluged parts of the state with nearly three feet of rain. It stripped the leaves off black walnuts, crape myrtles, and their entwining wisterias, especially on the north and northeast sides of the trees, which bore the full brunt of the 100-plus-mile-per-hour wind gusts. An estimated 1.25 million acres of timber, valued at nearly $70 million, suffered varying degrees of damage. Whoppers like Florence are a reality that North Carolina—not to mention the rest of the Eastern seaboard and the Caribbean—may have to get used to in the near future. Historically, a given location might only see such destructive hurricanes every few decades. But with global temperatures on the rise, the risk that a fledgling storm system will grow to “major” status, defined as category 3 and above, is likely to climb. Warming oceans mean more water vapor in the air, and that vapor is what fuels the storms. “One of the signals that we expect from climate change is that the strongest hurricanes will get stronger,” says Gary Lackmann, an atmospheric scientist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh…

WhatTheyThink.com, January 31, 2019: Two Sides: U.S. forests grew by 2,740 NFL football fields each day

Between 2005 and 2015, U.S. forests grew by the equivalent of 2,740 NFL football fields each day. That’s a total of almost 1.3 million acres a year! In the U.S., we grow many more trees than we harvest. In fact, there are 20% more trees today than there were on the first Earth Day Celebration in 1970. Yet, our nation consumes more paper products than many parts of the world. How can this be? It turns out that consumption of paper and other wood products, along with sustainable forest management, is essential to maintaining this growth. Did you know that private landowners provide more than 90% of wood and paper products? This is actually an important factor in ensuring the long-term health of U.S. forests. Receiving income for wood products grown on their land, private foresters and family tree farms are incentivized to engage in smart, sustainable harvesting practices. Moreover, profitable forest management may prevent the conversion of land to non-forest uses like real estate development and agriculture. Healthy forests also benefit the environment and economy in other ways, such as: Replenishing and extending the supply of wood fiber; Reducing greenhouse gas emissions that can contribute to climate change; Creating trees that release oxygen into the atmosphere, supporting life on our planet; Providing hundreds of thousands of jobs…

Vancouver, British Columbia, Vancouver is Awesome, January 31, 2019: This ‘hair ice’ phenomena was found on a B.C. tree

While it may look like something out of a fairytale, ‘hair ice’ is a fairly common occurrence across the world. What’s more, the whimsical manifestation happens a great deal in our own backyard. Not only do British Columbian forests reach the cold temperatures necessary for it to form, but they also have a vast number of trees that support its growth. The fine, silky ice only forms on decaying or dead wood, and only on particular broadleaf trees. B.C. forests are home to a great deal of deciduous trees that fall into this category, such as maple, cottonwood, and oak. What’s more, Aloutte Parks Management, Park Operator for Golden Ears and Rolley Lake Provincial Parks, shared a captivating image of the phenomena on their Instagram account. “We got lots of comments about this “hair ice” in our story today. It forms on moist dead wood from broadleaf trees when temperatures are slightly below freezing,” reads the post. “Each of the hairs is only about 0.02mm in diameter, and they can last hours or days. It is believed that a fungus in the decaying wood is responsible for the formation of the hairs…”

Quincy, Illinois, Herald-Whig, January 31, 2019: Ice melt can be harmful to trees, plants

John Grievers watched his neighbor liberally toss ice melt across his driveway and sidewalks after clearing away the snow, and all he could do was dumbfoundedly shake his head. “That man is killing everything,” Grievers said to himself. He should know. With a master’s degree in botany, Grievers worked most of his career as a landscape consultant and horticulturalist before retiring two years ago. Each time winter weather hits, Grievers watches people ruin their plants and trees by using too much ice melt. He hopes eventually some of them will get the message. “Ice melt is made of elements designed to do damage,” Grievers said. “They break down the ice and can cause problems for the surfaces they touch. Much worse, they kill things you don’t openly see. You can’t just throw ice melt wildly. You have to be strategic with how you use such compounds. “You can’t let ice melt near your plants or trees and grassy areas. It’s simply lethal.” The cheapest and most commonly used form of ice melt is rock salt — also known as sodium chloride — but it also is the worst for your landscape. Plants use sodium in miniscule amounts, and when there’s a high concentration of salt in the soil, it can pull water out of the plants, causing them to shrivel up and die. Sodium also affects soil texture by “tightening up” the small particles of clay, causing poor drainage and killing much of the soil biology…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier, January 30, 2019: Charleston removing dead trees with high-pressure blasts

A big wet blast killed the trees along Meeting Street, and a big wet blast removed them for good this week. City of Charleston crews and contractors experimented just south of the City Market with a new way to remove the stumps from several Chinese elms damaged by Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma. Instead of ripping up parts of the sidewalk and street to expose the roots for cutting, a special Vactor truck trained a high-pressure hose on the roots, blowing the soil away and suctioning out the slurry. Once the root ball was exposed, workers could make the dozens of smaller cuts to sever the roots from the stump. Jason Kronsberg, the city’s director of parks, said city staff brainstormed the new technique to try to save time and money while removing dead street trees and readying their spots for new ones…

Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Commercial Appeal, January 30, 2019: Judge: California utility PG&E put profits over wildfire safety

A U.S. judge berated Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on Wednesday, accusing the nation’s largest utility of enriching shareholders instead of clearing trees that can fall on its power lines and start fires and making “excuses” to avoid turning off electricity when fire risk is high. Judge William Alsup in San Francisco did not immediately order PG&E to take any of the dramatic measures he has proposed to try to stop more wildfires. But he warned that he was not ruling out at least some new requirements on the company if it did not come up with a plan to “solve” the problem of catastrophic wildfires in California. “To my mind, there’s a very clear-cut pattern here: that PG&E is starting these fires,” Alsup said. “What do we do? Does the judge just turn a blind eye and say, ‘PG&E, continue your business as usual. Kill more people by starting more fires.’” Alsup is overseeing a criminal conviction against PG&E on pipeline safety charges stemming from a 2010 gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. He proposed earlier this month as part of PG&E’s probation that it remove or trim all trees that could fall onto its power lines in high-wind conditions and shut off power when fire is a risk regardless of the inconvenience to customers or loss of profit. Alsup said his goal was to prevent PG&E equipment from causing any wildfires during the 2019 fire season…

Bend, Oregon, Bulletin, January 30, 2019: State rule would limit use of chemical that killed trees near Sisters

A proposed statewide rule would curb the use of a controversial weedkiller linked to the death of more than a thousand trees near Sisters, but some environmentalists are concerned it doesn’t go far enough. On Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Agriculture released a proposed rule that significantly limits where herbicides containing aminocyclopyrachlor, the main active ingredient in the product that killed trees northwest of Sisters, may be used in Oregon. The rule, which could be in effect by spring, would prohibit using the chemical in wildlife management areas, swamps, canals, sage grouse habitat and many other natural environments, while maintaining temporary restrictions on use in right-of-ways for roads, highways, railroad tracks, bike paths and more. Additionally, the proposal prohibits using aminocyclopyrachlor, commonly abbreviated as ACP, in areas where the roots of “desirable trees and shrubs” may be present, a recognition that the chemical can spread through root systems. Another provision of the rule, which is available in full on ODA’s website, prevents trees and other material exposed to ACP from being milled, composted or otherwise reused…

Meriden, Connecticut, WNPR radio, January 30, 2019: Cold weather provides welcome relief for Connecticut’s troubled hemlock trees

Hemlock trees in Connecticut have been having a tough go of it thanks, in part, to a small sap-sucking insect: the hemlock woolly adelgid. First identified in Connecticut in the 1980s, this invasive Japanese insect eats through conifer trees and has contributed to die offs of native conifers like the Eastern hemlock. But Carole Cheah with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station said something might finally be causing adelgids to die off: all this cold weather. “I have been looking for adelgids since the summer,” Cheah said. “I have been hardly able to find any adelgids at all. Even in places where I used to be able to collect adelgids.” For years, Cheah’s been going out to look for adelgids all over Connecticut. Woolly adelgids are active during more mild parts of the season, when temperatures are in the 30-to-40-degree Fahrenheit range. But through years of sampling, Cheah said she’s found extreme winter temperature drops (at least -11 F in the northwest corner, -8 F in central Connecticut, or -6 F along the shore) are killing massive numbers (more than 90 percent) of adelgid populations…

Boulder, Colorado, Daily Camera, January 29, 2019: Delay in latest Boulder tree removal spat highlights city’s education efforts around ditch companies

The life of a gargantuan tree in west Boulder has been prolonged — at least for now — after a water delivery ditch company paused plans to chop it down last week. The Anderson Ditch Company agreed to delay felling the tree — a willow with a massive trunk from which four large limbs extend in front of the home at 580 Pleasant St. — after outcry from nearby residents over its planned removal. City officials are now acting as liaisons between those protesting the tree’s removal and the ditch company after Councilwoman Cindy Carlisle brought neighborhood concerns to the attention of city staff in an email earlier this month, just two days before the tree was supposed to be cut down on Jan. 22. Anderson Ditch is going to do more outreach with neighboring property owners before making a final decision, said Kim Hutton, one of the ditch company’s board members who also is a Boulder Water Resources staffer. She is representing the ditch company on this matter. But it is unclear when or how a final decision on the tree’s removal will be made — the ditch company runs water from the spring through the fall. “I believe just seeing the comments (residents) made, they understand the ditch company has the legal right to remove the tree. They were just concerned about the process,” Hutton said. “The ditch company is a private, nonprofit company. I suppose they’re not subject to the same public processes as the city is. We want to work through the process with them…”

Easton, Pennsylvania, Express-Times, January 29, 2019: Troopers: Wood thief cuts trees on private property, then leaves

Pennsylvania State Police are looking for a thief they say cut trees on private property for wood and then took off. Troopers were called for the crime at about 3 p.m. Jan. 19, on a property in the 7000 block of Elementary Road, off Limeport Pike, in Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County. The property owner said a man cut trees on the property, filled up a pick-up truck about halfway full with wood, and then fled. The incident is under investigation…

Los Angeles, California, Times, January 29, 2019: City-provided fruit trees are a big hit in Long Beach

City tree-planting offers aren’t unusual, but Long Beach has found a winning twist in its new fruit-tree planting program. The offer: A city crew will plant one fruit tree — lime, lemon, orange, peach, pomegranate or avocado — in the front yard of interested Long Beach residents, with a priority going to yards in the western, central and northern parts of the community. Renters can apply, but the property owner will need to sign off on the project. The city’s Office of Sustainability sees it as a win-win, with new trees providing shade and food in neighborhoods with the greatest need, and income for the youths hired to assist with planting. Larry Rich, the city’s sustainability coordinator, envisions community building too, with neighbors swapping fruit as their trees begin producing. “It’s one of the angles of sustainability,” Rich said. “We’re always looking for things the natural world provides that can help the city be more environmentally friendly.” But it’s always a dicey thing with a vision like this, so the city was cautious, getting funding for 400 fruit trees to be planted over 2½ years. The rest of the grant, a total of $1.26 million from two state agencies, went to plant 3,600 regular (nonfruit) trees around the city…

