News Links – 2021

South Bend, Indiana, Tribune, April 7, 2021: Bradford pear trees are highly invasive. This is why they aren’t banned in Indiana.

Invasive plants are wreaking havoc on Indiana’s ecosystems. It’s why last year the state put the Terrestrial Plants Rule into effect, banning 44 species of them from the landscaping trade. But experts say there were a few glaring plants left off the list. Most notably? The Bradford pear tree. This plant, favored by landscapers for its beautiful white blooms and stately appearance, is one of Indiana’s most criminal invasive species. Bradford pear trees, also called Callery pears, bloom earlier in the year, giving them an advantage over native species and allowing them to take their resources for its own. The trees have become so ubiquitous in Indiana that in some places you can find entire fields of them. But while they are bad for the environment, they’re also economically valuable for growers in the state. Very valuable. An analysis done in recent years found the tree earned nursery owners millions of dollars each year. That’s why they didn’t make it on the terrestrial plant rule. The Indiana Invasive Species Council, the group that decides which species to add to the ban, is prohibited from adding any plants that could cause significant economic harm to nurseries and small businesses. As such, a statewide effort is under way to educate consumers about the Bradford pear: If they stop buying, the council can finally add the tree to the list and cut Bradford pears out of the landscape trade for good. “We’re educating the general public and nurseries about how invasive they are,” said Megan Abraham, state entomologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and member of the Indiana Invasive Species Council. “That comes with a lot of public outreach…”

Jacksonville, Florida, Times-Union, April 7, 2021: Tree service worker crushed to death by machinery outside Jacksonville home

A tree stump grinding machine fell on top of a man while he was working at a home on Redwood Avenue and died, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Officers and rescue personnel were called to the Southside neighborhood about 3:20 p.m. when a resident found the man trapped under the machine, Sgt. Steve Rudlaff said. He was 35 to 40 years old. “We know the employee was working by himself In the backyard of a residence using an industrial tree stump grinder between and the house and hedge,” Rudlaff said. After getting stuck, JSO said he immediately started screaming for help which led neighbors to call 911. The man was reportedly working to remove tree stumps from debris that was on the road, officers said. A First Coast News crew on the scene said there was a crew from Shaw’s Tree Service working at the home. Some details are still limited at this time as JSO continues to investigate this incident…

Science Alert, April 7, 2021: Something Is Killing Trees, Creating ‘Ghost Forests’ Along The Atlantic Coast

Trekking out to my research sites near North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, I slog through knee-deep water on a section of trail that is completely submerged. Permanent flooding has become commonplace on this low-lying peninsula, nestled behind North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The trees growing in the water are small and stunted. Many are dead. Throughout coastal North Carolina, evidence of forest die-off is everywhere. Nearly every roadside ditch I pass while driving around the region is lined with dead or dying trees. As an ecologist studying wetland response to sea level rise, I know this flooding is evidence that climate change is altering landscapes along the Atlantic coast. It’s emblematic of environmental changes that also threaten wildlife, ecosystems, and local farms and forestry businesses. Like all living organisms, trees die. But what is happening here is not normal. Large patches of trees are dying simultaneously, and saplings aren’t growing to take their place. And it’s not just a local issue: Seawater is raising salt levels in coastal woodlands along the entire Atlantic Coastal Plain, from Maine to Florida. Huge swaths of contiguous forest are dying. They’re now known in the scientific community as “ghost forests…”

Phys.org, April 7, 2021: Research suggests eucalyptus trees can be genetically modified not to invade native ecosystems

Eucalyptus, a pest-resistant evergreen valued for its hardy lumber and wellness-promoting oil, can be genetically modified not to reproduce sexually, a key step toward preventing the global tree plantation staple from invading native ecosystems. Oregon State University’s Steve Strauss led an international collaboration that showed the CRISPR Cas9 gene editing technique could be used with nearly 100% efficiency to knock out LEAFY, the master gene behind flower formation. “The flowers never developed to the point where ovules, pollen or fertile seeds were observed,” Strauss said. “And there was no detectable negative effect on tree growth or form. A field study should be the next step to take a more careful look at stability of the vegetative and floral sterility traits, but with physical gene mutation we expect high reliability over the life of the trees.” Findings were published in Plant Biotechnology Journal…

Reason.com, April 6, 2021: Why Isn’t California Safer From Wildfires?

It’s been four years since the North Bay Fires in California devastated Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino, and three years since Paradise was nearly wiped off the map. Until last year, 2017 was the largest wildfire season on record, with more than 1.5 million acres burned in the wake of six years of drought. This past year blew that record away—2020 was the largest wildfire season in California’s recorded history, with 4.2 million acres burned by 10,000 wildfires. The severity of the 2020 fire season and the number of forest fires that move from the floor up to the canopy are clear evidence that we have not done enough. Our forests are not healthy, and lives and property continue to be at risk. We know all this. Wildfire risk is a top concern of fire agencies, legislators, and residents alike. So why aren’t we safer? The biggest hurdle is the well-intentioned California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which introduces layers of uncertainty and complication, holding up much of the fire prevention work identified after 2017…

Fort Myers, Florida, WBBH-TV, April 6, 2021: Historic trees experience unusually early bloom

The blooming of the East Asian Cherry Tree is a major springtime tourist attraction in Washington, DC and in cities across Japan. But this year the beautiful hues of pink and white came earlier than normal, and in some parts of Japan, blossoms peaked at the earliest point on the calendar in more than 1,200 years! That’s according to a new study released in Japan which looked at documents dating back to the year 812 kept in the city of Kyoto. That’s where this year, the brief window of time when blossoms were at their peak, occurred on March 26th. That makes for the city’s earliest bloom peak in the long trail of records dating back centuries upon centuries. There are several factors likely at work moving up the blossom peak this year. In any given year, the weather will certainly play a role in day-to-day temperature ranges and variations in precipitation. These are factors that can delay or speed up the blossom peak. Another contribution could be the concept of the “urban heat island”. Considering Kyoto has more than 1,000 years of consistent recorded history you must take into account how the city itself has changed in that time. Large modern cities of today are filled with concrete and pavement, things that weren’t there when Kyoto was first settled before the year 800. Massive concrete structures absorb heat during the day before releasing it at night when the sun goes down. This keeps urban areas warm during the day, and mild at night, especially compared to outlying rural areas which cool down far more because of the absence of the build-up of materials creating the urban heat island effect…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, April 6, 2021: 350-year-old tree in Bay Village comes down

As Wendy Wagner and her husband, Mike Walker, sat on their balcony Tuesday, the whir of the chainsaw reverberated around Lake Road. For a moment, the couple played bagpipe music as is done at funerals, gazing at Grand Abby Oak as the 350-year-old tree was slowly stripped from the earth. The tree, located on property known as Lil Acre, is a beloved landmark in Wagner’s neighborhood and in Bay Village, but it came down Tuesday despite a public pressure campaign aimed at getting Lil Acre’s new owners, Steven and Debra Diamond, to save it. A week ago, Steven Diamond told cleveland.com that his family had made no decision about removing the tree as part of a construction project underway on the property. “If we can save it, we will,” he said then. “It’s a cool tree. If we don’t need to dig near it, it may survive.” Diamond said he was seeking opinions from experts to determine the oak’s life expectancy and whether its extensive root system would be damaged when crews dig the foundation for his new home. “After consulting with an arborist after we spoke he explained that the tree was nearing the end of its life and that any changes to the current habitat of the tree would not be tolerated very well,” Diamond wrote in a text to cleveland.com…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, April 6, 2021: Conservation officials urge Missourians to stop planting Callery, or Bradford, pear trees

The Missouri Department of Conservation is once again asking the public to stop the spread of Callery pear trees and plant alternatives instead. Also known as the Bradford pear, the Callery pear tree is an invasive species known to crowd out Missouri’s native plants. It’s been a popular landscaping tree for decades, and cultivated forms have spread throughout the state. Abundant clusters of five-petaled, white flowers emerge in late March and April before leaf out. Round, small, olive-brown fruits appear from May to July, according to the department. “Callery pears have been a tree many people have enjoyed for years,” said Ann Koenig, a community forester with the department, in a statement. “However, besides the fact that these trees often break apart in storms, and that they have foul-smelling flowers, it turns out these trees are spreading throughout fields and forests, causing problems in our more natural areas. We are excited to work with our partners to provide great, native trees to those who are ready to replace them.” Ozark Nursery of Joplin owner Gayl Navarro said she doesn’t sell Bradford pear trees because they’re invasive and birds tend to spread the seeds everywhere. “They’ve been listed as an invasive species by the MDC, so when you make that hot list, I’m out,” she said…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, April 5, 2021: Taking down the tree

A treasured sugar maple tree that is the largest known of its kind in the country has towered over the front of the Buxton property for nearly 250 years, but now it is dying. On Monday, the decaying tree that has made memories for generations of locals is to be taken down. The tree has withstood beatings from fierce hurricanes and other harsh weather during its long life, but recent winds took a heavy toll and a widening crack has worsened, raising fears that it could break apart and damage the 18th-century farmhouse or hurt someone. “We’ve had many years of pleasure from the tree,” said Janet Buxton, whose family moved to the Drinkwater Road farm property in 1954. The tree is known as a “champion” sugar maple. It has long been considered the largest sugar maple in the state through the New Hampshire Big Tree Program. Last year, the Buxtons’ sugar maple appeared on the National Register of Champion Trees after it was determined to be the largest known tree of its species in the United States based on measurements provided to American Forests, the country’s oldest national nonprofit conservation organization. The tree is believed to have been planted alongside a second sugar maple around 1780…

Allentown, Pennsylvania, Morning Call, April 5, 2021: Apple tree-planting project could help spruce up mostly abandoned Centralia

A new chapter is being written for Centralia, the mostly abandoned Columbia County town with a coal-fueled fire burning beneath it. The Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation is leading an environmental improvement effort in the town to develop wildlife habitat, offset some carbon footprint, reduce illegal dumping and lead to more ecosystem restoration. The next step is a tree-planting project involving volunteers and 250 apple trees April 17 in the deserted areas of Centralia. The project is funded by ISI and Mental Insight Foundation. The coalition has also partnered with Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, which will donate shelters for the trees as well as native trees for a fall planting during the next annual cleanup in October. The organization also hopes the area, which already has several patches of wildflowers and attracts considerable butterfly populations, will become an official Monarch Butterfly Waystation. The coalition plans to grow milkweed and other pollinator plants, and to work with local community programs to raise butterflies, culminating in a fall release of the butterflies at the location…The one-time thriving coal town saw its history and legacy change dramatically in 1962 when a trash fire near an abandoned strip mine ignited what was left of the 25 million-ton coal seam beneath the town. That fire never stopped spreading and, as it did, released noxious gas and opened sinkholes…

Pew Charitable Trust, April 5, 2021: States Are Growing Fewer Trees. Forest Owners Say That’s a Problem

When wildfires ripped through Oregon last Labor Day, they burned huge swaths of forest, including 63,000 acres of smaller, private lands. Oregon state law requires forest owners to replant their land within two years of a wildfire, but many haven’t been able to: They used to rely heavily on state-run tree nurseries, but Oregon closed its nursery more than a decade ago. “We’re scratching our heads over this trying to address the need from the fire,” said Glenn Ahrens, a forester with the Oregon State University extension service. Seedlings are hard to come by. Large, commercial nurseries typically grow large tree orders on contract, supplying industrial timber companies that plan operations years in advance. State-run nurseries provide a more diverse array of species to landowners, allowing smaller orders on short notice. Many of the family foresters hit by the Oregon fires have struggled to obtain seedlings from the private sector. The seedling problem is not unique to Oregon. Eight states have closed their nurseries, most in the past two decades, according to a survey by the National Association of State Foresters. Twenty-nine states still operate nursery programs, though many have closed some of their facilities…

Charleston, West Virginia, Gazette-Mail, April 5, 2021: Thousands of trees planted at former Smithers mine site

Last month at the Mammoth Mine site in Smithers, 36 contractors planted 204,000 trees on 267 acres of legacy minelands, as part of a large-scale restoration project in the Upper Kanawha Valley. The property is owned by the West Virginia Land Trust, which will manage the tract and adjacent, non-mined land. Appalachian Headwaters and Green Forests Work will perform annual restoration work on the 6,000-acre mine. After access and trails are developed, it will be open to the public for outdoor recreation under the name of the Mammoth Preserve. Mountain bike and hiking trails are among the recreational amenities foreseen for the property, according to a September 2020 Charleston Gazette-Mail article. Horseback riding trails and camping sites will also be considered, the article stated. The Mammoth site was covered in autumn olive and other invasive species during last month’s effort. Invasives were cleared, the largest trees were left standing and mined areas were deep ripped. Species such as white oak and black locust were planted by the contractors over a four-day period. Trees were provided to the project by the Arbor Day Foundation. Site preparation began last summer…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2021: The Cycling Fans Who Watch the Trees

When all of Belgium tunes in to watch the Tour of Flanders bicycle race, Pieter De Frenne watches the trees. They’re only on screen for as long as it takes the peloton to whiz by, but it’s enough for De Frenne to recognize them, log them, and gather a tiny insight into how the planet is changing. That’s because De Frenne is a pro cyclist in his dreams and a pro botanist in real life. And along with a team from the University of Ghent, he figured out that somewhere in Belgium’s annual festival of sore legs, cobbled hills and heady beers, there was climate science to be done. It turns out that three decades’ worth of footage from the Tour of Flanders, whose 105th edition is this Sunday, contained a trove of botany data. By identifying specific trees along key points of the race route, De Frenne’s team of researchers was able to log their leaf cover, April after April, and see how dozens of species were reacting to climate change. “There are not many professional sports that are displayed on television annually, on the same routes, in the same places,” De Frenne said. “And it’s also exactly the right time, April, when the trees start to flush their leaves.” If the Tour of Flanders were in June, the bike race might be worthless to botanists. But because it lands at this precise moment of spring, it became clear to his team that plant life was blooming earlier in the year as temperatures crept up. The work was as much about counting leaves as it was about pioneering this innovative approach, which De Frenne and his team laid out in a 2018 paper published in the British Ecological Society’s Methods in Ecology and Evolution…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, April 5, 2021: Diversity is key in any garden or tree planning, encouraging more species to visit and lessening impact of decimating ills

As you research the trees or shrubs you might plant this spring, keep one important idea in mind: diversity. “It’s always better, in the garden and in the neighborhood, to have lots of different kinds of plants than to plant more of the same thing,” said Julie Janoski, Plant Clinic manager at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Too many of any one kind of plant makes them all more vulnerable. The classic example is the stately American elms that once lined many of Chicago’s streets. When the Dutch elm disease arrived in the 1950s, it passed readily from one tree to the next. “Large numbers of trees were infected and killed,” Janoski said. Often, the elms were replaced by ash trees — “Too many ash trees,” Janoski said. Those trees then became easy pickings for the emerald ash borer. “Now we know better than to put all our eggs in one basket,” Janoski said. “We want to mix it up and plant a lot of different species, so no one pest or disease can destroy a whole street of trees.” The need for diversity is not just true of trees. It’s a familiar principle to anyone who plans a vegetable garden. You may love the taste of a particular tomato variety, but if that’s all you plant, you can lose your entire crop to one disease or other problem. Experienced gardeners plant a range of varieties to be sure of having tomatoes in August…

London, UK, Daily Mail, April 5, 2021: Expert calls for BAMBOO to be sold with a warning as the highly-invasive oriental plant can damage houses and break through bricks, mortar and concrete just like Japanese knotweed

Bamboo is a popular choice for people living in cities as it grows quickly, is very hardy and provides natural screening from nosy neighbours. But experts say bamboo is an invasive plant that spreads rapidly and can damage houses, much like the notorious Japanese knotweed. Shoots of the oriental plant have been found in people’s homes after breaking through from their garden and experts are now calling for the plant to be sold with a warning to inform members of the public of the risk it poses. Shoots of the oriental plant have been found in people’s homes after breaking through from their garden and experts are now calling for the plant to be sold with a warning to inform members of the public of the risk it poses. The roots of some varieties of the Asian plant can spread up to 30ft, causing large amounts of damage to nearby homes. Its destructive ability and durability make it a risky choice for a domestic garden and also make it difficult and expensive to remove…

Waco, Texas, Tribune, April 2, 2021: Severe tree topping leads to decay

DEAR NEIL: I have an issue with some type of insect eating my red oak tree. (Please see photos attached.) What type of insecticide would control them?
Dear Reader: This is not about an insect. I don’t know why the tree would have been pruned the way it has been. However, the severe topping of the tree has led to decay through the heartwood of the trunk. Borers have then moved into the trunk over the years and devoured the wood. Feel free to get the second opinion of a certified arborist. I am fearful that this tree could fall once it leafs out. The canopy will catch the prevailing winds, and there may not be enough strength left in the trunk to support it all. I believe it’s time to have it taken down and to find a replacement tree…

Toyko, Japan, Kyodo News, April 2, 2021: Cherry blossoms on Mt. Yoshino reach peak bloom, 30,000 sakura trees

Cherry blossoms covering Mt. Yoshino, renowned for its 30,000 sakura trees of 200 varieties, in the western Japan prefecture of Nara reached their peak blooms Friday, 10 days earlier than usual. This year was also marked by fewer visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic, with disinfection booths set up in nearby train stations and parking areas, as well as bus tours for tourists taking rapid COVID-19 tests before visiting the area. Reservations for about 2,000 buses for tours are made every year but they have plummeted to a tenth this year due to the coronavirus spread, according to the town of Yoshino where the mountain is located. Most of the visitors who saw the pink and white flowers, mostly Cerasus jamasakura, wore masks and took pictures as they walked up the mountain paths…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, April 1, 2021: Family Of Young Graduate Killed By Falling Tree In Burlingame Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of a recent Cal State University East Bay grad who was killed by a fallen tree outside his workplace in Burlingame in late February has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the property owner and landscaping companies. Khalil Gay was walking with a co-worker outside the Color Genomics facility on Mitten Road when a 30-foot-tall Brazilian peppertree fell on him February 26. Despite assistance from coworkers and first responders, Gay was declared dead at the scene. Attorneys representing Gay’s parents filed a lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court on Tuesday seeking general and wrongful death damages. “This brilliant and caring young man’s life was cut short as a result of the defendants’ neglect in caring for and safely maintaining this tree. In fact, the tree should have been removed long before it fell onto Kahlil and killed him,” said attorney Robert Glassman. According to attorneys, the tree was in a dangerous condition due to multiple factors. The lawsuit alleges that the tree was planted on bay fill and too close to a neighboring tree, which hindered its root structure and its growth. Attorneys also claim the tree was in “obvious decline” since at least May of 2019 and its roots were further disturbed last year when a large fire water main was installed nearby. Before the tree fell, the tree’s roots were cut, and most of the other roots were diseased and or decayed…

Counterpunch, April 2, 2021: The 99-Year Old Grandmother Argument and the Bias of Forestry Advocates

This past week I was invited to present my views on forest health and fire ecology to a group of Washington State residents and legislators by Zoom. The other presenter was a forester with the Washington State Natural Resources Department. The forester continuously told our audience that our forests were unhealthy and needed to be “restored,” by “active forest management” so they had “resilience.” As some of you know, “active forest management” is a euphemism for logging and manipulating our forest ecosystems. Of course, the unspoken underlying assumption is that foresters “know” what constitutes a “healthy” forest. Not surprisingly, the timber industry, forestry schools, and foresters tend to define forest health in terms of tree mortality. High tree mortality from any natural agent–whether drought, wildfire, bark beetles, mistletoe, fungi, or other sources– is to many foresters evidence of an “unhealthy” forest. By happy coincidence, the solution to all these health issues is to log the forest. Most foresters share a worldview that managing forests for timber production is the same as maintaining healthy forests. Like many of today’s more enlightened agency people, this forester acknowledged that fire had a place on the landscape. Just not that much of the landscape and not if it killed a lot of trees…

Seattle, Washington, Times, April 1, 2021: ‘Urban heat islands’ like Seattle should plant more trees, says rural lawmaker

Legislation sponsored by a rural Washington lawmaker aims to improve the quality of life in the state’s urban communities by encouraging utilities to engage in tree-planting efforts. House Bill 1114, sponsored by Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, passed the Washington House and Senate unanimously and now awaits the governor’s signature. Besides encouraging electrical utilities to adopt tree-planting programs, the measure authorizes the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to approve financial incentives for investor-owned utilities that offer such programs. The intent, Dye said, is to reduce the negative effects associated with urban heat islands, thereby improving the environment and quality of life for urban residents. The term “urban heat island” refers to the higher temperatures that occur in areas where natural vegetation and soils have been replaced by sidewalks, pavement, buildings and other heat-absorbing materials and structures. This built-up environment essentially creates human-made canyons that absorb heat, release it slowly and raise overall temperatures, Dye said. Downtown Seattle, for example, “can be as much as 17 degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside, and the median difference is 4.1 degrees…”

Logan, Utah, Herald Journal, April 1, 2021: Big Idaho Potato Truck Grows Tree Size Sprouts During Time Off From Tour

The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) revealed today that its famous Big Idaho® Potato Truck has grown sprouts up to 30 feet long while being stored in a cool, dry place (as recommended) since March 2020 when the annual tour was suspended due to COVID-19. But not to worry! It turns out potatoes are still perfectly fine for both eating and touring with all of their heart-healthy nutrients intact, even after sprouting. “When a potato sprouts, it’s just doing what potatoes naturally do – growing and making more potatoes,” says Frank Muir, President & CEO, IPC. “To enjoy them, simply remove the sprouts. In fact, that’s why peelers have a scooped-shaped tip – to help dig out the sprouts.” The IPC is currently working on building a giant potato peeler to rid the 4-ton-tater of its oversized tuberous appendages before it returns to the road, hopefully sometime later in the year…

Denver, Colorado, KMGH-TV, March 31, 2021: ‘It’s very offensive’: Neighbors upset over blow-up dolls being hung on trees

A back-and-forth dispute between next door neighbors is spilling over to the rest of the neighborhood. “It’s offensive to me. It’s offensive to my neighbors. It’s degrading. It’s disgusting and it needs to come down,” said neighbor Rhonda Valdez. Four blow-up dolls and a blow-up llama were hung over the weekend at a home on W. Dartmouth Place in Lakewood. The dolls are intended to be little more than gag gifts. The dolls hang onto the property of the man who owns them. The tree itself is on the property of his neighbor. Both told us off camera they have had disagreements over the years about everything from tree limbs to cars parked in back yards. “I understand there’s a dispute between neighbors, but they made it a neighborhood dispute,” said neighbor Andy Hodler. Neighbors are taking issue with the dolls being hung in plain sight…

Washington, D.C., Post, March 31, 2021: The ‘brown gold’ that falls from pine trees in North Carolina

There is a saying among some farmers in the Carolina Sandhills: “A man would have to be a fool to cut down a longleaf pine.” It’s not because the gangly-limbed tree is particularly beautiful. The pine doesn’t have a magnolia’s flowers or an oak’s shade. And it has nothing to do with the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker that calls the tree home. The longleaf pine’s most obvious attribute is its strong, straight timber — perfect for utility poles. But the reason that longleaf pines are prized around here: their needles. The dropped needles are in such demand that a lucrative business has grown up around raking, baling and selling them to landscapers and homeowners as mulch. Three varieties of pine needles are farmed, but the discarded debris of a longleaf pine is the most sought-after — and fetches the best price — because of its unusual length and high resin content, making it an attractive, water-retaining ground cover for gardens. Some even call it “brown gold.” And like anything valuable left just lying on the ground, theft is a problem. That’s why North Carolina made it a felony to steal pine needles…

Nashville, Tennessee, WTVF, March 31, 2021: New Metro tree ordinance aims to lessen future flash flooding

As the city still recovers from several flash floods and rains over the past week, one community group is looking to the future. Jim Gregory with the Nashville Tree conservation Corps says a new bill signed into law by Mayor John Cooper this week could help prevent some future flooding. The bill would require developers to install new trees to replace ones they remove when building certain developments. Gregory says he’s seen how tree removal has made neighborhood flash flooding issues worse. “When you remove these large trees that are absorbing thousands of gallons of water in our neighborhood, and then expand the building footprint to create more impervious services, we are going to have flooding issues,” Gregory said…

Los Angeles, California, Patch, March 30, 2021: 11K SoCal Palm Trees Deemed Fire Hazards To Be Torn Down

Southern California Edison will remove about 11,000 palm trees over the next two years to mitigate the risk of wildfires. The work will begin next month, according to SCE, and is part of the utility’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan 2021 update. The removals will occur in Los Angeles County communities including Santa Clarita, La Canada Flintridge and Malibu, and also in Santa Ana, Simi Valley, Lake Elsinore and other cities. The targeted trees are too close to power lines, and can cause power outages or fires due to falling palm fronds, according to the utility. The removal will include about 5,000 palms located in non-high fire risk areas if they are not at least 18 inches away from power lines. SCE officials say it’s better to remove the trees than trim them, which only stimulates growth. Officials will notify property owners ahead of time to discuss the risk factors. A door hanger will also be posted 24 to 48 hours prior to any required work, except in cases of an imminent risk to public safety. Home and property owners who plan to do their own tree trimming or removal are encouraged to call SCE before starting any work. “We understand that people living in Southern California love their palms, but since fire season is year-round, they can be a danger to the public. We will inspect vegetation before it’s removed and meet with the property owner in person to discuss the process,” said David Faasua, SCE vegetation management senior specialist…

Corpus Christi, Texas, KRIS-TV, March 30, 2021: Professor’s tree service provides free trimming to those impacted by COVID-19, deep freeze

What does a robotics professor know about trimming trees? If you ask Dugan Um of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, he’ll tell you just enough to make a difference in his community. “I kind of just picked (tree trimming) up in a way,” he said. “So it’s kind of, you know, instinct.” But it’s intellect instead of instinct that Um used to make the landscaping activity safer. Relying on his 20 years of experience studying and making robots, Um and a visiting professor from South Korea designed a contraption that allows them to use an electric saw high in a tree from a safe distance away, allowing them to avoid cut branches falling from the tree. With the right equipment, the professor duo then started a tree trimming service back in December. They have some paying customers, but Um is also offering his services for free to people who’ve been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the deep freeze in February. “There are some people who are broken financially,” Um said. “So we try to help them make this, you know, the society kind of beautiful…”

Albany, New York, Times Union, March 30, 2021: Grondahl: ‘Living laboratory’ of ancient trees thrives just beyond downtown Albany