San Luis Obispo, California, KSBY-TV, January 29, 2019: CAL FIRE announces plan to reduce wildfire risk

CAL FIRE and the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection announced a new plan Tuesday to minimize wildfire risk. It comes after the state saw some of the deadliest fires in its history in 2018. Firefighters plan to double their efforts to minimize the wildfire threat statewide and county-wide. The state’s plan is focused on forest management and CAL FIRE SLO is doing its part to reduce wildfire risk. “I think people will be quite pleased, we have been listening and doing homework,” said Dr. Keith Gilless, the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection Chairman, in a press conference Tuesday. A decade of listening and doing homework resulted in the California Vegetation Treatment Program Environmental Impact Report. The goal: reducing wildfire risk across the state by doubling forest management efforts. “Both Governor Brown and Governor Newsom have been working with us to put $1 billion worth of investment to be put into the woods to increase the health, but also reduce the chances of catastrophic fire destroying our forest.” One billion dollars will be used to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. “10 of the 20 deadliest wildfires in California’s history have occurred since 2003,” said Gilless. They are changes that reflect the evolution of the awareness of the gravity of the problem, the will of the state and desire of the state to do something about it and the evolving science…”

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, KDKT-TV, January 28, 2019: Ash tree removal plan: 2,200 trees a year for 10 years

The city of Sioux Falls will start removing ash trees along public streets starting this week. All trees marked with a blue nine will be removed at no cost to homeowners. Targeting areas are South 12th Street, West of Louise Avenue, East of Cleveland Avenue, and South of 57th Street. This is in response to the emerald ash borer, an invasive species that was detected in Sioux Falls this year. The city is working to remove trees before the borer eventually kills them. They plan to take out 2,200 trees a year, for the next 10 years. “Unlike cottonwood, or an elm tree, they can stand for years after they’re completely dead. Ash trees do not do that. So from the challenge that St. Paul, for example, is currently experiencing is they’re concerned about trees falling over in the streets, falling on houses, falling on cars, and it really becomes a public safety hazard if you don’t proactively remove them,” said Parks and Recreation Director Don Kearney…

Insurancenewsnet.com, January 28, 2019: $37K to clear three trees after Hurricane Michael? An NC judge just shut down the company.

A Florida company accused of charging more than $37,000 to clear three trees after Tropical Storm Michael got shut down in North Carolina on Monday, part of an ongoing campaign against price gouging during emergencies. N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein’s office has now brought six complaints against tree-removal companies doing work since Hurricane Florence struck in September, forcing them to stop work. The latest case, against National Emergency Restoration Services, won a preliminary injunction from Wake County Superior Court Judge Keith Gregory, meaning the company cannot clear trees or collect payments in the state. Earlier this month, Stein’s office won temporary restraining orders against two other firms. One is accused of charging more than $19,000 for four trees; another is being sued for billing a homeowner for $39,000, a price tag that included work the homeowner had completed himself. Prices vary for tree cutting, but the consumer website Angie’s List reports the average roughly between $1,200 and $1,500. Emergencies can raise the price because working conditions are riskier…

Glens Falls, New York, Post-Star, January 28, 2019: Experts: Winter is a good time to check hemlock trees for invasive bug

The Adirondacks are covered in Eastern hemlock trees, evergreens that take nearly three centuries to reach maturity. But in just a fraction of that time — four to 20 years — an invasive insect could kill it. State and local conservation groups are hoping the public will take advantage of the bare trees during the winter and help examine hemlocks for signs of the bug, the hemlock woolly adelgid. Monica Dore, a conservation project manager with the Lake George Land Conservancy, turned over the branch of a hemlock tree Monday morning at Amy’s Park in Bolton. She was looking for a white clumpy mass, which she said could be mistaken for a spider’s nest. To her relief, there were no white globs, which are the “wool” nests the adult bug will lay its eggs in. These may also be easier to see and identify in the winter than the small, black aphids that congregate at the base of a tree’s needles in the summer…

Phys.org, January 28, 2019: Small trees make big impact in climate change fight

When it comes to trees storing carbon, don’t underestimate the little guys, according to new study. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their roots and leaves. Florida International University ecologist Jason Vleminckx and a team of researchers found small trees can store carbon for an average of 74 years, whereas big trees can store it for an average of 54 to 57 years. That’s because the small ones grow slower and live longer than the big ones. “Small trees in the understory get limited sunlight. This actually makes them very efficient and competitive,” said Vleminckx, a postdoctoral researcher in FIU’s Department of Biological Sciences. “The study highlights the importance of considering forests as a whole when assessing carbon stocks.” Vleminckx was part of an international research team who conducted the study. He collected data and co-authored the study. Assessments on how much carbon dioxide has been taken out of the atmosphere and stored in a forest have traditionally focused on big trees because they’re easier to see and measure, Vleminckx said. Although forests are made up mostly of big trees, they suffer the most during droughts. The understory where small trees live is also more biodiverse than the canopy where big trees live. Small trees, therefore, offer long-term stability in moving carbon through the atmosphere. Accounting for all the trees in a forest is critical for accurately predicting carbon cycling and effective conservation management, according to the researchers…

Winnipeg, Manitoba, CBC, January 27, 2019: Winnipeg’s –36 C forecast could be bad news for emerald ash borers

Extreme cold temperatures in the forecast could be good news for Winnipeg’s ash trees and very bad news for emerald ash borers. The city started battling the invasive species even before its presence was confirmed last year; the beetle could cost the city millions of dollars and devastate the tree canopy, which includes more than 350,000 green ashes. But now researchers are probing whether temperatures below –30 C could kill or slow the development of the emerald ash borer. Chris MacQuarrie, a research scientist with Natural Resources Canada, is trying to determine what it might take to stop the borer as it mounts an invasion of Western Canada. “The cold question is one that’s really interesting especially for, as it moves — we’ve sort of expected it’s going to keep moving — and so as it gets into Western Canada, that question of what does the cold do, and what does the climate do, is really interesting,” said MacQuarrie, who’s working with a postdoctoral student to get to the bottom of that question…

Florence, South Carolina, Morning News, January 27, 2019: Tips for pruning trees

Last week we talked about the common practice of topping trees (removing large-diameter branches by cutting in the middle of the limb), which goes against green industry standards. To avoid this “copy-cat crime,” please don’t pay any attention to the wrongs of others. As for the popular crape myrtle, they should be pruned into a multi-stemmed tree rather than trying to control their size by topping them like a shrub. Choose three to five trunks and remove the rest at ground level with a saw or loppers. Continue to remove any sprouts that come from the ground or the base of the trunks over the next few years. You can remove the seed heads from the top if you like, but it is not necessary. Always avoid cutting into any large-diameter wood (anything thicker than a pencil). As for single-stemmed trees (like oaks, maples and dogwoods), rather than cutting the top, we should again focus on the bottom of the tree and encourage the trunk to grow in diameter to support a healthy canopy. Instead of topping, it is better to limb up young trees gradually as they grow (remove lower branches so that you can walk, drive or mow under them if needed). On young trees it is best to leave “temporary branches” on the lower trunk and remove a few each year as the tree gets bigger and stronger around at the base. These lower branches can be shortened at first, and then cut off at the trunk later on…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, January 27, 2019: The first steps to take when diagnosing tree problems

Local tree experts agree that the number one tree “disease” in New Mexico is drought. And the number one pest for trees in New Mexico is humans with our weed whackers and mowers. That being said, last summer over the phone with the Hidalgo County Extension agent, I diagnosed Afghan pines with water stress. Luckily for those poor trees, I had a trip planned to visit Lordsburg that month, so we scheduled a site visit, and though the problem was technically water stress, it wasn’t what I expected. The homeowner’s soil was heavy clay, and the roots were staying way too wet. Roots need water, that’s for certain. But it’s also true that they need oxygen, so before anyone waters their trees (along with all your other landscape plants), stick your finger in the soil or use a tool to dig down a few inches. If the soil feels moist, don’t water quite yet. Roots also need space to grow. The rules differ by tree species and soil type, but the larger the tree trunk and canopy, generally, the larger the root zone needs to be. The International Society of Arboriculture defines the critical root zone (aka critical root radius) for a given tree as the area equal to a 1-foot radius from the trunk base for every 1 inch of trunk diameter. Trunk diameter measurements should be taken at 4.5 feet above ground (or thereabouts, depending on tree age and whether there are huge, knobby lumps in the trunk)…

Roseburg, Oregon, News-Review, January 27, 2019: Time for winter fruit tree pruning and pest control

If you would like to produce more food from your yard think about planting a few fruit trees. Just a few trees can produce enough fruit to last you for many months if done properly. However, growing tree fruit in your backyard does take some knowledge and time. Without committing to both you will be disappointed with the results. Most fruit trees sold these days are on semi-dwarf rootstocks that require a minimum space of 12 feet by 12 feet to grow well. Your pruning style should plan to keep these trees within that space. Pruning and pest control are the most important winter activities for fruit trees. You should do the majority of the pruning in January or February when trees have lost their leaves and are dormant. In the first four to five years, most of the pruning will be light with a focus on training the form of the tree. Pruning a little each year to train the tree keeps the work load light. The Extension office has a very good publication, “Training and Pruning Your Home Orchard” (PNW 400), showing training and pruning methods…

San Jose, California, Mercury News, January 24, 2019: PG&E claims rates could skyrocket five-fold if ordered to clear trees, inspect electricity system

PG&E warned in a new court filing that it would have to spend at least $75 billion, hire 650,000 workers — and increase monthly utility bills by a huge amount — if it’s forced to comply with a federal judge’s proposed order for a massive maintenance and inspection effort for its electricity grid. The warnings by the embattled and cash-strapped utility, which has staggered to the brink of insolvency, were contained in a lengthy response ahead of a hearing in U.S. District Court next week. Federal Judge William Alsup has signaled he may order PG&E to undertake a thorough inspection of its electricity grid and to launch a wide-ranging vegetation management plan ahead of the upcoming 2019 fire season in Northern California. Alsup is supervising the company’s probation connected with PG&E’s conviction for felonies the company committed before and after a fatal gas explosion in 2010 that killed eight and destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood. “The resources required to comply with the (judge’s proposed order) do not exist,” PG&E stated in a federal court filing. “PG&E does not have the necessary funds. Were PG&E allowed to pass on the costs, the rate increases would be oppressive…”

Reading, Pennsylvania Eagle, January 24, 2019: An offensive against one of the spotted lanternfly’s favorite trees

The invader falls. It cracks and splinters as it hits the lawn of a Berks County home, pulled earthward by a rope around its tall, spindly trunk. The toppled tree of heaven is dragged toward a hulking wood chipper, devoured by sharp blades and chewed into sawdust as the engine roars a deafening swan song. Perhaps only God can make a tree, as poet Joyce Kilmer mused, but the powerful machine reduces it almost to nothing within minutes. It takes a landscaping crew only hours on a cold December day to clear 30 of the trees, an invasive species from China, from Kim Murphy’s yard. She had feared their roots could damage the septic system at the restored farmhouse in Jefferson Township she has shared with her husband, Kevin, for 26 years. And last summer, a more compelling reason emerged — or landed, literally — on her property: the spotted lanternfly. A plague in eastern Berks, the sap-sucking insect had moved to Murphy’s house on the western side of the county. The bug, also an invader from Asia, swarms backyards, feasting on the tree of heaven, among other trees and plants, excreting a clear, thick goo that covers decks and patios…

Salem, Oregon, Capital Press, January 24, 2019: Thermal ‘jackets’ protect tree fruit buds

Wind machines, heaters and irrigation water are the main tools tree fruit growers use to fight spring frosts, but Washington State University scientists say a fourth tool may be the best yet. Cellulose nanocrystals — known as CNC — from wood or plant fiber has “excellent thermal properties sort of like putting on a jacket,” Matthew Whiting, WSU plant physiologist, told growers at the Jan. 15 WSU Northcentral Washington Stone Fruit Day in Wenatchee. Whiting and three colleagues are in the second of three years of field trials spraying CNC solution on fruit trees to protect buds from frost damage. Xiao Zhang, associate professor at WSU Tri-Cities’ Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory, knew about CNC from working in a private industry forest products laboratory. He and Whiting tried it as a tree fruit bud frost protectant in spring of 2017. The results were positive enough that they applied for and received a $500,000 study grant from USDA and a $100,000 grant from the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. Beside Zhang and Whiting, Qin Zhang, director of WSU’s Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, and Changki Mo, associate professor of mechanical engineering, are working on the project…

Jacksonville, Florida, WJAX-TV, January 24, 2019: Tree trimmer charged with organized fraud following I-TEAM investigation

A Jacksonville tree trimmer with a previous fraud conviction is now charged with organized fraud, accused of taking money from customers and not finishing the jobs. Police arrested Arthur Ayers, 39, on Wednesday afternoon. The warrant for his arrest was issued two days after an I-TEAM investigation into Ayers aired. According to the warrant, Ayers had knocked on the door of three separate homeowners between late October and the end of December. Investigators said that in each case, he offered to cut down a tree for approximately $500. The warrant states Ayers received some or all of the money for each job and did some of the work but did not complete the job as it was agreed to. Two of the customers identified in the warrant are veterans who had spoken with the I-TEAM earlier this month, saying Ayers disappeared before their jobs were done, leaving an expensive mess behind. One of the veterans, Jyn Picard, reached out to the I-TEAM after first calling police and being told it was a civil matter. “I contacted you guys because I know you are going to expose the situation and make sure that everybody is aware of it,” he said. “He’s got a long history of scams so he doesn’t belong out here with the decent people…”

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, January 23, 2019: How a Dallas hospital’s fight over 11 beautiful north Oak Cliff pecan trees turned ugly

In north Oak Cliff, flags alongside the entryway to a grove of towering pecan trees on a hospital’s campus proclaim, “Trust Methodist.” The motto is part of a branding campaign for Methodist’s entire health system. But in the green space at the Dallas hospital’s northern end — where old-growth trees wear ominous red ribbons — “Trust Methodist” unwittingly sums up a contentious zoning battle. Residents who have confidence in Methodist, which is also buoyed by influential supporters outside Oak Cliff, support building a 35,000-square-foot fitness center in the pecan grove. To them, the amenity is worth the loss of 11 granddaddy pecan trees. But as the hospital tries to win City Council approval next month, dozens of others who live in nearby East Kessler have lost faith in their industrial-sized neighbor. Methodist has made too many land-use decisions that — while within its rights — didn’t build trust…

San Diego, California, KGTV, January 23, 2019: Deadly tree collapse sparks safety conversation in Del Mar

The recent incident of two people killed by a falling tree in Ocean Beach is igniting concerns about tree safety. Rebecca Crow lives in Del Mar and part of a neighbor’s tree fell on her home almost seven years ago when she was inside. “I was way over here in the other room it was like a missile,” said Crow, “I thought a rocket went by.” The eucalyptus tree caused more than $15,000 worth of damage to her home and her neighbor’s insurance paid for it, but now the tree has grown back. “This one I’ve been told if it comes down on my house it will destroy my house,” said Crow pointing to the massive Torrey pine next to the eucalyptus…

Allentown, Pennsylvania, Morning Call, January 23, 2019: The Bradford pear tree — dubbed a messy troublemaker — headed for chopping block in Emmaus

The American poet Joyce Kilmer famously wrote: “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.” But then, he probably never had to clean up after a Bradford pear tree. The Bradford pear is one of the “troublemaker” trees along the Emmaus Borough street trees that leave messes when its fruit falls off, according to members of the Emmaus Shade Tree Commission. Other trees have created problems by lifted sidewalks with their root systems or growing so big they interfere with utility lines. At Monday’s borough council meeting, representatives of the commission – Chairman Everett “Reds” Bailey Jr. and Doug Hall — presented the group’s comprehensive plan that includes which of the street trees need to be replaced, including some this year and next year and others in the future. The borough has a total of about 184 curbside shade trees, mostly on Chestnut and Main streets running from the Emmaus Public Library to the CVS parking lot. A few are on Broad Street and Fourth Street…

New York City, The New York Times, January 23, 2019: Root and branch reform: Swedish scientist makes fuel from tree waste

Might tree roots, twigs and branches one day be used to power cars? That’s what a Swedish researcher is hoping after developing a pulp byproduct that – on a modest scale – does just that. Chemical engineering scientist Christian Hulteberg, from Lund University, has used the black liquor residue from pulp and paper manufacturing to create a polymer called lignin. After purification and filtration, that is then turned into a gasoline mixture. “We’re actually using the stuff of the wood that they don’t use when they make paper and pulp… It adds value to low-value components of the tree,” he told Reuters. In environmental terms, he says that gives it an advantage over other biofuels such as ethanol. “A lot of the controversy with ethanol production has been the use of feedstock that you can actually eat,” he said…

The Scientist, January 22, 2019: A mysterious disease is killing beech trees

A new disease, named for the tell-tale symptoms that appear on foliage, is killing American beech trees. Beech leaf disease was first spotted in northeast Ohio in 2012 and has since moved into 10 Ohio counties, eight Pennsylvania counties, one county in New York, and five counties in Ontario, Canada. Its rapid spread has led scientists to raise the alarm as they try to figure out the cause. Beeches typically have paper-thin, bright green leaves. An afflicted, but otherwise healthy-looking tree first develops deepgreen patches between the veins of its leaves. In a later stage, the leaves become thick and leathery and eventually crinkle up. The buds on these branches die and stop producing leaves, says Pierluigi “Enrico” Bonello, a molecular and chemical ecologist of trees at the Ohio State University and one of the authors of a report on the emerging epidemic, as they refer to it, published December 25 in Forest Pathology. The scientists don’t yet know exactly how the disease weakens the trees. “It seems to be cutting off some sort of photosynthetic pathway for the trees to maintain their leaf structure and produce new leaves over the years,” says coauthor Carrie Ewing, an environmental science graduate student. It’s still too early to tell how deadly beech leaf disease is, though younger trees seem particularly vulnerable. Within three years of showing symptoms, a young sapling can die…

Middletown, Connecticut, Press, January 22, 2019: Worker hit by tree branch sues Greenwich, financial exec

A worker is suing the town of Greenwich and financial executive Sanford Weill over a 2017 accident that left him with injuries at Weill’s property. Jerald Teed, 67, of Norwalk was called to the Weill property on Round Hill Road in October 2017 to work on an entry gate, according to the lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Stamford. A tree limb at the Round Hill property broke off and fell on Teed, striking him in the head and shoulder. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, says, “The dangerous condition of the tree had existed for such a length of time that the defendant should have … discovered it in time to remedy it.” The legal papers say Weill was responsible for “unreasonably dangerous and hazardous conditions” on the property. The town of Greenwich is also named in the suit as a co-defendant. The legal papers say the tree straddled private and public land — “If the tree was not wholly on the private property of Sanford Weill … it was in whole or in part within the limits of Round Hill Road.” According to the lawsuit, Teed sustained substantial injuries to his head from the falling branch. The suit does not specify damages. It seeks medical costs, as well payment for lost employment opportunities and pain. The lawsuit says the town was “negligent” in not undertaking an inspection…

The Progressive, January 22, 2019: the last standing tree sits: Fighting to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline

Since September 2018, a small group of “tree sitters” in Elliston, Virginia, have occupied tiny platforms hanging some thirty feet up in the branches of white pine and other trees threatened by pipeline construction. “They basically cleared all the trees except this stand here,” says Phillip Flagg, who has occupied the stand for more than sixty percent of the days since the demonstration began 133 days ago. “For quite a while, security would just stop in and look at the sits, not really do anything,” Flagg says. “Occasionally, there would be helicopter flyovers.” But recently, he noted, pipeline security installed 24/7 security watch over the tree sitters, and the company has named Flagg and the other tree sitters in an eminent domain lawsuit. Under eminent domain, property is seized from owners for public use, in this case, for the construction of a gas pipeline. “We are currently being sued though none of us own land,” Flagg says. “They are trying to use [eminent domain] as the legal mechanism so they can get the U.S. Marshals to remove us.” The tree sits are on land with no nearby access roads, and which is too steep for the pipeline company to use a cherry picker to remove the tree sitters—a tactic previously used to remove tree sitters along other parts of the Mountain Valley Pipeline route…

Center for International Forestry Research, January 22, 2019: What do trees do when we are not looking?