Dennis O’Leary slowly moved across a thick carpet of oak leaves, pausing to run a bare palm over the bark of a pair of gnarled, intertwined trees that had weathered centuries of the elements together. “Look at how that white oak is embracing that red oak,” he said. “You can see the twists and turns from lightning strikes and freeze-thaw cycles. Our lives are a speck in their timelines.” O’Leary led a tour Friday afternoon through the last old-growth forest within shouting distance of downtown Albany. The 65-acre parcel, never logged or disrupted by human hand, contains dozens of trees on the former Corning family estate that are more than 150 years old, a designation of “old-growth” determined by an international consortium. Specimens of American beech trees here are believed to date to the 17th century, with crowns more than 80 feet high and trunks 4 feet in diameter. “The forest is a living laboratory if you know how to observe and learn from it,” O’Leary said…

UPI, March 29, 2021: Keeping mature trees could mitigate drainage in coastal forests

North Carolina State researchers said Monday that managers should keep older trees when they timber harvests since they drain less water. Researchers tracked how water moves through wetland pine forests near the North Carolina coast, found that younger trees take up and release less water than mature trees — those 10 years or older — according to their new study, published Monday in the journal Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. Clearing the site and replanting could initially increase drainage and flooding, but those impacts would decrease once trees mature, the findings suggest. “The water balance, especially in coastal sites, is very important,” the study’s lead author Maricar Aguilos, a N.C. State postdoctoral research associate in forestry and environmental resources, said in a press release. The findings come from a long-term research project into how wetland forests in eastern North Carolina, including pine forests managed for timber and a natural hardwood forest at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare County, have been responding to climate change…

Yreka, California, Wild Rivers Outpost, March 29, 2021: Yreka Couple Killed By Fallen Tree Near Hiouchi Leaves Behind 5 Children

Friends and family of the couple who died when a redwood tree fell on their car near Hiouchi on Thursday have created a Go Fund Me page for their five children. Jake Woodruff, 35, and his wife, Jessica, 45, who were on their way from Yreka to Oregon to celebrate Jessica Woodruff’s birthday, were killed instantly, according to their cousin, Emma Miravalle Hood, whose family created the Go Fund Me page. The Woodruffs leave behind five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. The children’s names are Megan, Evan, Casey, Allie and Chelsea. “The two adult children are from Jessica’s prior marriage and they have immediately stepped up to take on raising their younger siblings that share Jake and Jessica as parents,” Miravalle said via email Sunday. “This family and these parents were such a humble, fun loving pair that knew they were soulmates at the moment they met.” Jake Woodruff was driving his 2016 Honda Accord southbound on U.S. 199 north of Walker Road at about 11:49 a.m. Thursday when a large redwood tree fell from the east side of the highway, according to a California Highway Patrol news release. The tree fell directly on top of the car, crushing the passenger compartment, according to the CHP. Jessica and Jake Woodruff suffered fatal injuries as a result…

Meriden, Connecticut, Record-Journal, March 29, 2021: Eversource, Southington resident in dispute over tree-cutting damage

Eversource Energy and a Plantsville resident are trying to mediate a dispute arising from the company’s tree removal work on her property. The resident, Simona Raneri, estimates that the crew leveled half- to three-quarters of an acre of her 7-acre property on Lagana Avenue as crew members cleared a right-of-way to a power line corridor. Among the things lost was a 5-7 foot line of shrubs, a half-dozen trees and other plants within an area about 30 feet wide and 100 feet long. That area blocked the view to her back porch and tennis court, she said. “They call it trimming. They didn’t. They bulldozed it,” Raneri said. The company says it was within its rights doing the cutting as part of work vital to delivering electricity to its 1.27 million customers, but has sent an arborist and landscape architect to work with Raneri to develop a remediation planting plan, said Eversource spokesman Frank Poirot. “It was in the scope of work that we originally talked to the property owners about. We have to reach our right of way and to get to it, we went outside the right of way,” Poirot said…

London, UK, The Guardian, March 29, 2021: Average westerner’s eating habits lead to loss of four trees every year

The average western consumer of coffee, chocolate, beef, palm oil and other commodities is responsible for the felling of four trees every year, many in wildlife-rich tropical forests, research has calculated. Destruction of forests is a major cause of both the climate crisis and plunging wildlife populations, as natural ecosystems are razed for farming. The study is the first to fully link high-resolution maps of global deforestation to the wide range of commodities imported by each country across the world. The research lays bare the direct links between consumers and the loss of forests across the planet. Chocolate consumption in the UK and Germany is an important driver of deforestation in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the scientists found, while beef and soy demand in the US, European Union and China results in forest destruction in Brazil. As a wealthy, populous country, the US has a particularly large deforestation footprint, being the main importer of a wide variety of commodities from tropical countries, including fruits and nuts from Guatemala, rubber from Liberia and timber from Cambodia. China bears the biggest responsibility for deforestation in Malaysia, resulting from imports of palm oil and other farm produce…

Auburn, Indiana, The Garrett Clipper, March 29, 2021: Tree trimming can present special hazards

Trees add immeasurable value to your property but maintaining them comes with a cost. They need pruning, sometimes heavy trimming, or removal. Maintaining trees can come with special hazards, however, according to Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “We know hiring professionals to do some of these tasks goes against that independent streak some of our consumers have,” said John Gasstrom, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “Trimming and removing trees can be dangerous and even deadly. Before attempting any work yourself, please understand the dangers.” The most common types of serious tree trimming accidents are electrocution, falling, being struck or overestimating abilities. Gasstrom warns people can be seriously injured or killed by coming into contact with an electric line. It’s easy to misjudge the height of a tree or length of a branch, he said. If there’s a chance power lines might be involved at all, always call your electric utility first and its experts will come out and advise you. Even when you think there’s room, if the wind blows a limb into a power line as you’re trimming it, you can be electrocuted. People can be seriously injured or killed falling from a tree. Pruning branches or trimming out dead or overgrown limbs sometimes requires getting into the tree…

Washington, D.C., Post, March 28, 2021: Warm weather propels cherry blossoms to peak bloom days ahead of schedule

Echoing the sentiments of many Americans itching to get out after a year of hibernation, Washington’s cherry blossoms burst Sunday into full-on cotton-candy splendor, several days earlier than predicted. The National Park Service said above-average temperatures in recent days brought the blossoms to peak bloom ahead of schedule. The Trust for the National Mall’s BloomCam broadcast live footage of the display around the Tidal Basin as a smattering of pedestrians strolled under a cloudy sky, nowhere near the teeming crowds of a typical peak bloom. To the Park Service, thin crowds this year are a good thing. The agency announced Tuesday it would limit vehicular and pedestrian access and shut down parking lots around the Tidal Basin during peak bloom to avoid crowds gathering during the coronavirus pandemic. Park Service officials did not respond to calls Sunday about any changes in access coinciding with the early peak bloom or how many people have visited. The agency said last week that blossom admirers would have access to the Tidal Basin until crowds swelled past an acceptable limit. After that, it would be prepared to close off the area until after most trees have lost their blooms…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star-Tribune, March 28, 2021: Lileks: Time for the tree-reapers again

You hate to see it: The green band of paint around a tree trunk. You cycle quickly through the stages of grief: No! Looks fine to me. Give it a chance. Can’t you use some new experimental treatment? Must it go now? Then the men come, the saws sing and that’s the end. You wonder if it ever gets to them, or whether they think they’re doing the necessary work of arboreal management. There’s probably one guy who takes unnecessary pleasure in his work, though. “I hate trees. A tree killed my brother.” That’s awful! How did it happen? “He entered a logrolling competition.” Oh, no! Was he crushed? “No, he got a paper cut on his lip when he licked the envelope to mail in his entry. Got infected. Carried him off a month later.” That’s … horrible, but I don’t see how a tree is to blame. “Envelopes are made of paper. Paper’s made of trees.” I understand, but this boulevard oak isn’t going to be made into paper. “You never know. They’re shifty like that. One day they’re standing there; the next, they’re figuring out a way to get pulped.” It’s interesting to consider the overlapping jurisdictions: The boulevard is the city’s responsibility, except when it comes to mowing or watering. The sidewalk is public terrain when it comes to shoveling, and private when it comes to paying for its repair…

Madison, Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Journal, March 27, 2021: ‘Pine crime’ solved: 3 students cited for theft of rare, 25-foot tree from UW Arboretum, police say

One of the more bizarre crimes in Madison history has been solved, with citations being issued to three 19-year-old UW-Madison students in the theft of a 25-foot pine tree from the UW Arboretum in November. UW-Madison officials asked for the public to help in finding whoever went into the Arboretum between Nov. 5 and Nov. 9, cut down and carted away the rare Algonquin Pillar Swiss Mountain pine tree, and cut off a 12-foot section of a Compact White Fir tree, but left it on the ground. The trees were worth at least $13,000 combined. On Friday, UW-Madison police spokesperson Marc Lovicott announced that the case had been solved “thanks to a tip from the community” to the department on Monday. Lovicott said the information led officers to an unrecognized student organization formerly known as Chi Phi, which was terminated as an official student organization in 2015 because of hazing. In various interviews, three members of the former Chi Phi admitted to purchasing a chainsaw, renting a U-Haul, and stealing the tree as part of the organization’s “pledge.” They said when they learned how rare the tree was, and that police were investigating, they destroyed the tree and disposed of it outside of Madison, Lovicott said….

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, March 26, 2021: Good news, Portland: the cherry trees are in bloom

As if sensing a collective need, Portland’s much beloved cherry trees are now in bloom. The trees line the Japanese American Historical Plaza along the north section of Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. By this weekend, their blossoms should be peak. The Japanese American Historical Plaza highlights the story of Japanese Americans in Portland and Oregon. Among the many cherry trees, the park features stones carved with poetry written about the experience of immigration and later, incarceration during World War II. This Sunday, March 28, is Minoru Yasui Day in Oregon. in 2015, Yasui was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for challenging the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans, about two-thirds of them American citizens, during World War II. Yasui is the only Oregonian to have a day named in his honor…

Chico, California, KHSL-TV, March 25, 2021: More than 50,000 Hazardous or Dead Trees Remain in the Camp Fire Burn Scar

The Town of Paradise and Cal OES held a press conference to update the Ridge Communities on hazardous tree removal progress. Officials say there are a total of 90,000 hazardous trees that need to be removed from the Camp Fire burn scar, and even though crews have spent almost five months getting rid of dead trees, there is still a ways to go. “This tree removal program is an intrical part of our recovery and is well on it’s way to wind down,” said Paradise Mayor Steve Crowder.Cal OES and the Town of Paradise say they’re nearing the halfway point of removing all dead or hazardous trees within the burn scar like the trees with blue dots on it, but statistics show that they’re still a ways out, and some homeowners decided to take their own measures to get rid of their own trees. “We would have too many sleepless nights when the wind blew, so we would have to sleep towards the front of the house instead of the back of the house,” said Jamie Johnston. For Johnston and her husband, the tree removal program didn’t come fast enough. “We were waiting for Cal OES to come and take down the trees that were already marked and it kept taking too long,” she said. “This I believe is the tree that I had to pay to take down with my own money…”

Nature – Urban Sustainability, March 25, 2021: Residential housing segregation and urban tree canopy in 37 US Cities

Redlining was a racially discriminatory housing policy established by the federal government’s Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) during the 1930s. For decades, redlining limited access to homeownership and wealth creation among racial minorities, contributing to a host of adverse social outcomes, including high unemployment, poverty, and residential vacancy, that persist today. While the multigenerational socioeconomic impacts of redlining are increasingly understood, the impacts on urban environments and ecosystems remain unclear. To begin to address this gap, we investigated how the HOLC policy administered 80 years ago may relate to present-day tree canopy at the neighborhood level. Urban trees provide many ecosystem services, mitigate the urban heat island effect, and may improve quality of life in cities. In our prior research in Baltimore, MD, we discovered that redlining policy influenced the location and allocation of trees and parks. Our analysis of 37 metropolitan areas here shows that areas formerly graded D, which were mostly inhabited by racial and ethnic minorities, have on average ~23% tree canopy cover today. Areas formerly graded A, characterized by U.S.-born white populations living in newer housing stock, had nearly twice as much tree canopy (~43%). Results are consistent across small and large metropolitan regions. The ranking system used by Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to assess loan risk in the 1930s parallels the rank order of average percent tree canopy cover today…

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, March 25, 2021: Dogwood days: Recent rain has been kind to flowering trees

The ample rainfall recently has accelerated the return of greenery to Leon County. The slow, steady drizzle was punctuated by the occasional downpour. The many native plants have, in turn, responded to the liquid encouragement. Flowers of almost every hue and tone are exhibiting this season’s finest display of colors and texture. Rain lilies are making their brief appearance in roadside ditches and in damp, isolated sites around the region. Sparkleberries are rendering hundreds of tiny bell-shaped blooms which give the plant the appearance of a frosty wrap. While usually not as obvious, many of the trees are blooming too. Pine tree blooms are almost never admired for their beauty or color, though no one can miss their ever-present pollen…

Eurekalert, March 25, 2021: MIT engineers make filters from tree branches to purify drinking water