Getting to the root of the dos, whys and workings of trees can be an obsession for forest researchers. And for my fellow obsessed- pinpoint accuracy is our common ambition. So why is this so hard to do? Accuracy is essential if we are to correctly understand the many details governing how forests, and their vast stores of carbon, behave in a wide range of circumstances. Such accuracy is also vital outside of research where, for example, payments to forest owners and others are based on how much carbon is stored over time. But, however much care is invested in the tree measurements, there are still challenges in using data to make accurate assessments of forest biomass production and loss. In our recent article, my colleagues Professor Takashi Kohyama, Dr Tetsuo Kohyama and myself describe, share and illustrate how such estimates can be improved. Accurate measurements of how forests change takes a lot of time and care. Generally, the most precise ways to assess how forests change over time is to measure large numbers of individual trees and then wait for a year of more and measure them again—and this is how most detailed science on forest change is conducted. But tree measurements are not the same as biomass measurements, and there are a lot of calculations and assumptions that go into using these data to estimate biomass change…

St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer-Press, January 21, 2019: Vacationing N.D. couple killed when tree falls on their rental house in San Diego

A vacationing North Dakota couple was killed early Monday after a tree with a trunk as wide as a car fell onto the house they were renting. A roughly 75-foot-tall pine tree fell onto the house around 6:15 a.m., when there were strong gusts of wind. The ground had also been saturated from recent rains. The couple, Troy and Jessica Nelson, ran a promotional products and decorated apparel company, Trojan Promotions, in Grand Forks, N.D. They were staying at a vacation rental house in the Point Loma Heights neighborhood of San Diego for the weekend after attending an industry expo last week, said Phoebee Stensland, the graphic designer and social media director for Trojan Promotions. A third person, Jessica Nelson’s brother Ryan Langerud, was also in the house at the time the tree fell, Stensland said. He survived. The house is listed on VRBO as a vacation rental. It has nearly all five-star reviews…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV, January 21, 2019: 2 groups planting trees in Louisiana wetlands

At least two groups are planting trees in Louisiana’s wetlands to restore swamps and help slow coastal erosion. The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana has nine events scheduled from next Friday, Jan. 25, in Mereaux, in St. Bernard Parish, to Saturday, Feb. 15, in the Tangipahoa Parish community of Akers. America’s Wetland Foundation will be working Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Pointe aux Chenes Wildlife Management Area in Terrebonne Parish. Both groups are looking for volunteers to plant the trees. The coalition says it wants to plant 5,000 trees in two areas: along the Lake Maurepas landbridge in Akers, also called Manchac, and in the St. Bernard Parish central wetlands unit. It says its “C.R.U.S.H. Project,” for Communities Restoring Urban Swamp Habitat, will help restore and sustain wetlands in the Pontchartrain Basin watershed and get people talking about coastal restoration. It says the Environmental Protection Agency and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation are helping with the project…

Middletown, Connecticut, Press, January 22, 2019: OSHA, Middletown police investigating death of Eversource lineman killed by tree

The Eversource sub-contractor killed by a falling tree Sunday while restoring power to the Millbrook Road area was the father of twin boys and an adult daughter, according to NBC Connecticut. The man has been identified as Howard A. Duffy III, 43, of East Haddam, an equipment operator for Riggs Distler who had a fiancé, twin 10-year-old sons and a 22-year-old daughter. “He would tell me every day what he was doing for work. Really enjoyed it. He was making a good life now,” his father Howard Duffy told NBC Connecticut. “It’s hard to explain. Just…just overwhelmed,” Duffy said of his son’s death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and city police are now investigating the accident which happened during a snowy ice storm. The sub-contractor was working in frigid temperatures to restore power near 1233 Millbrook Road at around 3:20 p.m. when the incident occurred, according to Middletown police Lt. Heather Desmond. Middletown police have not officially released the identity of the Eversource contractor killed during the storm…

Missoula, Montana, Missoulian, January 21, 2019: Can biotech save trees? Study raises more questions than answers

Opinion polls might matter as much as genetic experiments in protecting America’s trees, according to a new study of biotechnology and forest health. “We struggled with that a lot, and didn’t come up with an answer,” said Diana Six, a University of Montana tree pathology researcher and co-author of the national study. “There are a lot of people who don’t want to see genetically modified natural forests. It will affect their lives and how they interact with the forest. Is wilderness still wilderness if the trees are all human products?” But there are lots of tree species at risk of dying, and people value them for timber, shade, fruit, scenery and many other things. New lab techniques of gene editing, gene silencing, and controlled genetic mutation hold promise of blocking pests like insects, fungi and disease. Letting those modifications loose in the wild raises lots of unknown ecological and ethical questions. So the U.S. Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency and other policy makers asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to produce a “consensus study” showing how trees might be protected through genetic engineering…

Phys.org, January 17, 2019: Researchers race against extinction to uncover tree’s cancer-fighting properties

Three Chinese fir trees on a nature reserve in Southeastern China are the last of their kind. As their existence is threatened by human disturbance and climate change, researchers are hurrying to learn everything they can about the tree—which might inspire new and more effective ways to treat various cancers. Chemists in China were initially studying the tree, Abies beshanzuensis, to look for molecules that might be able to treat diabetes and obesity. Using only bark and needles that fell from the trees, in order to not further disturb the small population, researchers found that the tree’s makeup wasn’t as effective as they’d hoped in treating these diseases. The tree’s healing powers looked grim until Mingji Dai, an organic chemist at Purdue University, started tinkering with some of its molecules in his lab. His team created synthetic versions of two, and then a few analogs, which have minor structural modifications. In collaboration with Zhong-Yin Zhang, a distinguished professor of medicinal chemistry at Purdue, he found that one of the synthetic analogs was a potent and selective inhibitor of SHP2, an increasingly popular target for cancer treatment. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. “This is one of the most important anti-cancer targets in the pharmaceutical industry right now, for a wide variety of tumors,” Dai said. “A lot of companies are trying to develop drugs that work against SHP2…”

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, January 17, 2019: Bad things can and do happen to good trees. Always check the credentials of your tree care specialist

I hope Rabbi Harold Kushner will forgive me for the obvious take-off of the title of his 1981 book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” but the older I get, the more accurate it becomes as applied to trees. This time of year is especially hard for a tree nerd like me. With their leaves gone, the butchery done to perfectly healthy trees is no longer hidden. Now, before you nod your head and start thinking about what utility companies do to street trees in your city, what they do is a separate issue. They simply cut branches away from utility wires in order to prevent problems. They don’t function under the same rules that govern most arborists. They’re essentially not subject to private or public oversight. They’re only tasked with keeping the grid functioning. I just needed to clear that up before we start. Tree care “professionals” come in all forms. Big companies with names you know, small companies, and even ones with badly stenciled names on their trucks. But for me, the best way to determine if a current or potential tree care or landscape company is capable is to ask this question: Are they “tree doctors” or “tree undertakers?” There is a tremendous difference. Are they going to care for your tree, or do they just cut things off and cut things down? If you don’t know the difference, your tree(s) will suffer. They are often less safe after the work is done. How do I know this? Science…

Salisbury, North Carolina, Post, January 17, 2019: Don’t forget about the trees in winter months

Did you know that trees fall into a couple of basic categories? Trees are either evergreen or deciduous, which may help to explain how trees deal with the cold winter. Evergreens usually have some kind of needles and keep their foliage throughout the winter months. An exception would be the live oak or Southern magnolia which have leaves all season long. Deciduous trees like the maple and most of the oaks shed their leaves in winter to reduce winter damage. An exception would be the bald cyprus, like the ones along Arlington Street here in Salisbury, which drop their needles in the winter. Although evergreen and deciduous trees handle the winter cold a little differently they both have a similar strategy to keep from freezing in the winter – sap. Sap, which acts like an antifreeze, takes a little longer to freeze than water and usually doesn’t freeze solid. Pine trees produce sap that can be super sticky and is flammable. Most hardwood sap is watery but can be very sweet like maple sap used to make maple syrup…

Roanoke, Virginia, Times, January 17, 2019: Court filing asks judge to deny Mountain Valley’s request for injunction against tree-sitters

A federal judge should not act as an “enforcer” for the Mountain Valley Pipeline by using her power to remove two protesters from trees blocking the path of the controversial pipeline, supporters are arguing in court. U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Dillon was asked in a brief filed Wednesday to deny Mountain Valley’s request for a preliminary injunction, which the company says it needs to evict two people identified in court records only as “Tree-sitter 1” and “Tree-sitter 2.” Since early September, two protesters have been living in tree stands about 50 feet above the forest floor on a steep mountainside in eastern Montgomery County, frustrating Mountain Valley’s efforts to complete tree-cutting. But Mountain Valley is “improperly seeking to enlist this Court to act as its enforcer in its dealings with persons opposing pipeline activities and construction,” Roanoke attorney John Fishwick wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the tree-sitters. Fishwick does not represent the actual protesters, who have kept to their perches rather than attend court proceedings and defend themselves against Mountain Valley’s civil action…

Roseburg, Oregon, News-Review, January 16, 2019: Ahead of storm, power company works to trim trees damaged by recent droughts

A powerful Pacific storm that began drenching the West Coast on Wednesday is expected to include rain for Douglas County through Friday, according to The National Weather Service. Rain in Douglas County should persist through Monday, according to forecasts. As much as 0.61 inches of rain could fall in Roseburg through Friday afternoon. Wind gust could reach 26 mph Thursday. As always during powerful storms, Douglas Electric Cooperative, which covers about 2,200 square miles in the area, is expecting downed trees and branches to cause power outages, said Don Utley, arborist with the company. Extreme droughts in recent years are damaging trees across the region, Utley said, and that’s increasing the number of trees at-risk of falling on power lines. Douglas Electric recently increased funding and staff for its right-of-way program, which is tasked with trimming and removing trees at-risk of falling on power lines. “We’ve been upping it since 2015 and we’ve gotten more aggressive in the removal of these dead trees,” Utley said. The company invested more in the program to stave-off future costs of responding to power outages, he said…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, January 16, 2019: Tree company accused of price gouging

According to court records, a Browns Summit family had to have three trees removed after Michael blew through, and the company billed them $37,000. This after another company quoted only $800 for the job. So now NC Attorney General Josh Stien is suing National Emergency Restoration Services to get that family’s money back. The suit also asks the court to ban the company from doing business in North Carolina. We’ve reached out to National Emergency Restoration Services multiple times, and we’re still waiting to hear back. This is the sixth case of price gouging that AG has sued over in recent months…

New Haven, Connecticut, Register, January 16, 2019: ‘Frosty had the last laugh’: Vandal tries to run over giant snowman, hits tree stump instead

A would-be vandal was stumped after they tried to run over a 9-foot snowman in Kentucky, only to find it had been built over a large tree stump. Cody Lutz told KCCI that he, his fiancee and his soon-to-be sister-in-law made the oversized snowman in Petersburg, Kentucky, while enjoying the winter weather this past weekend. Lutz said his fiancee’s sister was “elated to experience the biggest snowfall she’s ever seen.” Lutz said he decided to use a tree stump as the base for the snowman. After coming home from work, Lutz said he found tire tracks leading up to the snowman, leading him to believe that someone tried to run over the giant snowman, which they had named Frosty. There’s now a massive stump now exposed, with a snowy imprint of a bumper stuck to it. “You reap what you sow,” Lutz said. “Still standing and still smiling, Frosty certainly had the last laugh…”

Columbia, Missouri, KOMU-TV, January 16, 2019: Upcoming winter weather could contribute to mid-Missouri tree damage

Lately, mid-Missourians have had the chance to build a snowman or go sledding and then eventually warm up next to a fire. But behind all of this fun, the snow is actually causing a lot of trouble for the trees in the area. The arctic blast that had swept through mid-Missouri left tree limbs on the ground and trucks split in half. The weight from the snow piled on until the branches snapped under pressure. One Columbia resident explained how he’s seen first-hand a tree break due to snow. Joe Burch, a resident of the First Ward in Columbia, MO, explains that he was sitting on his couch when he and his friends heard a loud noise outside. “I thought it was a car backfiring because it was so loud,” Burch says. He realized that the tree in his front yard had snapped due to the additional weight from the snow and landed on his gutter. “If the tree would have fallen five feet to the left, it could have really damaged my place and went through the window,” Burch says. Rachel Eckert, a frequent runner at Stephens Lake Park, explains that she hopes that the trees will be okay once the snow melts away. “It’s really going to ruin my view when I run,” Eckert says. With another snowstorm projected to come in on Friday, tree specialists are warning people. Stewart Scott is a tree care expert at Cevet Tree Care located in mid-Missouri. Scott is offering advice on how to prevent further damage to the trees…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, January 16, 2019: Protesters, police square off over tree removal at People’s Park in Berkeley

A steady drizzle fell Tuesday morning as a dozen protesters and several dozen police squared off while UC Berkeley crews cut down what officials said were five damaged and diseased trees in People’s Park. Protesters milled around the east side of the park, where construction crews arrived just after 5 a.m. to take down the pines and cedars behind police tape. At least 50 California Highway Patrol and University of California Police Department officers were on scene. “Everything we do around protests and situations like this is informed by our desire to avoid conflict if at all possible, and having a large number of officers is a good way to achieve that,” said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. The school has a memorandum of understanding with CHP to provide additional officers if needed, he added…

Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican, January 15, 2019: After wood taken from Ledges, South Hadley imposes new rules for cutting trees

After allegations that an unknown person made off with wood from the Ledges Golf Course, Town Administrator Michael J. Sullivan has imposed new protocols for the cutting and removal of trees. Sullivan said he investigated after receiving an anonymous phone message about a person who took cuttings from the golf course. “There was some tree limbs and branches taken by an unknown person, reported by the Ledges IGM Superintendent when asked during the inquiry. He did not know the person or get his license plate,” Sullivan stated in an email. IGM, a Florida-based company, manages the golf course. “I met with IGM, the contractor who now manages Ledges, and we developed a new protocol where anytime trees are being considered to be cut on the property, they will be inspected by the Town Tree Warden prior,” he said…

Oakland, California, Eastbay Times, January 15, 2019: Grassroots group repeats call to end PG&E’s tree-removal project in Lafayette

Emboldened with news about PG&E’s bankruptcy filing Monday and the hobbled utility’s uncertain future, a grassroots group is repeating its call for Lafayette to end its tree-removal agreement with the utility company. “I’m here to formally ask that — once and for all — we start the process to unwind the tree-cutting agreement with PG&E,” Michael Dawson of Save Lafayette Trees told the City Council on Monday. In 2017, Lafayette and Pacific Gas & Electric entered into an agreement to uproot 272 trees as part of the utility’s $500 million Community Pipeline Safety Initiative. “At this point, the Lafayette trees issue has not changed,” said PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith in an email Tuesday. “We will let you know of any future developments.” PG&E, facing as much as $30 billion in liability for damages from two years of wildfires, filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, which sent the company’s shares plunging more than 50 percent. On Sunday, PG&E announced the departure of CEO Geisha Williams, who left with a $2.5 million cash severance…

Westmoreland, UK, Gazette, January 15, 2019: Splitting bark on any tree or shrub should set alarm bells ringing

It’s a 30-year-old mountain ash (Sorbus), which has limped along for the last two years and has some large cracks/mini fissures in its bark. I’m not able to see the tree in person as it’s the other end of the country but I’m convinced that the likelihood of bad news is likely to be on the horizon. Splitting bark on any tree or shrub should set alarm bells ringing and should never be overlooked. It is possible for trunks to split due to freezing where damage may have occurred in the past, creating cavities or spaces where water can enter and then freeze. This, however, is not normally the reason for it happening – underlying disease is normally to blame…

Washington, D.C., Post, January 14, 2019: Trump’s executive order will aggressively cut more forest trees

With a partial government shutdown looming, President Trump quietly issued an executive order that expands logging on public land on the grounds that it will curb deadly wildfires. The declaration, issued the Friday before Christmas, reflects Trump’s interest in forest management since a spate of wildfires ravaged California last year. While many scientists and Western governors have urged federal officials to adopt a suite of policies to tackle the problem, including cuts in greenhouse gases linked to climate change, the president has focused on expanding timber sales. The executive order instructs the secretaries of agriculture and interior to consider harvesting a total of 4.4 billion board feet of timber from forest land managed by their agencies on millions of acres, and put it up for sale. The order would translate into a 31 percent increase in forest service logging since 2017…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, January 14, 2019: What to do if a tree (or your neighbor’s tree) falls on your home, property

The ice over the weekend caused problems throughout the Piedmont Triad when it comes to downed trees and power outages. As crews work to restore power, people may be left to pick up a mess made by a fallen tree. The Insurance Information Institute says that no matter where a tree came from, if it hit your house, your homeowners insurance will cover the cost. That means if a tree blew in from around the block or leaned over from your neighbor’s yard. You just need to file a damage claim with your insurer. If a falling tree hits your car, you can also file a claim with your auto insurance. The key works here are “comprehensive coverage.” That covers any vehicle damage besides collisions, including theft, hail and falling trees. According to All State, comprehensive coverage is sometimes optional if you own your vehicle so check with your provider to see if you have it. If you’re leasing or financing a car, your lender might make it mandatory…

Atlanta, Georgia, Saporta Report, January 14, 2019: Atlanta’s tree ordinance a sore spot among residents as city eyes a new code in July

Atlanta’s aged tree ordinance of 2001 looks so good that some folks say they’d be happy if the city would enforce it – until it can be updated. Meanwhile, the city says it’s on track to update the existing tree ordinance in July. The board of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods voted unanimously at its Jan. 10 meeting to ask BCN’s full membership to support a pointed resolution about the existing tree ordinance. The organization represents some 80,000 residents, and some said they’re weary of seeing trees cut on private property with what they perceive as little oversight from the city. The resolution calls for (1) the city to increase the transparency surrounding the current effort to revise the tree ordinance; and (2) the Arborist Division, in the Department of City Planning, and the Department of Parks and Recreation to comply with a host of existing tree protection regulations…

Seattle, Washington, KOMO-TV, January 14, 2019: How to hire a tree service

Winter winds are tough on the trees. After a big storm, you may find yourself needing to hire a tree service. You want to get several bids, if possible, but there may not be time for that. “Even if you’re in a rush, you really still have to do your homework when choosing one of these companies,” said Kevin Brasler, executive editor at Checkbook.org. “Tree care work, even if the tree has fallen across your yard, is still dangerous work. You want to make sure you’re hiring a company that has proper insurance – worker’s compensation insurance to protect its employees and liability insurance to protect you and your property.” Remember: Before any work begins, get a written contract. “Even if you don’t have time to get bids, even if you only have one company that’s available to do the work, get their price in writing and get in writing what they’re going to do, so there’s no misunderstanding when it’s all done,” Brasler said…

Kansas City, Missouri, KSHB-TV, January 13, 2019: Tree removal companies inundated with calls

Winter Storm Gia pummeled the metro with wet, heavy snow that weighed down limbs and left thousands without power. As utility crews got to work over the weekend, so did tree removal companies. Three local companies that responded to emergency calls Sunday said the real work, removing the debris, begins Monday and could last for more than a month. Ward Tree Care fielded 50 calls Sunday alone. “As I was driving around, it’s kind of like every house, every street,” Ward Tree Care owner Anthony Ward said of the damage. He as his crew worked to remove branches from the roof of a Leawood home. “This is a River Birch, and it was pretty heavy,” Ward said. “It’s so thick at the top, so it just bent it all the way down and broke.” According to Ward, softwoods like pines and spruces are impacted most by storms like this one. That’s why it is important to have such trees trimmed every three to four years. Ward also had advice for homeowners looking to hire companies in the coming weeks — make sure the business is professionally licensed and insured. “If they don’t have worker’s comp and one of the guys gets injured, then they could sue the homeowner,” Ward said…

St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer-Press, January 13, 2019: Get ready for more fights about trees and sidewalks and neighborhoods

Out at the west end of St. Paul, about where Oliver Crosby built a magnificent estate called Stonebridge, is a neighborhood without sidewalks. This is a quadrant of the city west of Cretin Avenue between St. Clair and Jefferson, with curving streets and a still visible curb cutout for an entrance to the long-gone Crosby estate. The neighbors don’t want sidewalks. They have lived without sidewalks since their neighborhood was developed after the fall of Stonebridge in the early 1950s. Oh, no, you’re getting sidewalks, the city effectively said. We are in the business of canonizing the pedestrian and you will get sidewalks along with your street and utility upgrades. But we don’t want sidewalks. We have lived without sidewalks for more than 50 years and there has never been a problem, never a fatality, probably never even a sprained ankle. We don’t care. It says right here in this official Public Works Street Reconstruction Program document that you are getting sidewalks. The neighbors rallied. A petition was started and enough neighbors so readily joined in that the city had no choice but to back off. So they won, right? Not really. In one of the clearest examples to date of what happens when you fight City Hall and win, the residents of that Macalester-Groveland neighborhood were told, “Fine, you won your sidewalk fight, but now you go to the end of the line when it comes to the reconstruction of your streets and your utility upgrades.” “This was never really about sidewalks, per se,” said a resident who didn’t wish to be named. “It was about the loss of 53 trees. A neighborhood should not have to choose between infrastructure and mature trees.” Normally, I would not defend trees, at least stridently. They grow back. But that isn’t the case here, or in any neighborhood in the city that loses trees. Trees give a neighborhood, especially this one in question, a distinctive character. Some of the sugar maples are 100 years old. The neighborhood is leafy and shaded…

Global Plant Council, January 13, 2019: Trees’ enemies help tropical forests maintain their biodiversity

Scientists have long struggled to explain how tropical forests can maintain their staggering diversity of trees without having a handful of species take over – or having many other species die out. The answer, researchers say, lies in the soil found near individual trees, where natural “enemies” of tree species reside. These enemies, including fungi and arthropods, attack and kill many of the seeds and seedlings near the host tree, preventing local recruitment of trees of that same species. Also playing a key role in the tropical forest dynamic are seed dispersers. Seeds from individual trees that are carried a distance away – often by rodents, mammals or birds – have a chance to get established because the fungi and arthropods in the new region target different species. This restriction of tree recruitment near the adult trees creates a long-term stabilizing effect that favors rare species and hinders common ones, the researchers say. Overturning previous theory, the researchers demonstrate that these interactions with enemies are important enough to maintain the incredible diversity of tropical forests. Results of the study are being published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). “In many North American forests, trees compete for space and some have a niche that allows them to outcompete others,” said Taal Levi, an Oregon State University ecologist and lead author on the study. “Douglas-firs are the species that grow best after a fire. Hemlock thrives in the shade and grows well under a canopy. Some species do well at elevation. “But in the tropics, all of the tree species appear to have a similar competitive advantage. There is an abundance of species, but few individuals of each species. The chances of blinking out should be high. But there has to be a mechanism that keeps one species from becoming common, becoming dominant. And it is these natural enemies that have a high host-specificity…”

Arlington Heights, Illinois, Daily Herald, January 13, 2019: How tree services can protect your property