The interiors of nonflowering trees such as pine and ginkgo contain sapwood lined with straw-like conduits known as xylem, which draw water up through a tree’s trunk and branches. Xylem conduits are interconnected via thin membranes that act as natural sieves, filtering out bubbles from water and sap. MIT engineers have been investigating sapwood’s natural filtering ability, and have previously fabricated simple filters from peeled cross-sections of sapwood branches, demonstrating that the low-tech design effectively filters bacteria. Now, the same team has advanced the technology and shown that it works in real-world situations. They have fabricated new xylem filters that can filter out pathogens such as E. coli and rotavirus in lab tests, and have shown that the filter can remove bacteria from contaminated spring, tap, and groundwater. They also developed simple techniques to extend the filters’ shelf-life, enabling the woody disks to purify water after being stored in a dry form for at least two years…

Albany, New York, Times-Union, March 24, 2021: State’s highest court hears forest preserve tree-cutting case

An hour of oral arguments summed up nearly eight years of litigation on Tuesday in the state’s highest court, which will soon decide what qualifies as a constitutionally protected tree in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Protect the Adirondacks, a nonprofit advocacy group, sued the state Department of Environmental Conservation in 2013 over the construction of what are categorized as Class 2 community connector trails on the forest preserve — snowmobile trails between 9 and 12 feet wide. The plaintiffs argued that the number of trees to be cut in the first 25 miles of those planned trails, along with how the network would be built, violated the state constitution’s “forever wild” clause, which states that the forest preserve “shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.” It also commands that timber on the preserve shall not be “sold, removed or destroyed.” The DEC has argued its longstanding guidance on tree-cutting, including what is proposed to make these connector trails, does not violate the constitution. An appellate court decision said the trails were allowed under “forever wild,” though the amount of tree-cutting involved was excessive. As the lawsuit has made its way to the state Court of Appeals, it has divided typically aligned advocacy groups. Some fear the decision, if made in Protect’s favor, could impact all trail maintenance, rerouting and other projects in the forest preserve. Other groups, including Protect, believe the outcome would only affect community connector trails…

Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT-TV, March 24, 2021: Dead man’s tree menacing neighbors’ backyard in Omaha

A dangerous tree hangs over an Omaha neighborhood, and there’s already been a close call. A huge branch crashed down from the tree onto the Pautlers’ fence — in two places — and they worry there’s more to come. A violation notice has been sent to the homeowner near 70th and Burt streets, but there was no response. “Not a safe place to stand, get that danger taken off from looming over our property,” Jenny Pautler said. That’s why Jenny and Nate Pautler don’t let their kids play in the backyard while they find who is responsible for removing the dangerous tree next door. “It’s been very frustrating. It’s been a lot of phone calls, waiting on hold and getting passed around from person to person and eventually coming back to the same dead end,” Nate Pautler said. That’s because the homeowner responsible for the tree is dead, and he lived in the house alone. Since he died 18 months ago, next-door neighbor Mary Anna Anderson said she and others have been picking up the yard. “The family said, ‘don’t contact us; contact the bank. We want nothing to do with it,’ ”Anderson said…

Deutsche Welle, March 24, 2021: When planting trees does more harm than good

When Prosopis juliflora was introduced to Kenya’s Baringo County in the 1980s it was heralded for the benefits it would bring to the area’s pastoral communities. A native of arid lands in Central and South America, the woody shrub, known locally as mathenge, was promoted by the Kenyan government and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to help restore degraded drylands. At first, mathenge helped prevent dust storms, supplied ample wood for cooking and construction and provided fodder for animals, said Simon Choge, a researcher with the Kenya Forestry Research Institute in Baringo County. But after the El Niño rains of 1997, things changed. Mathenge seeds dispersed widely, and without any local fauna adapted to eat the foreign tree, it spread aggressively. Impenetrable thickets overran grazing pastures, displaced indigenous biodiversity and depleted water sources. The trees’ thorns pierced the hooves of livestock, while its sugary pods caused tooth decay and loss, sometimes leading to starvation among the animals it was meant to nourish. “Now, people have no livelihoods,” Choge said…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, March 24, 2021: Charleston wise to ensure it never again has to replace healthy trees

For the past several months, the city of Charleston and Dominion Energy have been grappling with an unfortunate problem: What to do about more than 170 palmetto trees that have matured to the point where their fronds interfere with overhead power lines, even sparking fires in some cases. It’s related to but different from the much more familiar challenge of regularly pruning street trees — i.e., trees planted in the public right of way, most often between the sidewalk and the road — to reduce the risk of their branches breaking during a storm and snapping an electrical line on the way down. The bad news is that the city and Dominion began work Wednesday to remove about 130 of these problematic palmettos from St. Philip and other downtown streets. The good news is that this unexpected problem has prompted the city to plant new trees in their place and to review and update its policies about which trees should be planted along certain types of streets. The city’s urban forester David Grant realizes removing the trees will be unpopular — partly because most won’t be replaced right at once. But he strikes an encouraging note: “This is the last time we’ll have to deal with this pain. We’re going to do it differently…”

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, The Gazette, March 23, 2021: Arborist appreciates how much trees bring to our lives – and what we lose when they’re gone

“Heartbreaking” is the word arborist Virginia Hayes-Miller uses to describe the tree damage the Aug. 10 derecho left behind in Cedar Rapids and much of Iowa. “It will take 30 years or more of consistent work to rebuild the tree cover that was lost in one storm,” she said. Miller, a certified arborist at Acorn ArborCare in Iowa City, and her co-workers have been cleaning up storm damage for the past eight months, and they’re still getting calls. “A lot of people are scared of the trees that are still standing in their yard, scared that their remaining trees will come down in the next storm,” she said. “This fear is understandable, but it is not always warranted.” That’s where the professionals come in to help. Saving trees is Miller’s passion. “I have always loved trees, but it took me a long time to imagine a place for myself within the tree care industry,” she said. “I spent a good portion of my childhood climbing my next-door neighbor’s crabapple in a neighborhood lined with mature ash trees that had been planted in the ’50s.” Growing up, Miller’s father worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a forest health pathologist. The family spent a lot of time in state parks. When it was time for college, Miller majored in marketing and management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I became more acutely interested in the field of urban forestry in the early 2010s, when I heard about the emerald ash borer,” she said. “I immediately thought about the idyllic canopy that framed my childhood, and saving ash trees from EAB sounded really interesting to me…”

The Conversation, March 23, 2021: Regrowing a tropical forest – is it better to plant trees or leave it to nature?

The destruction of tropical forest is a major contributor to biodiversity loss and the climate crisis. In response, conservationists and scientists like us are debating how to best catalyse recovery of these forests. How do you take a patch of earth littered with tree stumps, or even a grassy pasture or palm oil plantation, and turn it back into a thriving forest filled with its original species? Foresters have traditionally relied on planting trees, which seems obvious enough. Yet this approach has attracted criticism from some restoration ecologists, who argue that planting and caring for young trees is expensive and an inefficient use of scarce resources. They also point out that the carbon locked up in growing trees is quickly released into the atmosphere if plantations are harvested and used for short-lived wood products such as paper or cardboard. There are even some well-documented case studies where tree planting has had negative outcomes. For instance, when forest cover was expanded on the Loess Plateau in China, soil erosion increased and there was less water available for people and agriculture. In Chile, subsidies for tree planting created a perverse incentive to plant trees instead of conserving natural forests. In the period between 2006 and 2011, the policy triggered a loss of natural forest cover and no net change in the amount of carbon stored in trees across the country…

Barron’s, March 23, 2021: Russia, An Oil Giant, Goes Big On Timber

In a dense forest northeast of Moscow, logging machines cut down rows of trees as Russia taps foreign demand for its wood as part of efforts to reduce its dependence on oil exports. Nowhere is this more evident than in Vologda, a region 500 kilometres (310 miles) northeast of the Russian capital, where forests of birch and pine stretch as far as the eye can see. Tracked vehicles equipped with booms that can grab and cut trees are used by the Segezha group, which turns the wood into planks at a nearby factory. For Segezha vice president Dmitry Rudenko, the scene illustrates a turning point for Russia’s timber sector. “What we’re seeing today is the rise of the timber construction industry. It is Russia’s future without a doubt,” he told AFP at the Moscow offices of the Sistema holding firm, of which Segezha is a subsidiary. Russia is home to one-fifth of the world’s forest and further exploiting this resource could help the country cut down its economic reliance on oil and gas. Hydrocarbons account for half of Russian exports by volume while wood and its derived materials represent about three percent…

Charleston, South Carolina, WCBD-TV, March 23, 2021: ‘This is to prevent the hacking of our trees’: City of Charleston approves plan with Dominion Energy to bury power lines

A unanimous decision from Charleston City Council means you may be seeing less power lines hanging above the Holy City. This plan comes after many years of neighborhood leaders pushing for something to be done about their power lines. However, some have been waiting 20 years with nothing coming to fruition. Tracy McKee, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Charleston, says the biggest issue has been the limitations for the funding set aside for projects like burying power lines. “The way it was set up was basically by neighborhood…and it was really challenging to get these projects to the finish line,” says McKee. According to McKee, the funding was part of the city’s deal with Dominion Energy made in the late 1990s. The idea behind this new plan was to allow the City of Charleston to take the reigns on this project and change the ordinance that limited how the funding can be used. This new proposal passed unanimously before council. “These improvements that we’re putting into place will allow more projects to get into the ground all over the city. It’s really exciting to think about,” says Councilmember Ross Appell. The 2 main reasons why city leaders and community members are going to begin burying power lines are 1.) Protecting power lines when severe weather hits and 2.) Protecting Lowcountry trees from being chopped down…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, March 22, 2021: Report: California wildfire sparked when tree hit power line

A Northern California wildfire that killed four people and destroyed more than 200 buildings last year was sparked when tree branches came into contact with Pacific Gas & Electric power lines, officials said Monday. Investigators with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection seized equipment belonging to PG&E in the weeks after the Zogg Fire tore through rural communities in Shasta and Tehama counties last September and October. “After a meticulous and thorough investigation, Cal Fire has determined that the Zogg Fire was caused by a pine tree contacting electrical distribution lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric located north of the community of Igo,” the agency said in a short news release. PG&E officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late Monday…

Tulsa, Oklahoma, World, March 22, 2021: Master Gardener: Tips to prevent rust disease in trees; why you should steer clear of Bradford pears

Q: Last year my Bradford pear’s leaves were covered with rust fungus. What can I do this year to prevent that from happening again?
A: You are correct. It seems like rust disease was everywhere last spring. There are a variety of rust diseases such as cedar-apple rust, Asian pear rust, cedar-hawthorn rust, and cedar-quince rust to name a few. While these diseases are not terribly harmful to their host, they can diminish the vitality of the host plant and reduce production on fruit trees. You mentioned Bradford pear, which is an invasive species, but first let’s talk about rust disease prevention. The funny thing about these rust diseases is that they require two different host plants to prosper. Cedars or junipers are the host during one portion of the life cycle and other plants like Bradford Pears are the host during the other portion of the life cycle. Asian pear rust is the culprit when it comes to Bradford pears. The fungal spots we see in the spring on Bradford pear leaves were blown there by the wind from a nearby cedar. Nearby is kind of an oxymoron since nearby could be within a mile or so. The fungal spores continue to grow on the leaves of the Bradford until June or July when they release spores of their own that are blown by the wind to a nearby cedar…

Phys.org, March 22, 2021: Multitalented mangroves: Spotlight on the trees that could save the planet

Picture the perfect tree. In your mind’s eye it is probably as majestic as a mighty oak, as tall as a towering redwood, bursting with fragrant, brightly coloured blossom and weighed down with succulent fruit. Mangroves are none of these things, but in their own inimitable way they are so much more. Their party piece is turning salt water into fresh water, a natural talent that enables them to thrive in the hostile hinterland between land and sea – an intertidal environment that most trees find too inhospitable. Many mangrove species are able to filter out as much as 90% of the salt found in seawater as it enters their roots. Some are able to excrete salt through glands in their leaves. And that is just one of the numerous attributes that make mangroves so valuable – indispensable, in fact. Their branches support myriad creatures, from praying mantids to primates. Their leaves are food for swamp specialists such as the proboscis monkey. And their elaborate root structures provide vital shelter for marine life, creating natural harbors for aquatic mammals such as manatees and dolphins, and nurseries for countless reef fish and crustaceans in their early stages of development when they are most vulnerable to predation…

New York City, The New York Times, March 22, 2021: How to Collect Firewood

“Worst-case scenario, the tree ends up falling on you, and you end up dying,” says Trennie Collins, 36, a member of the Southern Ute tribe who lives in Durango, Colo. Picking up sticks with your hands is for amateurs. To cut enough firewood to keep a house warm in winter, you need to know your way around a chain saw as Collins does; in her early 20s, she became one of the first women on her reservation certified to take trees down as a faller. When the pandemic started last spring, Collins saw how many people were struggling for basic needs like food and heat. She helped start the Four Corners Mutual Aid Network, a volunteer organization that provides all kinds of assistance, including firewood, to several southwestern Colorado counties and to the Ute Mountain Ute, Southern Ute and Navajo reservations. “Don’t go out alone,” says Collins, who recommends collecting wood in teams of two or three. Always wear long pants and shirts, boots, ear protection and helmets. The United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management allow firewood collection on many public lands with a permit for a small fee. Follow their rules on what, how and when to cut. Mostly you’ll want to take trees that are already dead. Hardwoods like oaks tend to burn hotter and longer than coniferous softwoods like pines. Don’t enter a forest willy-nilly as if you own the place. “Go with respect for the land,” Collins says…

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times, March 22, 2021: Answer Man: Duke Energy tree trimming issues? Cut trees left behind?