Cold weather can take its toll on a property, especially in regions of the world where winters are harsh. Most parts of the landscape are vulnerable to damage from winter storms, but trees may be especially susceptible. By the end of winter, many homeowners wonder if their trees would benefit from some professional TLC. Tree services provide a host of services. While fall is a popular time to remove trees from a property, doing so in spring is not unheard of, especially if trees were affected by winter storms and now pose a threat to a home and the people who live inside it. Homeowners considering tree services can explore the following ways that some professional arbor attention can protect them and their homes. Tree services can help protect a home’s foundation. Old trees that stretch well into the sky can be captivating, but they also can pose a threat to a home’s foundation. Such trees may have especially large root zones that may extend beneath walkways and even a home. In the latter instance, foundations may crack as roots try to stake their claim to the ground beneath a home. According to the home improvement resource HomeAdvisor, homeowners pay an average of just over $4,000 to repair foundation issues, though major problems can cost considerably more than that. A professional tree service can remove aging trees that might be beautiful and awe-inspiring but still pose a threat to a home and the areas surrounding it…

iheartintelligence.com, January 10, 2019: On a global scale, tree cover growth has outweighed tree cover loss, recent research claims

Land change is a cause and consequence of global environmental change. Changes in land use and land cover considerably alter the Earth’s energy balance and biogeochemical cycles, which contributes to climate change and-in turn-affects land surface properties and the provision of ecosystem services. However, quantification of global land change is lacking. This is an extract from research published in the journal Nature. It was conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Maryland, the State University of New York and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. According to the results of the study, which is based on data gathered by satellite that has been monitoring tree growth and loss, the growth of new trees during the last 35 years has significantly outweighed the loss in the world. Most people all over the world live with the idea that on a global scale the tree cover is declining because of the intense cutting down of trees in the forests, especially in the rainforests. However, the research discussed above has proved this theory wrong claiming that the world tree cover is in reality expanding. The scientists who took part in the study examined the information provided by high-level radiometers with detailed resolution over a group of 16 weather satellites in the span of 35 years between 1982 to 2016. By analyzing the data provided every day, the researchers noticed some minor repeated changes that eventually led to more significant changes in the longer period…

Bangor, Maine, Press-Herald, January 9, 2019: Tree-cutting accident kills Maine man

A Washington man was killed Wednesday when a tree he was cutting fell on him. Shannon Condon, 47, of Washington, died at the scene. According to a news release from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, a passer-by spotted Condon lying by a tree just off Razorville Road, which is also Route 105, and called 911 just after 1 p.m. When deputies arrived, they found Conden had died. Union Emergency Medical Service and the Washington Fire Department also responded…

Scientific American, January 10, 2019: Biotech could modify trees to protect against pests

U.S. forests are among the most vulnerable in the world to predators and disease, and those threats are being compounded by climate change, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The report suggests that two U.S. agencies—the Department of Agriculture and EPA—and the nonprofit U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities Inc. consider using more tools from emerging fields of biotechnology to promote healthy forests. They would include the use of genetically engineered trees to prevent the loss of forested lands from pests. It notes that the United States has more than 100 million square miles of forests, an area exceeded only by Canada, Brazil and Russia. A panel of scientists convened by the National Academies to explore deteriorating forest health estimates that 7 percent of U.S. forests could lose at least 25 percent of their trees by 2027…

Science, January 10, 2019: Surprise: These termites are good for trees

When it comes to floorboards and furniture, termites get a bad rap. But there’s one type of wood they may be good for: the trees of rainforests. During an extreme drought that struck the island of Borneo during late 2015 and early 2016, researchers studied eight widely scattered plots on the forest floor. In four of those 2500-square-meter areas, team members dug out or leveled termite mounds and then left poison baits for the insects that remained. In the other four areas, researchers left the insects alone. In the plots with intact termite mounds and nests, soil moisture at a depth of 5 centimeters was 36% higher during the drought than it was in plots where termite activity was disrupted. Termites (above) generally require a moist environment and, when necessary, will dig down dozens of meters or more to bring water up to their living spaces, the scientists note…

Oakland, California, KTVU-TV, January 9, 2019: PG&E may need to inspect entire territory for trees, wildfire risks

A federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday tentatively ordered PG&E Co. to inspect its entire electrical service area and remove or trim any trees and repair any damaged transmission equipment that could cause wildfires. U.S. District Judge William Alsup will hold a Jan. 30 hearing to decide whether to go ahead with the order. He invited representatives of Cal Fire and the California Public Utilities Commission to attend the hearing, in addition to PG&E and federal prosecutors. Alsup is overseeing the utility’s five-year probation, which started in 2017, for a criminal case in which the utility was convicted of violating federal pipeline safety rules and obstructing justice in a probe of a fatal natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010. Alsup wrote that the purpose of his proposed order is “to protect the public from further wrongs by the offender” and to “reduce to zero the number of wildfires caused by PG&E in the 2019 wildfire season.” The season runs from June 21 to the first region-wide rainstorm in November or December. The judge noted that Cal Fire has determined that San Francisco-based PG&E caused 18 wildfires in its northern and central California service areas in 2017. The agency is still investigating the cause of the devastating 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County that killed 86 people…

Nashville, Tennessee, WKRN-TV, January 9, 2019: Middle Tennessee Electric wants to use chemical to control tree branch growth

Middle Tennessee Electric customers could soon be getting a notice on their front doors. The electric provider wants to apply a tree growth regulator to the trees to slow down the growth of branches. This would keep branches away from electrical lines. But, many question how safe the chemical is for kids, pets, and adults playing or working in the yards. “I grew up in agricultural areas, and I have been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Lymphoma is a cancer of the blood. It’s thought to have been caused by chemicals either sprayed on trees or residences,” says Steve Anderson, an MTEMC customer, and Wilson County resident. So just how safe is the chemical? “This is EPA approved and it is not a spray. This is something that is sub-surface. And it’s put into the ground. So it is not something that is put out into the air. And so it’s really designed to treat the specific tree the way the tree needs to be treated,” says Brad Gibson with MTEMC. “What we found is, that if we look at vegetation management, and making sure that we maintain that right away properly, that people want choices. And the choices we are giving them is, ‘do you want to have it trimmed? Do you want something removed? Or would you like to look at this tree growth management option…”

Richmond, Kentucky, Register, January 9, 2019: Topping trees is extremely bad for trees

When a tree grows too large for the space it is in, people often feel it should be topped. Topping is the drastic removal or cutting back of large branches in mature trees. These cuts often stimulate new vigorous growth. At one time, this was thought to be an acceptable way to reduce the height of a tree. Researchers have now found that this practice is extremely bad for the tree. Topping is injurious to trees in many ways. By removing a major portion of the canopy, the delicate balance between foliage and the remainder of the tree is upset. Through the process of photosynthesis, leaves manufacture chemical energy required by the tree for growth and maintenance of branches, trunk, and roots. With large portions of leaf surface area removed, a tree’s energy producing potential is severely reduced. Large reserves of stored energy in many stems and branches also are lost when trees are topped. These imbalances can lead directly to decline and death or can make the trees susceptible to invasion by canker and root rot diseases. Topped trees frequently produce vigorous regrowth, called water sprouts, just below the pruning wound. These rapidly growing shoots can have very weak attachment to the remaining stub, making topped trees highly vulnerable to wind and ice damage. So, what can you do if you have a tree that has outgrown its space? Thin out selected branches by removing them back to their point of origin, or prune to a side branch that is large…

Foxboro, Massachusetts, Reporter, January 10, 2019: Foxboro officials defend tree trimming operations

Mindful of public frustration over what some view as a blizzard of storm-related power failures, town officials went out on a limb this week to defend ongoing efforts at keeping trees and other vegetation away from power lines. According to Tree and Parks Supervisor David LaLiberte, Foxboro’s preventative maintenance program enlists both public works employees and utility crews (primarily National Grid) in an effort to identify, cut back and/or remove diseased or dead trees before they succumb to Mother Nature. Accompanied by Public Works Director Roger Hill and Fire Chief Roger Hatfield, LaLiberte on Tuesday provided selectmen with a common-sense overview of how hazardous trees along local roadways are assessed and managed. In recent years, LaLiberte said, town and utility workers have combined resources to remove hundreds of trees and trimmed along scores of public ways…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal Constitution, January 8, 2019: Family sues Atlanta Boy Scouts after son killed by tree while camping

A Texas family is suing the the group that oversees Boy Scouts programs in metro Atlanta claiming negligence led to their 14-year-old son’s June death. The parents of Elijah Knight filed the wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday in State Court in Cobb County where the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America has its headquarters. Knight was crushed by a tree that fell on his tent during a thunderstorm on June 25 at Bert Adams Scout Camp. Knight and about 100 Boy Scouts from his Texas troop were camping at the 1,300-acre Covington camp, which is run by the Council. “This is a very difficult time for our Scouting family. We offer our deepest condolences to the victim and his family, and we will support them in any way we can,” the council said Council when asked for a statement Tuesday. “The safety of our Scouts is our number one priority. Please join us in keeping those affected by the tragic accident during last summer’s severe storms in our thoughts and prayers.” The lawsuit claims the adults on the trip did not follow the group’s own bylaws about seeking shelter during inclement weather. According to the suit, the National Weather Service warned that the area could be in for 60-mph winds and quarter-sized hail about a half hour before Knight died…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, January 8, 2019: Man appeals his conviction, jail sentence in IOP tree cutting case

The man who was sentenced to jail time for cutting down two significant trees on the Isle of Palms is appealing the verdict. Jonathan Gandolfo, who hired a contractor to cut down two trees on a Carolina Boulevard property that was not his, filed a notice of appeal Monday. The motion will be considered by a municipal judge Wednesday, IOP City Administrator Desiree Fragoso said. Gandolfo was found guilty on two counts related to the cutting last month in municipal court. He faces five days total in the county jail and two weekends of community service. To date, he’s served one night of that sentence and paid a $1,087 fine. He declined to comment this week. His attorney for the jury trial, Frank Cornely, said he will not handle the appeal. The trees in question were on a property Gandolfo was attempting to buy, Cornely previously told The Post and Courier, but the sale ultimately didn’t close. According to a police report detailing the 2016 tree removal, Gandolfo told a contractor to “be a ninja about it and be quick so the code guys don’t interrupt you.” Though it’s not uncommon for tree cutting rules to spark controversies, it’s rare that they lead to actual jail time. IOP City Council could have accepted a settlement from Gandolfo before his case went to trial, but it voted 5-4 in November to decline that option…

Secaucus, New Jersey, The Jersey Journal, January 8, 2019: State agencies halt tree cutting at cemetery that looked ‘like a war zone’