Question: We’re having some issues with Duke Energy over tree cutting on our property, or on the easement, under the power lines. A person from Duke came out here – we live in Lytle Cove off of 70 in the Swannanoa area – and they said they need to cut the trees, which are on our property. Our paperwork shows we have a 30-foot right of way, but Duke says they have a 35-foot easement, which includes the area where our trees are. Is there any way to appeal this before Duke cuts the trees down? Also, the lot is pretty hard to access, and when we asked Duke how they would get the cut trees out of there, they said they would just leave them in the easement. Can Duke do this? Doesn’t that seem like it would pose a fire hazard? It’s also not very nice to have to look at…
My answer: Generally speaking, it’s hard to stop a man with a chain saw from doing what he wants to do. It’s a rule I live by. Real answer: Duke Energy spokeswoman Meghan Musgrave Miles answered this one, albeit in mostly general terms. She did ask for the customer’s information so Duke and the customer can talk more about the details or any possible appeal. Regarding leaving some of the cut trees or limbs behind, Miles said Duke usually removes smaller materials. “After scheduled maintenance for improved reliability, small limbs and branches — 6 inches or less in diameter — are taken away after a tree is pruned in landscaped areas such as yards, turf and paved areas,” Miles said via email. “If debris must be left overnight for some unforeseen reason, affected customers and residents are notified…”

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, March 21, 2021: Ask Maine Audubon: Are woodpeckers doing damage, or helping that old tree?

Q: We have a place in South Windham where we have yearly visits from a pair of woodpeckers. The birds arrive, feast for 30 minutes or so, and then they are off until we see them the next year. They return only to this one tree we have at the property. A friend of ours who is an arborist by trade has been trying to convince us that this tree is old, rotted, full of ants and bugs, and needs to come down before it hits one of our cars or us on the head. We counter that the woodpeckers are helping the tree stay alive by removing the harmful insects that have been eating away at the tree. Despite signs of aging, the tree is still beautiful and should be preserved as long as possible. The question we have is: Are the woodpeckers helping save the tree or contributing to its demise?
A: From Paul’s photo, we can see that these are a pair of pileated woodpeckers. What a treat to have a pair of pileated woodpeckers around, if even for just a short visit. These are the largest woodpeckers in North America and can easily remind you of their dinosaur ancestors when you see them swoop onto a dead tree. And, it is a really fun question to ponder if any of the actions from one of these woodpeckers could help save the tree that they are feeding on. The answer probably depends on the timing. To start, it is worth noting that the diet of pileated woodpeckers shifts throughout the year, based on what they’re doing and what food is abundant. Thanks to research done as far back as 1948, we know that in the summers, especially when raising young, these woodpeckers are eating (and feeding to those young) a large variety of insects. Come fall, they’ll feed on abundant fruits. Then as winter sets in, their primary food source is carpenter ants, which are often found in the tunnels the ants have formed in rotting wood. By early spring, the larvae of various wood-boring beetle species, also found in dead or dying trees, becomes the most sought-after food target…

House Beautiful, March 22, 2021: Choosing a magnolia tree for your garden

A magnolia tree in full bloom is one of the glories of spring, whether it’s a mature tree festooned with large cup-shaped flowers or a compact shrub smothered in starry blossom. At a time when the rest of the garden is stirring into life with emerging spring flowers, bulbs and perennials, the magnolia is putting on a stunning display in colours that range from purest white through to creams and yellows, and to every shade of pink, rich reds and purples. Magnolias are among our most ancient plants, with fossil records dating back a hundred million years. Because they predate the arrival of bees and other flying insects, they’re pollinated by beetles and are generally untroubled by pests – although it’s said they were once grazed by dinosaurs! The majority of spring-flowering magnolias are deciduous. Most frequently planted are the spreading soulangeanas and the bushy stellata varieties. Soulangeana comes in many different flower colours and grows well in most urban environments and soil types, but it can outgrow smaller spaces. For small gardens, the more petite and delicate Japanese Magnolia stellata is perfect, and can also be grown in containers. It produces showy white flowers in spring that resemble a star and it’s also slightly fragrant…

Portland, Oregon, KGW-TV, March 20, 2021: 100-year-old giant sequoia tree poisoned in NE Portland, police say

A giant sequoia tree that’s been a subject of controversy in Northeast Portland’s Sabin neighborhood was poisoned, according to police, and an environmental nonprofit is offering a $1,000 reward for information about this case. The city of Portland had been planning last year to have the tree removed from the 4000 block of Northeast 12th Avenue after its root system damaged the foundation of a home on a neighboring property. Neighbors whose property wasn’t damaged have been working for months to buy the property of the damaged home, said Bob Sallinger with the Audubon Society of Portland. He said the purchase was just about to be completed. On Saturday, Portland police said the tree was poisoned in February 2021 after holes were drilled into the base. “The tree is showing signs of significant decline, you can really see the impacts. The canopy is turning brown. It’s not clear whether the tree will survive or not,” Sallinger told KGW. Sallinger said the tree is about 100 years old, but they normally live for “hundreds and hundreds of years.” He said it could take months to know if the tree will live or not…

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, March 18, 2021: Seeing the forest and the trees: Data provide picture of Earth’s plants and their carbon storage potential

New data distributed through NASA’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, or ORNL DAAC, provide an unprecedented picture of plants’ carbon storage capacity around the globe. Generated by the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation, or GEDI, instrument installed on the International Space Station, these data can help answer questions about Earth’s biomes and ecosystem impacts on the carbon cycle and climate. From towering sequoia trees to the grasslands of the African savannah, plants pull carbon dioxide from the air and store that carbon in their tissues. Predicting how much carbon plants might store in the future starts with a better understanding of current environments. “This is the first chance of getting a reasonably global view of biomass made by a consistent measurement technique,” said Bruce Wilson, head of the Remote Sensing and Environmental Informatics Group and lead for the ORNL DAAC. “These data provide a vertical profile of all vegetation above ground, including an exceptional amount of information about forest structure.” GEDI data are filling a gap in that knowledge by supplying not only information about the location and spread of vegetation, but also details about the height of trees and the density of their canopies — creating a detailed record of three-dimensional forest structure and above-ground biomass…

Toronto, Ontario, The Canadian Press, March 18, 2021: Trees removed at intersection of Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Saskatchewan government has removed a stand of trees that was near the site of the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash three years ago. Sixteen people were killed and thirteen others injured when a semi-truck driver missed a stop sign at a rural intersection and drove into the path of the junior hockey team’s bus on April 6, 2018. A safety review after the crash found that trees mostly on private property could obstruct the sightline of drivers coming from the same directions as the semi-truck and bus had been that day. The review recommended the trees be removed. The Ministry of Highways says the landowner rejected a government offer of compensation, so the province expropriated the land and removed the trees in late February…

Anaheim, California, Orange County Review, March 18, 2021: How to protect your trees from strong winds

No matter where you are in Southern California, strong winds can become a problem for your trees. In some cases, wind can cause plants to dry up, bend, break, or fall down. This week, I will share some tips on how to protect your trees from these misfortunes. When planting a young tree, choose a site that is protected from strong winds. If the prevailing wind is coming from the west, you may want to plant on the east side of your house. Usually, young trees have too much top growth for the size of their root systems. Prune about a third of the top growth so that the root system will have a chance to catch up. Your tree may look kind of sad at first, but it will be healthier and happier later in the season. When pruning, keep in mind that you’ll want an open canopy structure that will allow wind to pass through. Never “top” a tree! Topping will force the growth of many smaller, weaker branches, giving the tree a “lollipop” shape. This makes the tree very top heavy and prone to breakage. It is especially dangerous in windy areas since the dense canopy will catch the wind and can tear the tree out of the ground and onto your neighbor’s car…

Savannah, Georgia, Morning News, March 18, 2021: Savannah Tree Foundation works to fix tragedy on I-16

It’s clear no one at the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has read Richard Powers’ “The Overstory,” a popular and heart-wrenching book about the inner lives of trees and all they do to enhance our world. But who would know? The GDOT may be good at assembling crews, setting up their orange cones, closing off lanes and clearing trees, but they stink at talking to us, we the people. They fail in the business of communicating to the public. Or maybe they prefer the obfuscation because that’s what they put out. Driven on Interstate 16 lately? Brace yourself. You’ll think you made a wrong turn. You’ll think you’re driving outside Atlanta or Washington D.C. Yes, the drive between Savannah and Macon can be boring and monotonous, the view tedious, repetitive. But wait until you see the alternative. Take a hanky. It’ll make you weep. Giant stacks of tree trunks all packed together on the side of the road. Colossal heaps of timber that used to absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen now lying there, doing nothing, waiting to be picked up, waiting, perhaps, to be sold. Whole swathes of empty, muddy land where trees used to stand upright housing birds, blowing in the wind, offering seasonal color (minimal as it is), giving some kind of distraction to the driver, soaking up water from heavy rains.And why? Why this seemingly wholesale demolition, this willy-nilly leveling? Heck if I know.“They say it’s a safety issue,” says Zoe Rinker, executive director of the Savannah Tree Foundation…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, March 17, 2021: Sullivan’s Island adjusts forest cutting plan to account for wetlands

This barrier island community is adjusting a plan to cut trees and shrubs in its maritime forest after a survey found extensive wetlands on the accreted land. The forest was at the center of a decade-long lawsuit brought by some homeowners on the edge of it who wanted to thin the thicket. They complained of vermin and wildfire risk, among other factors. The suit was settled by the town in October with a plan to cut many smaller trees, over the objections of other islanders who wanted the forest to stay largely wild instead. That settlement, it turns out, is mostly unworkable because so much of the area slated for cutting is protected or contains wetlands. The exact boundaries of wetlands can only be determined in a survey, and the town conducted one in January and found 65 acres. Other parts of the land are “critical area,” or special coastal zones that the state of South Carolina protects. Town Council voted 4-2 at its March 16 meeting for a new work plan and a court filing indicating the settlement was being adjusted. The same four council members who voted to settle the case last year approved the changes: Tim Reese, Chauncey Clark, Greg Hammond and Kaye Smith. Councilwoman Sarah Church was not present…

Atlanta, Georgia, WSB-TV, March 17, 2021: If your neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

If a tree falls in your yard, what you do next could save you money, a limb and maybe even your life. According to Trees Atlanta, the metro area has the nation’s highest “urban tree canopy,” defined as the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. During storms, fallen trees are fixtures in metro Atlanta’s landscape. The steps you take after a tree falls can mean the difference between headache and heartache. The first thing to do is call your homeowners insurance agent, said Bob Delbridge, owner of 404-Cut-Tree, one of the largest tree service companies in the Atlanta area. “Occasionally we will deal directly with the insurance company. But that’s more likely if there is a storm that covers a large area, like a whole neighborhood.” Delbridge said. “Typically, the homeowner deals with their own insurance company.” Where the tree falls determines who pays for what. “Almost everyone is surprised when we tell them, the way the law works is, wherever the tree landed, that person is responsible for dealing with it regardless of where the tree came from.” That’s right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor’s yard, if it crashes onto your property, it’s your problem. An exception to this, attorney Steve Goldman with The Goldman Firm said, is if the tree is visibly diseased or damaged. In that case, the owner of the tree might be held liable…

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, StarPhoenix, March 17, 2021: Tree removal begins around Nutrien Wonderhub

The parking lot behind the former Mendel Art Gallery building looks a little different these days. Earlier this month, work crews began removing dozens of trees to make way for an expanded parking lot, part of the Meewasin Valley Authority’s broader year-long, $644,000 plan to improve the riverbank trails along Spadina Crescent. Meewasin CEO Andrea Lafond said the decision to remove the trees was part of finding the “tough balance” between the organization’s mandates, which include conservation, development and education. While some people might find the tree removals “alarming,” Lafond said the finished project will include more vegetation than was at the site previously, and the clearing was necessary to start work. “It can be tough to see at the very start of the project because, typically, a lot of dismantling does occur,” Lafond said, adding that the “revegetation” of the area is the final phase of work. Meewasin design and development manager Alan Otterbein said a 2019 survey of the parking lot area identified around 80 trees, mostly poplars along with some pines and maples. Eight of those trees were dead at the time of the study, Otterbein said, but that rose to around 30 per cent over the subsequent two years, likely due to poplars’ short lifespan, dry conditions and crowding…

Wichita, Kansas, Eagle, March 17, 2021: Does Wichita need a leash law for cats? A city board is considering it

A city board is considering a leash law for Wichita cats to reduce the number of felines running wild. Wichita Animal Control Advisory Board member Richard Ruth has proposed a city ordinance change that would make it illegal to let a cat roam the neighborhood, with penalties including a fine and sterilizing and microchipping the cat. The proposal would also limit the number of cats a person can own at four and require owners to annually license their cats and vaccinate against rabies. Ruth’s proposal would put the same restrictions on cats that currently exist for dogs. That would mean having to be kept indoors, on a leash or tether, or otherwise restricted to the owner’s property or other designated pet areas. While dogs can simply be fenced in, confining a cat to property lines is more challenging because they are prodigious fence-climbers. Under Ruth’s proposal, letting the cat out would probably mean putting it in a “catio,” a kind of mesh tent or cage specifically designed for cat confinement, he said…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, March 15, 2021: After hundreds of years, Bay Village tree may be nearing the end of its lifespan