Soil stabilization measures at Weehawken Cemetery began Friday after a pair of state agencies intervened when work crews went on a massive tree removal spree without obtaining the proper authorizations, officials said. A professional engineer hired by the cemetery met with two representatives from Hudson Essex Passaic Soil Conservation District and the state’s Water Compliance and Enforcement on Thursday morning at the cemetery — located at 4000 Bergen Turnpike in North Bergen — to discuss immediate soil control measures caused by extensive tree cutting. Erosion control measures are expected to be completed within a week, which began with the installation of hay bales and crushed stone in and around the areas of disturbed soil. “We all agreed on how to handle the situation,” Calisto Bertin, the engineer on site, wrote Monday in an email to The Jersey Journal. “First my office prepared an ‘interim’ stabilization plan to address the immediate measures to stabilize the soil.” The HEP Soil Conservation District — which addresses storm water, soil erosion and sedimentation issues that result from land disturbance activities — issued a Stop Work Order on Dec. 29 because the cemetery failed to obtain a valid soil erosion and sediment control certification prior to disturbing more than 5,000 square feet of soil during the tree clearing…

Salem, Oregon, Capital Press, January 8, 2019: Tree fruit companies on sales block

Several tree fruit companies in Central Washington are being sold or have gone out of business as costs and competitive pressures continue to force consolidation in the industry. Out-of-state private equity firms are involved in some of the acquisitions. Principals in several transactions did not respond or declined to talk on the record. One of the latest transactions involves International Farming Corp., an agricultural investment firm in Kinston, N.C., that is buying Legacy Fruit Packers and Valley Fruit III, both of Wapato, and Larson Fruit Co. of Selah. A Larson family member verified the sales and referred inquiries to International Farming, which declined comment. Four years ago, Valley Fruit and Larson Fruit formed a new company, Legacy Fruit Packers, to build a $17 million apple-packing plant in Wapato. The deal was reached to have enough capital to build the new packing plant to remain competitive, Dean Gardner, CEO of all three companies, said at the time. Valley and Larson maintained separate orchards and cherry packing lines. Legacy has sold its fruit through its partnership in Sage Fruit Co., a Yakima marketing company that also sells the fruit of Olympic Fruit in Moxee and Valicoff Fruit Co. in Wapato. According to a Legacy-Sage website, Legacy packs approximately 4 million boxes of fruit annually from 3,650 acres owned by Valley and Larson. Legacy, Valley and Larson have over 530 full-time employees…

San Francisco, California, KNTV, January 7, 2019: Storm may have caused massive tree to fall on car, killing Novato man at UC Berkeley campus

A weekend storm might be to blame for the death of a man in the East Bay. Authorities say a 32-year-old man from Novato died after a massive tree came crashing down on a car at the UC Berkeley campus Sunday afternoon. The owner of the tree service company in charge of cleaning out the tree tells NBC Bay Area the eucalyptus tree was tall, heavy and most surprisingly, it was healthy. A combination of rain and wind was enough to push over the tree and tragically kill someone, the owner of the tree service company said. The incident was reported shortly before 4 p.m. Emergency crews responded to a call that a huge eucalyptus tree had tumbled and smashed a car by the Greek Theatre on Gayley Road. The Coroner’s Office says the driver of the car was Alexander Grant…

San Francisco, California, Hoodline, January 7, 2019: Ficus tree safety concerns top Hayes Valley meeting agenda

A week and a half ago, a fallen tree shut down all traffic on Hayes Street for over six hours, causing headaches for drivers and Muni buses in the heart of Hayes Valley. Now, Hayes Valley residents will have the chance to hear from city officials on their future plans to maintain street trees in the neighborhood, and protect residents from the potential dangers of falling trees or tree limbs. Mohammed Nuru, the director of SF Public Works, and Nancy Sarieh, the public information officer at the Bureau of Urban Forestry, will join the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association tonight to discuss tree safety, as well as street cleaning concerns and homelessness issues. Created after the passage of a November 2016 ballot initiative, the StreetTreesSF maintenance program has transferred responsibility of the care of street trees from city property owners to SF Public Works. Ultimately designed to establish a regular three-to-five-year maintenance schedule for the city’s street trees, the program is funded by a $19 million set-aside in the city’s general fund…

New York City, The New York Times, January 7, 2019: Free trees? Many Detroit residents say no thanks

Deborah Westbrook, a lifelong resident of Detroit, would love a tree in front of her home. “With a green tree in front of my house,” she said, “and me looking at the green leaves, knowing that the tree and sun were mixing together to give off the oxygen we breathe? I would be proud. A tree in front of my house would not only help with the air, but it would help with me.” Nonetheless, when representatives from a local nonprofit came to plant trees on her block five years ago, Ms. Westbrook said no. So did more than 1,800 Detroiters — a quarter of all eligible residents — between 2011 and 2014. Why the high rejection rate? In a study published Monday in Society and Natural Resources, researchers found that the opposition does not arise from a dislike of trees per se. Most residents, the study found, appreciate the benefits of trees; these include alleviating air pollution, storm-water runoff and higher urban temperatures, and helping to reduce stress, crime and noise. Low-income and minority residents often live in areas with the lowest tree cover…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Herald, January 7, 2019: The screwdriver test can tell you whether you need to water your trees

Go outside and jam a screwdriver in the ground. If you act on what you learn, your trees will thank you. During winter, homeowners often neglect to keep their trees, plants and yards well-watered, but the greenery needs hydration now. “Any water is going to be better than nothing,” said Scott Evans, horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Office. “The fine roots can actually shrink as the soil dries out. Those fine roots are the ones that pick up the nutrients and the water.” So on winter days when highs top 40 degrees — like the ones we have had lately — use the screwdriver test. If a screwdriver 4 inches or longer easily sinks into the ground up to the handle, the ground is thawed enough to water. “If not, it’s frozen,” Evans said. “It’s pretty self-explanatory…”

Lihui, Hawaii, The Garden Island, January 7, 2019: Giving trees, planting seeds

As Hawaii looks at ways to become more self-sufficient in food production, people on Kauai are planting seeds that will feed the community decades down the road. They’re planting orchards near food banks and schools, and the harvests will be distributed for free in school lunches and to supplement canned goods for needy families. Four of Kauai’s schools have received enough trees for mini-orchards that students will be planting and caretaking. A mini-orchard was just planted at Church of the Pacific in Princeville, with five trees. It’s called the Giving Tree program, facilitated by the nonprofit Malama Kauai and open to anyone who will pledge to host a mini-orchard and give away for free all the food produced. “We’ve gotten half of our trees and we’re waiting for the other half to come into the nursery,” said Caitlyn Madrid, natural resources teacher at Kauai High School. “We’re going to be planting in mid to late-January…”

Spartanburg, South Carolina, WSPA-TV, January 7, 2019: Recent rain, snow downing more trees in area

Record rain in some parts of the Upstate and Western North Carolina is causing more downed trees according to a local arborist. Isaiah Copeland with A&C Tree Service in Spartanburg says the amount of rain that hit the area over the last few months has oversaturated the ground. “Over a period of time and with the weight of the tree, if it’s leaning a certain way or certain direction it will come over and come up out of the ground,” Copeland said. The area was hit with a snow storm that further weakened the roots of many trees. “This is why a lot of times you want to get your tree line back from your house, so in case something does fall… that it won’t hit your house,” he said. All those down trees are keeping the local arborist busy, removing limbs for some people and entire trees for others. Copeland says it’s been great for business. “It is a good things in a certain way, but I just don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Copeland told 7News. Copeland says homeowners really need to consider a few things, if they have lots of trees on their property, especially if some of those trees are leaning towards the house. “You want to go up and take some of the weight off, if you don’t want to remove the tree, because a lot of people want to keep their shade,” Copeland said…

Boulder, Colorado, Public News Service, January 7, 2019: Aerial Study Discovers Dead, Dying Trees in Arizona Forests

The latest assessment of forests across Arizona showed unexpectedly large areas of dead or dying trees. Aerial surveys conducted by the U.S. Forest Service in mid-2018 found about 1.7 million acres of ponderosa pine, piñon, and juniper trees with yellowing, red or brown needles. Forest Service officials attribute the problem to increased stress due to extended drought and other effects of climate change. Sandy Bahr, executive director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, said another factor is that elected officials refuse to deal with climate change. “In Arizona, one of the things that we’ve asked the governor, ‘Hey we need a plan. We don’t have a plan,’” Bahr said. “We don’t have a plan for reducing emissions, and we don’t have a plan for dealing with the many issues that we’re seeing.” During his 2018 reelection campaign, Gov. Doug Ducey said he’s confident the energy marketplace will solve climate change, and that new regulations aren’t needed. Forest Service scientists say drought weakens trees, which are then killed by infestations of bark beetles and other insects. Most of Arizona has been in a continuous drought since 2009, with no relief in sight. Bahr said she thinks forest managers should return to a program of proscribed or controlled burns to help preserve the state’s woodlands…

Quora.com, January 7, 2019: Why isn’t bamboo wood a bigger worldwide industry, since it grows so quickly and is so strong? Couldn’t it replace lumber and save many trees?

Okay, here is the long answer. Bamboo is the collective name for several dozen genera of grasses, all in the Bambusoideae branch of the “BOP” clade. While most bamboo species are either shrubby or relatively short plants, a couple genera include particularly large species, typically called “timber bamboo” or “giant bamboo.” These are the bamboo of relevance. Being in the grass family, bamboo is not a tree. Thus, material cut from bamboo stalks is not technically “wood.” Because of its roughly similar properties, however, and for marketing reasons, it often is referred to as a wood. With that pedantry out of the way, let’s consider the uses of wood, and how bamboo compares. The big ones are fuel, lumber, and paper. There are basically three different forms of fuel that bamboo can be consumed. One is as firewood. When I was a young boy scout, there was a large patch of giant bamboo growing beside our scout hut. We would often cut some for use as poles to practice lashing with. Every now and then we would have some sort of fire going. Who am I kidding? We were young boy scouts, we had various sorts of fire all the time. And, of course, “every now and then” some brilliant greenhorn would get the bright idea to add bamboo to the fire…

Santa Rosa, California, Press-Democrat, January 3, 2019: Nonprofit restores Sonoma County’s natural habitat with oak tree seedlings

When Natalie Portis first stepped onto her property in Sonoma nearly 20 years ago, she was immediately enchanted by the verdant natural landscape and the stately oak trees. Portis’ wooded oasis was among the thousands of acres of forests and oak-studded landscapes that burned in the October 2017 Nuns fire, which claimed her home and an estimated 700 trees on her 10-acre Castle Road property. “It still feels surreal,” Portis, 59, said. “It was devastating to go back there and see the singed trees. I just remember being there and feeling the grief and toll of such loss.” She’s rebuilding her home and plans to move in this summer. It’s been a “painful” process, but a bright spot came last month as she planted 21 oak tree seedlings sprouted from acorns collected by local volunteers in the weeks after the devastating wildfires two years ago in Sonoma County. “It was very playful and very sweet, and it put a huge smile on my face,” she said of planting the young coast live oaks on her property with help from members of the California Native Plant Society. “I feel like I’m going to get back home…”

SBWire, January 3, 2019: Tree Trimmer Market Analysis 2018-2025, Summary and Growth Outlook to 2025