A very old white oak tree at a large home on Lake Road has social media buzzing. The topic is the possible chopping down of the tree, which some claim is more than 300 years old. James Sammon, former owner of the property, said he thought there was a “gentleman’s agreement” when he sold the home to Steven Diamond that the tree would remain due to its historic nature. Now, there are conversations on social media that claim impending doom for the tree. “I wholly understand that it is the new owners’ legal right to do whatever they want to the property for their family’s use,” Sammon said. “They paid my family, and the land is now theirs alone. “Bay Village does not yet have tree restrictions to help preserve those trees on private property that are designated significant. One would hope that simply touching the tree and seeing it would render its significance to any person,” he said. The tree provides welcome shade at the edge of Lake Erie for the 1.5-acre property on which sits what also appears to be an historic home. The home was built in 1917 on the site of a former winery, according to a real estate listing in November 2019. It features six bedrooms, seven baths and glass pocket doors within its 7,051 square feet. There are also two enclosed porches, a flagstone patio, a two-tiered deck and an enclosed, cliffside gazebo. The asking price at the time was $1.95 million…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union-Leader, March 16, 2021: Londonderry man sued by Vermont for allegedly clearing trees in state park

A Londonderry man accused of cutting timber illegally at a Vermont state park is being sued by the Green Mountain State, officials announced Monday. Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced the state filed a civil lawsuit in Orleans County Superior Court for timber trespass at Hazen’s Notch State Park against Thomas Tremonte, a Londonderry resident who owns property in Westfield, Vt., abutting the state park. In the lawsuit, the state alleges that Tremonte cleared parts of state land during and prior to 2019 without approval. According to the lawsuit, Tremonte told investigators the trees were cleared for the purpose of backcountry skiing, but admitted he may have cut too far and crossed over from his land into the park. Court documents show Vermont state foresters reported 839 trees and shrubs on state land were cut without permission. “Cutting down trees on public land for private use is a violation of the law that comes at a cost to Vermonters and our environment,” Donovan said in a statement. “It is incumbent on all of us to protect and responsibly utilize Vermont’s natural resources, including our state parks…”

Phys.org., March 16, 2021: To save giant sequoia trees, maybe it’s time to plant backups

Last month, unusually high winds knocked down 15 giant sequoias in Yosemite. If you haven’t had a chance to see them in person, giant sequoias are big—like, warp-your-sense-of-scale and melt-your-brain big. Then, once you’ve taken in their size, they do the same thing with your sense of time, because an individual tree can survive thousands of years. Wars, plagues, fashion trends: Sequoias have lived through and outlasted them all. To last thousands of years, any sequoia has also endured hungry animals, diseases, fires, snowstorms, El Niño events, and years-long droughts, not to mention the opportunistic loggers of the 19th and 20th centuries. What a shame, then, for 15 trees to survive through so many challenges only to die in a windstorm. Sadly, this is a climate change story. While sequoias are wonderfully adapted to their narrow range in California’s Western Sierras, this habitat has been unusually sensitive to changing weather patterns, and may be changing faster than sequoias can migrate or adapt. If we want to ensure these majestic trees’ survival, it’s time to consider planting a new generation of sequoias in colder, nearby habitats. Although high winds in the Yosemite region are not unusual, last month’s 80-mile-per-hour gusts were the most extreme in at least a decade, and caused the most damage to the park since flooding in 1997. Even if these high winds were unrelated to climate change, ongoing weather changes in the Sierras have produced more stressed trees. Shorter cold seasons have meant more rain instead of snow, which in winter can mean floods and mudslides. In warm seasons, there’s less snowpack to feed the waterways that sequoias and other trees depend on to stay hydrated throughout the year, which in turn makes fires more likely. Hotter, drier summers force trees to make compromises to retain what little moisture they have, which then limits their ability to grow and repair themselves…

The Pioneer Woman, March 16, 2021: Best Redbud Tree Guide: How to Grow Them Right in Your Backyard

If you spot lavender-pink flowers clustered on bare tree branches in early spring, you’ve probably stumbled upon a lovely redbud tree! This flowering tree (just like the mighty magnolia tree), native to woodland areas, has exquisite sweet pea-like flowers that last for weeks before their pretty heart-shaped leaves appear. Pollinators love redbuds because they’re one of the first trees to bloom in early- to mid-spring. They even display bright colors come fall! Best of all, they’re tough little trees that will work in any garden and look beautiful as part of your landscaping ideas. Plus, they always bring a smile to Ree Drummond’s face. She absolutely loves them! “If you love purple, the short time when Oklahoma Redbuds are blooming is like being in a dream,” she says. If you were hoping to learn how to plant redbuds in your yard, there’s good news ahead for you. “Redbuds are very adaptable,” says Nancy Buley, communications director for J. Frank Schmidt & Son, Company, wholesale tree growers in Oregon. “They grow from Massachusetts to Florida and Texas to Minnesota, with more cold-hardy cultivars—or cultivated varieties—having developed in recent years.” But before you plant one of these gorgeous trees in your own garden, there are a few things you need to know about how to care for a redbud tree! Read on for a total redbud tree guide ahead, including information about redbud varieties, planting tips, maintenance, and more…

Triple Pundit, March 15, 2021: ‘Isn’t It Bad to Cut Down Trees?’ and Other Burning Questions About Sustainable Forestry

Sheltering 80 percent of the world’s land biodiversity and sequestering twice as much carbon dioxide as they emit, forests easily make their case for preservation — a case made urgent by increasing deforestation. Though forests still cover about a third of the earth’s land area, they were almost twice as prevalent before human civilization emerged. Clearly, those that remain are worth protecting. The good news is that organizations, individuals and businesses around the world are taking heed of these factors and transforming the way forests are managed. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is one organization that’s working with stakeholders to restore ecosystems and certify products as responsibly sourced. Shoppers can also contribute to ensuring the sustainable management of forests by choosing products that display an FSC logo. We’ve all seen the FSC’s tree logo on products ranging from shoes to toilet paper to furniture. But what does it really mean for a product to come from responsibly managed forests and to be certified by the FSC? The resources used to make an FSC-certified product are sourced from forests managed using a set of universal responsibility principles. These guidelines are applied specifically, based on the industry, environment and community. To be certified, forests are checked by independent auditors for compliance. The FSC system also includes a chain of custody certification that tracks materials and products through each step of their supply chains…

Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, March 15, 2021: Anne Arundel County Council considers strengthening new forest law after tree cutting near Annapolis

A county councilwoman said a “loophole” in Anne Arundel County’s forest conservation law could soon be closed if her bill requiring approval for clearing certain vegetation in sensitive areas is successful. It would ensure that the 2019 forest conservation bill and associated penalties would still affect developers who cleared forests in violation, even if that clearing took place before they submitted a development application. Bill 20-21 from Councilwoman Lisa Brannigan Rodvien, D-Annapolis, would amend the definition of a “standard grading plan,” require mitigation when clearing is approved, and establish fines and penalties for violation. County Environmental Policy Director Matt Johnston said the bill wouldn’t impact homeowners who needed to remove a tree to install a backyard swing set or a hazardous tree that is at risk of falling on their home. He said the amendments take extra care to ensure it…

Phys.org, March 15, 2021: Million-tree mission hopes to fix reforestation flaws

It’s an environmental policy embraced by heads of state, multinational businesses and even leading climate sceptic Donald Trump: plant more trees to help the planet and slow global warming. But experts claim some recent mass tree-planting schemes have failed to reduce greenhouse gases when not done properly, and even harmed the environment. Now a pair of Finnish environmentalists believe they have created a reforestation initiative that will avoid these problems and allow for millions of new trees every year, tracked by a smartphone app. Former schoolteacher Mika Vanhanen has overseen the planting of 30 million trees across the globe via a network of 10,000 schools, the result of two decades work. But “some of the trees died because we didn’t have the resources to care for them”, Vanhanen, founder of tree-planting charity ENO, told AFP in his hometown of Joensuu, eastern Finland. Last year Turkey’s forestry trade union said almost all of the 11 million trees planted during the country’s National Forestation Day in 2019 had died after just a few months…

Counterpunch.org, March 16, 2021: The Institutional Bias of Forestry School Research

“A quarter-century-old harvesting restriction intended to last one year has served as an obstacle to returning eastern Oregon national forests to the healthier, more fire-resilient conditions they embodied in the late 1800s.” These researchers are arguing a restriction on cutting large trees (the 21-inch rule) in eastern Oregon hinders the “restoration” of forests. The researchers are so immersed in the only good tree is a green tree paradigm that they see any mortality from natural processes as an anathema to “forest health.” Under their skewed definition of what constitutes a “healthy forest,” they see the only solution is “active forest management,” which is a euphemism for logging. A failure to examine underlying assumptions often leads to misinterpretation of findings. For instance, more than a century ago, scientists assumed that the skull’s size was an indication of intelligence. Many scientists (nearly all of them men) measured skulls, and what did they discover? Men had bigger skulls, and thus men were more intelligent than women. Conveniently, the timber industry and Forestry Schools define what constitutes a healthy forest; then, by happy coincidence, this justifies more logging of the forest…

Reason, March 11, 2021: Sierra Club Inches Toward Accepting Genetically Modified Chestnut Trees

The chestnut tree was once the dominant tree in forests east of the Mississippi River, but that was before the chestnut blight. First observed at the Bronx Zoo in 1904, the blight destroyed more than 4 billion chestnut trees by the 1940s. In 1983, a hardy band of plant scientists and volunteers founded the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) Its aim: to breed blight resistance from the Chinese chestnut tree into the American chestnut tree, while maintaining the American chestnut’s characteristics. Beyond that, the group’s ultimate goal is to “reestablish the American chestnut’s function in its native range.” As the science of genetics advanced, the foundation added a biotechnology program. This aims to endow American chestnuts directly with a gene from wheat called oxalate oxidase, or OxO. The OxO enzyme protects the trees by breaking down the oxalic acid that the blight uses to attack them. Adding just a gene or two to the American chestnut genome would make the trees even more “native” than those back-crossed with Chinese chestnuts…

Washington, D.C., WJLA-TV, March 11, 2021: DC neighbors: Grassroots effort saved 100yo tree from developer’s ‘illegal’ plan, for now

A group of concerned D.C. neighbors is standing their ground and fighting to save a 100-year-old Pecan tree located in Northwest. The tree sits in the backyard outside a vacant property along Fairmont Street in Northwest. Wednesday evening, the DC neighbors posted to Reddit asking the community to help them save the century-old heritage tree. “Recently towards the end of 2020 someone bought the property from the city” said Caroline Wood, neighbor along Fairmont Street. The residents who live next door to the tree explained how a developer stopped by the property on Wednesday and said it would be removed on Thursday. “It’s large enough and old enough that it is classified as a heritage tree, Wood said, “It’s illegal to harm or remove it.” According to the District Department of Transportation, the tree is in fact a heritage tree and is deemed not hazardous. DDOT said it would be illegal if someone removed it…

Portland, Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting, March 14, 2021: The secret life of trees: Researchers probe methane in Washington’s coastal forest

Trees have a little secret you might not know about. Yes, they produce oxygen. Yes, they take in carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. But, they also emit methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that can be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide. “Just about every tree we measured had elevated amounts of methane in it. And that was consistent across the Northwest with a variety of different species,” says Nick Ward, a scientist with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Ward has long been interested in methane. After grad school, he was measuring methane coming out of the water in the Florida everglades. He sat down next to a giant cypress tree. Ward had read about methane actually coming out of trees, so he placed his tool over the knee — a part of the tree — at the base of the cypress. “I just made a PVC thing and put it on there, measured it, and was like, ‘Wow, there’s like 100 times more methane coming out of this little knee than the water right next to it,’” Ward said…

Las Vegas, Nevada, Review-Journal, March 13, 2021: Major mistakes when planting will result in tree decline

I like deals. Buying a large tree in a box and getting it planted for free is a good deal. Just have it done right. Beware. Numerous people have complained the planting crews dug the hole only wide enough to fit the box. After that, a little bit of mulch was mixed with the soil, watered in and called good. That’s no deal. The tree will decline and maybe die in a couple of years because of these poor planting techniques. The major mistakes made when planting are not making the planting hole wide enough, digging the hole extra deep when it’s not needed, planting too deeply and watering the plants too often after planting. If these deals are too good to pass up, then make sure the planting hole is at least three times the width of the box. Pay planting crews extra to do it the right way if you must. The hole doesn’t have to be dug extra deep, but it should be dug wide. It’s OK to use the soil taken from the hole for planting, but first mix it with about one-third by volume of compost. If a normal compost is used, make sure to mix in some fertilizer with the soil used for the planting hole. Rich composts don’t need extra fertilizer in the soil mix…

London, UK, The Guardian, March 12, 2021: Green health: a tree-filled street can positively influence depression,
study finds

In 2005, when Celena Owens purchased an investment property in the up-and-coming East Baltimore neighborhood of Oliver, it was supposed to make her life better. But three years later, the housing market crashed, neighborhood renewal stalled, and the home that was going to be a rental became her full-time residence. Owens fell into what she describes as a “major depressive episode” that would last for the better part of a decade. That’s when Owens, an IT developer for the state of Maryland, began to notice a pattern. During her workdays in the leafy suburbs of a nearby county, her mood would lift. “Even though I was still dealing with stuff, I felt a sense of calm, of comfort,” she remembers. On the commute back to the nearly treeless neighborhood she called home, that feeling would evaporate. “The closer I got to my house, the more depressed I would feel,” she says. “It was just this overwhelming sense of heaviness.” Owens’s experience demonstrates the very real influence of tree inequity. In many cities, a map of urban tree cover reflects the geography of race and income, just as it does in Oliver, where 97% of residents are African American. This holds true across Baltimore, which still bears the scars of redlining, policies that denied mortgages and other financial services to entire communities of color. Black residents were essentially barred from purchasing homes in so-called greenlined neighborhoods, forced instead to choose among inner-city redlined areas…

Phys.org, March 10, 2021: Study offers insights into management of invasive paperbark trees

The paperbark tree (Melaleuca quinquenervia) was introduced to the U.S. from Australia in the 1900s. Unfortunately, it went on to become a weedy invader that has dominated natural landscapes across southern Florida, including the fragile wetlands of the Everglades. According to an article in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management (IPSM), one of the challenges in managing the paperbark species is its large seedbank. A single, large tree located within a dense stand can retain as many as 9 million viable seeds. The seeds are contained in capsules within the tree canopy and are released in response to disturbances, including wildfires and even the application of herbicides. Researchers conducting a 13-year study of Florida paperbark populations say a biological control program launched by state and federal authorities has helped to slow the plant’s invasive capacity. Now seedlings, saplings and large trees are continuously attacked by weevils, psyllids and galling flies. After implementation of biological controls, there was a reduction of greater than 95 percent in the size of new populations of paperbark tree that emerged following wildfires. The biological controls have helped to reduce seedling and sapling density, slow their growth and inhibit surviving plants from achieving the capacity to reproduce for many years. One example: After a 1998 fire, the density of paperbark tree was reduced by 96.3 percent. By 2005, none of the remaining recruits had produced seed capsules…

Ann Arbor, Michigan, News, March 11, 2021: Tapping maple trees for sap on public property is illegal, Ann Arbor reminds residents

With the return of spring-like weather, Ann Arborites have begun the annual ritual of tapping into maple trees to harvest sap to make syrup. Sap bags have appeared in recent days on trees on both public and private property in the city. But tapping into a public tree, such as trees along city streets and in parks, is illegal, Ann Arbor officials say. “It is illegal to tap any public tree, which would include street trees. When we find this equipment, staff will remove it,” said Robert Kellar, city spokesman. “Tapping causes damage to these trees, which already face challenges, and leave them susceptible to insects and disease.” The issue of people tapping street trees is something the city faces each spring, Kellar said, noting the city does outreach on the topic each year and the rules remain the same…

London, Ontario, CFPL Radio, March 10, 2021: City pilot project looks to maintain, protect London’s old, large trees

The Forest City’s large, old trees, specifically those on private property, are the focus of a new one-year pilot program launched this month by London city hall. City officials say the program, called the Veteran Tree Incentive Program, aims to help London homeowners with veteran trees on their properties maintain them for longer, protect against invasive gypsy moths, and provide alternatives to tree removal. The type of tree eligible under the program is described as a “distinctive tree” by the city, which is a tree within the Urban Growth Boundary and not in a Tree Protection Area that is 50 cm or greater measured at 1.4 metres above natural ground level. The program will provide financial help to residents actively caring for their distinctive trees, the city said in a statement, adding that households may claim a percentage of eligible costs up to a maximum of $1,000 per tree. Work that may be eligible under the program includes pruning the tree to good arboricultural standards to preserve it, having an aborist assist in the mass scraping of gypsy moth eggs on a severely infested distinctive tree, or successional planting, the city says. A list of eligible work can be found on the city’s website…

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sun-Sentinel, March 10, 2021: Voracious super termites are carving out a new existence in South Florida, leaving decades-old trees gutted and vulnerable

Invasive super termites are taking their voracious appetite from dead wood and timber to South Florida’s live trees, hollowing out decades-old canopies and making them vulnerable to high winds. The change in strategy by the newly arrived Formosan and Asian subterranean termites is alarming to experts who say they are seeing signs that normally wind-resistant trees such as oaks are being compromised and put at greater risk of being toppled during tropical storms and hurricanes. “I would say in the last seven or eight years we’ve begun to see termites that attack trees with more frequency than maybe we have seen prior to that time,” said Michael Orfanedes, commercial horticulture agent at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in Broward County. Normally termites make their homes in dead or harvested wood, such as timber used in houses and other construction. But the more voracious species, often called super termites, are finding new sources of food in some of South Florida’s largest and oldest living trees from Palm Beach County to the Keys. The Asian subterranean termite is a growing threat to South Florida, especially in Broward County, and it’ll need to be watched more closely now that it’s termite swarming season. “That’s one of the big things I’m concerned about, especially in South Florida, and especially here in Broward, where we have a big population of Asian subterranean termites that within 20 years have spread extensively from the old part of the city like New River, Riverside (Park), Riverland, all of these areas with beautiful old canopies,” said Dr. Tom Chouvenc, urban entomology professor at UF/IFAS…

Portland, Oregon, KOIN-TV, March 10, 2021: Controversial giant sequoia tree ‘poisoned’ in NE Portland

A controversial giant sequoia tree that stands between two Northeast Portland homes has reportedly been vandalized. The property owners who have been fighting to save the tree told KOIN 6 News they recently discovered five holes drilled about 12 inches deep into the tree’s trunk. Claire Bollinger said a toxicology report concluded the tree was poisoned. The city’s Urban Forestry Division declared the tree a nuisance in April of 2020 because the root system is damaging the foundation of a home next door and ordered it to be removed. The owner of the neighboring home said the house has been deemed a hazardous structure that is unlivable and it’s been vacant for more than three years. KOIN 6 learned the property the giant sequoia is growing on was about to be sold to a developer who was planning to save the tree. “The worst thing is we had the house pretty much sold — we could have been done with it, we’re happy with the deal, everything was going good, and then this happens,” said Theo Smith. “We were completely blindsided by this poisoning thing, we have no idea who or why anybody would do this,” said Carole Johnson-Smith…

USA Today, March 9, 2021: Large live oak tree transplanted to new North Port home by workers in Wellen Park

A live oak tree believed to be 100 years old was relocated to its new home near the banks of an 80-acre excavated lake in Wellen Park Tuesday, courtesy of workers from Houston, Texas-based Environmental Design, who started the custom moving process 18 months ago. The 800-foot move will allow the tree, which has a diameter of 96 inches, to become a showpiece and provide immediate shade for people visiting the lake, which is being crafted as the heart of Downtown Wellen Town Center. The $1 million tree relocation effort includes 26 trees in all. The process involves pruning back roots to define a root ball for each tree. Each root ball is bound and stabilized as part of a patented process called Arborlift. A platform encompassing the root balls rolls to its new destination on inflatable tubes. “It rolls about 100 feet per hour,” Paul Cox, principal and vice president of Environmental Design, said Tuesday. “The big giant that we’re moving today is about 50 feet from its home…”

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, March 9, 2021: Plano forester says last month’s record lows could produce ‘dieback’ on trees

Plano Urban Forester Marc Beaudoing is urging residents to not panic — yet — as trees that usually remain green all winter have turned brown. Not surprisingly, the culprit is likely the record-breaking low temperatures brought on by the winter storms in February, Beaudoing said in a Facebook post. “This bitter cold shocked trees and other plants,” Beaudoing wrote. “You may see leaves that are normally green turn brown.” Residents should not yet panic, he added, as new leaves that emerge in the spring will likely push off the older, damaged leaves. But some trees may have damage to the tips of their branches, which may lead to “dieback,” a term that refers to the progressive death of twigs and branches that typically begins at the tips. However, residents should check their tree trunks for any visible cracks caused by water freezing and expanding inside the tree…

Manchester, Connecticut, Journal Inquirer, March 8, 2021: Neighbors upset about tree removal at East Windsor Park

Residents who live near East Windsor Park on Reservoir Road say they are dismayed that the town cut down all the park’s evergreen trees, but a town official said the trees were a safety hazard. Area residents received a letter from the town last June notifying them of the planned tree removal. The letter said work was scheduled for July, but it did not occur until late last month. First Selectman Jason E. Bowsza attributed the delay to the pandemic. Martha Ceppetelli, a resident on Skinner Road, which abuts the park, said she was taken aback when she saw that every tree had been removed. “We knew that trees were going to be taken down at some point, but we didn’t think every single one would be taken down,” she said. Bowsza said the trees have been a safety hazard for both the park and nearby residents. “We’re trying to mitigate the opportunity for additional damage in the future because any time we have sustained winds over 30 miles per hour, we had to go out there and pick up one or more trees,” Bowsza said. Both Ceppetelli and her husband, Michael, wondered why the trees were taken down without a plan in place for what will be offered at the park…

San Francisco, California, KNTV, March 9, 2021: ‘Clueless’ Tree Crews Left Trees Near Power Lines: PG&E Emails

A PG&E subcontract tree inspector worried back in 2018 that “clueless” crews were missing at-risk trees near where Cal Fire suspects a leaning and possibly burned tree touched off the Zogg fire in Shasta County, according to emails reviewed by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit. In an email from Nov. 7, 2018, an unnamed Mountain G Enterprises (MGE) contract inspector tells an unnamed colleague that “trees were mismarked” by crews assigned with removing burned out trees that imperiled PG&E’s power lines following the Carr fire in July of 2018. “There were trees EVERYWHERE standing,” the unidentified inspector emailed to a colleague two years before the Zogg fire left four people dead last September. The author, whose name is redacted, expressed skepticism about leaving burned trees standing until crews could find time to cut them down, given the risk that they could fall onto power lines. “So we as MGE have said these 3,000 trees are safe till routine (patrols) can get these down on the ground,” the inspector said. “All it takes is ONE dead tree we left standing to go through the brand-new lines to give us a black eye,” the inspector warned…

Phys.org, March 8, 2021: Atmospheric drying will lead to lower crop yields, shorter trees across the globe

A global observation of an ongoing atmospheric drying—known by scientists as a rise in vapor pressure deficit—has been observed worldwide since the early 2000s. In recent years, this concerning phenomenon has been on the rise, and is predicted to amplify even more in the coming decades as climate change intensifies. In a new paper published in the journal Global Change Biology, research from the University of Minnesota and Western University in Ontario, Canada, outlines global atmospheric drying significantly reduces productivity of both crops and non-crop plants, even under well-watered conditions. The new findings were established on a large-scale analysis covering 50 years of research and 112 plant species. “When there is a high vapor pressure deficit, our atmosphere pulls water from other sources: animals, plants, etc.,” said senior author Walid Sadok, an assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota. “An increase in vapor pressure deficit places greater demand on the crop to use more water. In turn, this puts more pressure on farmers to ensure this demand for water is met—either via precipitation or irrigation —so that yields do not decrease.” “We believe a climate change-driven increase in atmospheric drying will reduce plant productivity and crop yields—both in Minnesota and globally,” said Sadok…

Nature, March 10, 2021: Study on a new type of environment-friendly polymer and its preliminary application as soil consolidation agent during tree transplanting

Transplanting trees with rhizospheric soil is an important way to facilitate tree survival in the process of landscaping and reforestation. The traditional way to prevent looseness of rhizospheric soil is forming soil balls around the roots with bags, boxes or rope wrapping, which is cumbersome, laborious and easy to break. This study is aimed to develop a new type of degradable environment-friendly polymer as soil consolidation agent to facilitate tree transplanting. In this paper, the KGM/CA/PVA ternary blending soil consolidation agent was prepared by using Konjac glucomannan (KGM), chitosan (CA) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) as raw materials. Through the verification and evaluation, the clay and sandy soil can be consolidated and formed into soil balls by the ternary blend adhesive, which was convenient for transportation. The preliminary application of the ternary blend adhesive in the transplanting process of sierra salvia, Japanese Spindle (Euonymus japonicus) and Juniperus sabina ‘Tamaricifolia’ confirmed that the application of soil consolidation agent can effectively solve the problem that the root ball of seedling is easily broken in the process of transplant…

Chattanooga, Tennessee, Times Free Press, March 8, 2021: Prescribed’ fires being set across Chattanooga region to remove wildfire fuel

Residents across the region this week and afterward might see smoke rising from purposely set fires in public forests, aimed at keeping the risk of wildfire low. Officials want folks to know in most cases it’s not a wildfire producing that smoke, but a controlled fire called a “prescribed burn,” intended to get rid of wildfire fuel which comes in the form of deadwood, underbrush and leaf litter. U.S. Forest Service officials in the Cherokee National Forest started prescribed burns last week in an effort to forestall wildfires and improve habitat for wildlife and forests, agency spokesperson Terry McDonald said. “To some people the word fire creates visions of great devastation and waste. While this concept can be true of wildfires, it is the opposite with prescribed fires,” McDonald said. “Prescribed burns reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires by removing vegetation — fuel — that accumulates and creates a fire hazard,” McDonald said. “Prescribed fire improves habitat for wildlife by opening the forest floor up to light and encouraging the growth of native grasses, blooming species and other plants that provide food and shelter for many species…”

Roanoke, Virginia, Times, March 8, 2021: Mountain Valley tree-cutters resume work, as tree-sitters continue their protest