This report studies the Tree Trimmer market size (value and volume) by players, regions, product types and end industries, history data 2013-2017 and forecast data 2018-2025; This report also studies the global market competition landscape, market drivers and trends, opportunities and challenges, risks and entry barriers, sales channels, distributors and Porter’s Five Forces Analysis. The tree trimmer is equipment employed to prune trees or remove a diseased or damaged part of a tree in order to maintain safety of the public and maintain health of the tree. Tree trimmers are widely utilized in local parks, forestry departments, and commercial landscapes. Expansion of the landscaping business is driving the tree trimmer market. Skilled workers are employed by commercial and corporates for tree trimming services and landscaping gardens. Increased preference for green spaces among cities is fueling the demand for tree trimmers. Emphasis on public safety has prompted firefighters and governments to trim trees that are likely to fall and disrupt safety. North America is prone to summer cyclones and witnesses a high demand for tree trimmers. Tree trimmers are employed to prune branches and trees during a cyclone warning in order to avoid the property damage by falling trees. Asia Pacific and other tropical countries also witnessed a high demand for tree trimmers owing to their requirement to cut branches & trees before the monsoon. Rise in awareness among public and governments for safety of pedestrian and property is driving the tree trimmer market. Increased construction activity in developing countries and expansion of the real estate industry are anticipated to propel the demand for tree trimmers…

Texarkana, Arkansas, Gazette, January 3, 2019: Moon Tree: Historic Washington pine from seed that traveled aboard Apollo 14

A tree in Arkansas’ Historic Washington State Park has a connection to the United States space program that one astronaut’s daughter is reminding the world of more than 40 years after the tree was planted. An ordinary-looking loblolly pine tree on the park’s grounds came from a seed that orbited the moon with astronaut Stuart Roosa during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. It is one of less than 100 Moon Trees still living that Roosa’s daughter Rosemary Roosa wants to preserve, promote and propagate through a nonprofit foundation she created. “I’m trying to keep these living legacies from Apollo alive,” she said in a recent interview. During Apollo 14, the third mission to land men on the moon, Stuart Roosa piloted the command module in lunar orbit while Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell spent two days on the surface. Among personal items Roosa was allowed to bring were 400 to 500 seeds from loblolly pine, sycamore, sweetgum, redwood and douglas fir trees, taken along as an experiment sponsored by NASA and the U.S. Forest Service. No one could predict the effects on the seeds…

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Journal-Sentinel, January 3, 2018: Here’s why more than 60 trees will be removed in Menomonee Falls this year

More than 60 public trees will come down this year as part of a new village plan to fight invasive species. Wisconsin is one of several states infected by the emerald ash borer, an Asian jewel beetle that feeds on North American ash trees. It was first detected in Southeastern Wisconsin in 2008. The species’ presence was confirmed in Menomonee Falls in March 2016. Then village staff teamed up with Wachtel Tree Science to create an inventory of public trees and a five-year treatment plan for infected ones. Their work will be financed with $21,504.74 in matching grant funds from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Arlyn Johnson, director of Menomonee Falls’ public works department, said they’re waiting for the money to be reimbursed…

Los Angeles, California, Times, January 2, 2019: L.A.’s trees are more essential than ever. The city needs to start treating them that way

While bird lovers, environmentalists and poets have long put a high value on trees, the hard-nosed number crunchers in government have not. Trees have often been treated as merely aesthetic enhancements. Nice, but not essential. That’s one reason why tree maintenance is among the first government services cut during a recession. That limited view is changing, and there is increasing recognition that trees are more than just pretty things. With climate change, big trees will be increasingly useful to remove pollution from the air, collect water during rainstorms and create shade that cools nearby property. But for all the benefits that trees provide Los Angeles, city officials still do not hold the urban forest in the same regard as other public infrastructure, like streets and storm drains. That’s one of the key findings from a recent report commissioned by City Plants, a nonprofit that works with city departments to plant and care for public trees…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, January 2, 2019: How long will a tree live?

One of the things I often mention when writing or talking about trees, is their potential lifespans. For instance, I recommend against planting ash trees as the main shade tree in a yard, not because they aren’t good shade trees (they are), but because they are short lived. Ash trees have lots of good uses in urban settings, but planting one with the intention of it being the most important shade tree in a particular landscape, isn’t one of them. Generally, when someone raises the subject of how long a tree will live, the first part of that conversation is it’s genetic abilities. For example, if someone asks me how long a live oak will last, my first response is that genetically, it’s capable of living several centuries. Personally, if there were some way to accurately ascertain it, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out that there are numerous live oaks in this area past their 400th birthday. For reasons that I won’t get into here, it is a lot harder to figure out how old a large live oak is, than most people understand…

Associated Press, January 2, 2019: Now’s a good time to savor the subtle beauty of trees’ barks

Autumn’s fiery-colored leaves have fallen, so now let’s look for more subtle beauty in trees and shrubs. Like a developing photographic image, the textures and colors of bark come into view in the increasingly stark winter landscape. Paper birch isn’t the only tree with bark worth looking at. Take a look at the spectrum of colors in bark. There are reds ranging from the fire-engine red of the shrubby redosier dogwood to the coppery reddish-brown of the Nanking cherry to the dulled red-brown of Cryptomeria. Individual trees of river birch each have their own bark hue, some cinnamon-brown, others reddish-brown or grayish-brown. If you think pale gray is a boring color for bark, look at the bark of a hundred-year-old beech: The trunk and limbs seem alive enough to start moving. The bark of some trees is decoratively dabbled with colors. Sycamore is one of the most familiar of such trees, but lacebark pine and stewartia also are worth planting for their bark alone. The pine’s bark is richly mottled in browns and greens. Stewartia has a gray bark daubed with cinnamon and dark olive-green…

Berkeley, California, Daily Californian, January 2, 2019: UC Berkeley begins tree removal in People’s Park amid community backlash

UC Berkeley began the removal of about 41 trees in People’s Park early Friday morning, generating criticism and backlash from community members. The landscaping department is addressing deferred tree maintenance across campus, with the People’s Park project one of a list of 15 tree maintenance projects. A work crew began the People’s Park project by removing and pruning about a dozen trees Friday. The campus plans to remove about 16 medium to large trees and 25 small trees to grade level from the park. “Performing tree work during curtailment allows us to be efficient and minimize interruptions,” said campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof in an email. Other sites near campus set for tree maintenance include the old art museum, the Women’s Faculty Club, Boalt Parking Lot, Hearst Gymnasium for Women, Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library, Carleton Street, Piedmont Avenue, West Crescent, Sproul Plaza, Sather Gate, Wurster Hall and the tennis court on Bancroft Way. There has been recent controversy surrounding People’s Park since the campus released its plans to develop housing on the site in May 2018…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, January 1, 2019: Dakota Access pipeline developer slow to replace some trees

The developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline missed a year-end deadline to plant thousands of trees along the pipeline corridor in North Dakota, but the company said it was still complying with a settlement of allegations it violated state rules during construction. Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which built the $3.8 billion pipeline that’s now moving North Dakota oil to Illinois, is falling back on a provision of the September 2017 agreement that provides more time should the company run into problems. The company must provide 20,000 trees to county soil conservation districts along the pipeline’s 359-mile (578-kilometer) route across North Dakota. The deal with North Dakota’s Public Service Commission settled allegations that ETP removed too many trees in some areas and that it improperly handled a pipeline route change after discovering Native American artifacts. The artifacts were not disturbed. The agreement required the company to replant trees and shrubs at a higher ratio in the disputed areas, along with an additional 20,000 trees along the entire route. ETP filed documents in October detailing efforts by a contractor to plant 141,000 trees and shrubs, but the PSC asked the company a month later to provide more documentation that it had complied with all settlement terms…

Manalapan, New Jersey, Examiner, January 1, 2019: Helping American chestnut trees recover from blight

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is an American tradition, but the tradition actually dates back to prehistoric times. Roasting chestnuts is a big part of Italian holidays, and chestnuts are an important food crop in Asia and southern Europe. The chestnuts we roast these days don’t come from our native American chestnut trees that once numbered in the billions and dominated forests throughout the eastern United States. Today our roasted chestnuts are Asian varieties. For thousands of years, the native American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was one of the most important forest trees. Each fall, the tree’s sweet nuts would blanket forest floors, providing a bounty for critters and humans alike. Strong, rot-resistant chestnut wood was a prized building material. But in the late 1800s, a bark fungus was accidentally introduced into North America on imported Asiatic chestnut trees. American chestnuts had little resistance, and the resulting blight, first discovered in 1904 in New York City, quickly spread. Within 50 to 60 years, three to four billion American chestnut trees died. Although a small percentage of American chestnut trees survived the blight, the great chestnut forests that had existed for millennia were gone. “The blight was one of the first ecological tragedies to hit this continent,” said Rex Parker, a member of the Hopewell Township Environmental Commission, which is leading an effort to restore American chestnuts in central New Jersey…

Portland, Oregon, KPTV, January 1, 2019: Oregon experts warn of invasive species that hitched a ride on N. Carolina Christmas trees

While families celebrate the New Year, many are getting rid of their Christmas trees this week. With that comes a warning from the Oregon Department of Forestry about an invasive insect that could pose a problem if you don’t dispose of your tree the right way. Experts say roughly 8,000 Frasier Fir trees shipped from North Carolina to big box stores on the West Coast had elongate hemlock scale, an invasive species not native to the Northwest. The Oregon Department of Agriculture found the pest and ordered the infested trees destroyed, but not before some had been shipped to big box stores all along the West Coast. The fear is that when Christmas trees are left for weeks or months in a yard or dumped in a park or the woods, eggs laid on them will hatch and the pest may escape into nearby trees. According to a new release from the Oregon Department of Forestry, if the elongate hemlock scale does get established in Oregon, it could be bad news for the state’s timber economy. The pest attacks not only hemlocks, but several conifer species native to Oregon, like true firs, spruce and Douglas-fir…

Eco-Business, January 1, 2019: Tree resin could replace oil and gas in household products

The loblolly pine isn’t the first choice of Christmas tree lovers. It’s not as compact as fir or spruce, and its needles are longer, so it doesn’t hold ornaments well. But the loblolly has a storied history, nonetheless. The famous Eisenhower Tree, on the 17th hole of the Augusta National Golf Club, was the bane of President Eisenhower. He hit it so many times while playing that he asked the club to cut it down. To avoid offending the president, the club’s chairman abruptly adjourned the meeting, rather than reject his request. (In 2014, the late president finally got his wish when an ice storm damaged the tree so badly, it had to be removed.) Loblolly pine seeds also travelled aboard Apollo 14 and were planted all around the country upon their return, including on the grounds of the White House. Some of these moon trees still survive. Today, the loblolly is serving a more noble purpose by helping limit the need for fossil fuels. Researchers, tinkering with the tree’s genetics, have found a way to reverse-engineer how the loblolly produces resin, a discovery that could help manufacturers produce greener alternatives for a range of goods now made with oil and gas, including surface coatings, adhesives, printing inks, flavors, fragrances, vitamins, household cleaning products, paint, varnish, shoe polish and linoleum…

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