As spring approaches, so have construction workers building the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Crews of tree-cutters gathered on recent mornings near Yellow Finch Lane in Montgomery County, where two protesters are occupying tree stands that block work on a small segment of the 303-mile natural gas pipeline. One of the tree-sitters, known publicly only as Acre, said the sound of chainsaws could be heard Monday from his spot about 50 feet above the ground in a chestnut oak. It came as an unneeded reminder to Acre that Mountain Valley and law enforcement officials may soon attempt to remove him and another tree-sitter. “It’s easier to be in the trees when the weather is nicer, but it also means that MVP is starting to want to work again,” he said. Company spokeswoman Natalie Cox said that construction — which over the winter has been limited largely to erosion- and sediment-control measures — is continuing “in compliance with all environmental regulations and guidelines…”

Fodor’s Travel, March 8, 2021: One of the Trees in This Forest Is the Oldest in the World But Which Is a Closely Guarded Secret

If you find your way to the uppermost reaches of California’s White Mountains, you might catch yourself wondering if you’ve strayed back to some unfamiliar, primeval part of history. Here, the high altitude slopes are populated with twisted, gnarled trees that look as if they’ve been warped into their crooked formations by some unfathomable force. They seem less like trees and more like the remains of apocryphal figures cursed to take their arboreal shape for transgressions against some ancient deity. They stand on the mountaintop, still and silent as tombs but very much alive. These are the Great Basin bristlecone pines of Inyo National Forest. These trees are known for their wizened appearance and their tenacity, growing amid incredibly dry and rocky terrain. And one of these trees is the oldest living non-clonal (genetically identical trees with a shared root system) tree in the world. Before the Great Pyramid of Giza was even a twinkle in pharaoh Khufu’s eye, the Methuselah tree had already taken root. In 1954, dendrochronologist Tom Harlan discovered a tree in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest that is now 4,852 years old. The tree was named after Methuselah, the biblical figure who’s said to have lived to the ripe old age of 969. Somewhat ironically, this ancient bristlecone predates the writing of the texts wherein Methuselah appears…

Vancouver, British Columbia, Sun, March 8, 2021: Vancouver developer convicted of compromising health of trees

A Vancouver real estate developer has been convicted of compromising the health and safety of five trees located on a west side property. Robert Boykiw was found guilty in provincial court of 14 of 15 counts related to the violation of the city’s tree bylaw by pruning western red cedars at 3170 Ash St., a multi-unit house, on Jan. 13, 2018. Court heard that a numbered company of which Boykiw was the sole director had acquired a multi-unit dwelling adjacent to the Ash Street property, at 575 West 16th Ave. Boykiw, chief executive officer of Regius Corp., inspected the interior of the West 16th Avenue house, which was bought as an investment, and found severe deficiencies that required immediate action, according to the verdict by Judicial Justice Zahid Makhdoom. Access to the units in the West 16th home needed work, but the city wouldn’t approve any changes due to power limitations, and Boykiw concluded that the power could not be brought in without “lifting the limbs” of the trees on the Ash Street home, said Makhdoom…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, March 7, 2021: A green barrier: To replace decrepit Bunker Hill complex, developers say, 250 trees must fall

With the Tobin Bridge looming above and a vast expanse of asphalt below, the towering maples, elms, and hundreds of other decades-old shade trees supply fresh air and a hint of grace to a bleak stretch of urban decay in Charlestown. But many of them may soon be cut down. To make way for the long-delayed replacement of the Bunker Hill public housing complex — a crumbling, infested warren of brick buildings in dire need of renovation — the developer and city officials say they must remove about 250 mature trees, three-quarters of those growing on the 26-acre property. It would be among the largest removal of trees in recent city history, double the number that the city last year planned to take down for a controversial road project along Melnea Cass Boulevard in Roxbury. The city withdrew the plan after protests. Opponents say the loss of so many trees — some nearly a century old — would devastate the neighborhood’s thin canopy, harm air quality, and deepen health disparities faced by low-income residents…

Bakersfield, California, Californian, March 4, 2021: Rosedale Ranch’s iconic palm trees are on the chopping block, and PG&E wields the ax

It was the 1940s, the end of World War II when U.S. Navy pilot Jim Gardiner came home to the fertile San Joaquin Valley and began to carve a working farm out of sagebrush and virgin land northwest of Bakersfield. At the gateway to the property stood more than 250 palm trees planted in double rows in the shape of a cross. The trees, now known as the Cross of Palms, have been there, it is believed, since the 1880s. “They are majestic, but PG&E is killing them one by one,” said Jim Gardiner’s son, Keith Gardiner. On Monday, a tree removal service contracted by the giant utility cut down seven trees. Some weeks before that, six trees were leveled. Keith Gardiner is beside himself with worry. He feels his family’s heritage and his community’s history are being threatened because PG&E placed the electrical lines too close to the already existing palms. “PG&E obtained an easement to place a power line 12 feet from the trees in 1958, decades after the trees were planted,” he said. “On occasion some palm fronds get close to the lines. It never has been a hazard and now they are claiming the trees are a danger…”

ABC News, March 5, 2021: First oak trees selected to replace Notre Dame’s spire

The first eight oak trees destined to replace the destroyed spire of Paris’ scorched Notre Dame cathedral have been selected from the Bercé forest in the French Loire region, church officials said on Friday. The iconic, 96 meter (315 foot) spire was completely destroyed in the fire that ravaged the Paris monument in 2019. It was made by architect Viollet-le-Duc in 1859. “It is a source of pride for the foresters of the National Forestry Office to participate in the rebirth of Notre-Dame de Paris,” said Forestry Office Director Bertrand Munch. The first oaks measure around one meter (3.2 feet) in diameter. Officials said the 1,000 oaks that are needed to fully rebuild the spire are all scheduled to be cut by the end of March…”

Munster, Indiana, Northwest Indiana Times, March 7, 2021: Ornamental pear trees … the Tribbles of our time

There’s a tree lurking in our neighborhoods secretly causing harm to nature preserves and the Indiana Dunes National Park, even as I am writing this column. Pyrus calleryana, commonly known as callery pear or ornamental pears, is quickly becoming one of Indiana’s worst invasive species, choking out prairies, oak savannas, forests and woodlands. You may know it by its white blossoms and names such as Aristocrat, Autumn Blaze, Bradford, Capital, Chanticleer, Cleveland Select, Redspire or Whitehouse. Unfortunately, while nurseries may have told us flowering ornamental pear trees are sterile, different varieties being planted next to each other are hybridizing. As a result, many of these trees are now producing small brown fruits, inedible to us, but desirable to squirrels and birds. Inside these fruits are viable seeds that can be pooped out miles away, producing saplings everywhere that are not susceptible to drought, heat and pollution. Suckers from the roots can also produce little trees, and those root-born trees spread infestations even further. These beautiful trees have endeared themselves to us over the years, reminding me of furry tribbles from a 1967 episode of “Star Trek.” The tribbles were adorable but, just like these trees, rapidly multiplied and spread across the landscape to the horror of the “Star Trek” crew. One of the first wild ones I spotted was along U.S. 12 in Porter County in the Indiana Dunes National Park. It was easy to identify because this tree typically begins blooming much sooner than all the other flowering trees. Eric Bird, stewardship manager with Shirley Heinze Land Trust, is also seeing these Tribbles pop up in Cressmoor Prairie Nature Preserve and other sites in Hobart. I hope we won’t end up like other parts of the state where thickets of them are everywhere, especially along rights of way…

Africa News, March 4, 2021: Where are the world’s tallest trees and why are they so important?

California redwoods are some of the tallest, most ancient trees on earth. Estimating their exact size, however, can be a difficult task. Until recently, the only way of working out just how big these trees were was to climb up them, approximate using the diameter of their trunks, or cut them down. But these methods are not particularly reliable and can have a large margin of error. Now, scientists at University College London and the University of Maryland have developed a way to calculate their total mass using lasers. It has allowed them to gain “unprecedented insights” into the 3D structure of these giant redwoods. Among the trees scanned was the 88 metre tall Colonel Armstrong. Located in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in California, US, it is 88 metres tall and estimated to be over 1400 years old. It was found that Colonel Armstrong may weigh around 110 tonnes or as much as roughly 10 double-decker buses. They discovered that these large trees could be as much as 30 per cent bigger than previously thought…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, March 4, 2021: North Olmsted focuses on urban canopy, seeks Tree City USA designation

Arbor Day will have a special feel this year, with the city currently reviewing and renewing its efforts to preserve and enhance its urban tree canopy for future generations. One of the first dominoes expected to fall is North Olmsted regaining its Tree City USA designation, which it had held for more than a quarter of a century before it lapsed in 2010. “We’re working on regaining our status as a Tree City USA this year,” North Olmsted Director of Planning and Development Kimberly Lieber said. “We’ve started fact-finding around the process and criteria, and are planning some type of Arbor Day recognition.” Arbor Day is April 30. Regarding Tree City USA criteria, Lieber said North Olmsted is in good shape. Not only does it have a forestry department and a tree ordinance on the books, but the city is currently spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry needs…

Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican, March 4, 2021: ‘Trees don’t get COVID’: Sugar shacks reopen in Massachusetts after being closed during 2020 season due to COVID pandemic

After closing early due to the COVID pandemic in 2020, sugar shacks in Massachusetts have reopened their doors for another season. “We are boiling,” Steve’s Sugar Shack in Westhampton posted to Facebook on Feb. 26. In February, the sugar shack posted it was already fully booked for opening weekend, which is March 6. Due to COVID-19 regulations, seating is by reservations only. Coupled with a shorter season, the sugar shack expects these time slots to fill up quickly. “As you consider when to come, please note that we will only be open for total of 8 days, and we expect reservations to fill up fast,” the website states. As of Monday morning, there are still many open slots for the season, although there are some slots already booked through the last weekend Steve’s Sugar Shack plans to be open. They’re not the only ones. There are about 300 maple producers in the state. About 20 of those have restaurants and many more allow visitors to encourage sales. “Trees don’t get COVID and they’ll be making sap, so sugarmakers will be making maple syrup,” the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association website states. The season typically starts in mid to late February and lasts four to six weeks, “all depending on the weather,” Massachusetts Maple Producers Association said. The Maple Weekend is celebrated March 20 through March 21 this year…

Jamestown, North Dakota, Sun, March 4, 2021: Jamestown considers tree inventory project

There are a lot of trees on the public properties of Jamestown, although nobody is sure just how many, according to Eric Laber, Jamestown city forester. “The last inventory was in 2015,” he said. “Somewhere around 10,000 to 12,000 trees on the boulevards and in the parks in Jamestown alone.” Laber is proposing a project to update that inventory this summer and possibly include the Stutsman County Park Board in the project to count all the trees in its parks. “There is an economy of scale to do the project together,” Laber said. “The same inventory program and person could do all the work.” The tree inventory would only include trees on public lands such as street boulevards and parks. It would not include trees on private property. The project is not just a count of the trees but will include a breakdown by species. “It will be interesting to see how many elm have been lost to Dutch elm disease,” Laber said. “There are other trees that have been lost to the wind over the past few years too.”Previous inventories of trees in Jamestown have indicated about 45% were ash trees. “That is too much of one species,” Laber said. Laber said the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect from Asia that could decimate the ash tree population, is in the region, with confirmed reports in South Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba. The forestry department is part of a trap and identify program checking for the presence of the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle that also can kill trees…

National Geographic, March 3, 2021: Tree of heaven is a hellish invasive species. Could a fungus save the day?

Many trees would be lucky to be as beautiful as Ailanthus anltissima, also known as tree of heaven, a deciduous tree with quill-shaped leaves, light gray bark, and red-and-yellow-tinted seeds that resemble a sunset. But outside its native China, the plant has also earned the nickname “tree of hell,” due to its highly invasive nature: it can grow three feet a year, cloning itself via underground “suckers,” or through the hundreds of thousands of seeds each tree produces every year. The notorious plant wipes out native species with its dense thicket and toxins it excretes into the soil. It also emits a bad smell from its flowers; has no natural predators; and serves as a sanctuary for destructive invasive insects, such as the spotted lanternfly. (See pictures of 11 sacred and iconic trees.) Since its introduction by enthusiastic horticulturists to the United States nearly 240 years ago as a shade tree and botanical specimen, Ailanthus has spread to all but six U.S. states, and has gained a foothold on every continent except Antarctica…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, March 3, 2021: Galveston’s iconic palm trees struggling to survive after deadly freeze

Galveston’s majestic palm trees could be another casualty of Texas’s four-day freeze last month. The cold snap that left millions of Texans without power and caused burst pipes across the state has also had a pronounced effect on local vegetation. Days after the freeze, with the winter weather now normalizing to mild temperatures for the region, many trees in Galveston remain in a torpid state — with brown leaves, broken branches and a general hang-dog appearance. “Your Queen Palms, Japanese blueberry trees, citrus trees, olive trees — there’s probably a 90 percent chance that those are just really not going to come back,” said Orvis Himbaugh, owner of Tree Worxx, a company that specializes in tree servicing in Galveston County and the Houston area. Galveston’s iconic palms, synonymous with the island’s laid-back ethos, bore the brunt of the impact from the harsh weather. The lofty trees — there are more than 20 species of palms on Galveston island — are surprisingly resilient, able to withstand the region’s volatile climate from hurricanes and tropical storms to the occasional frost. But the sustained subfreezing temperatures and vicious winds in February proved too severe for the trees to overcome…

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, March 3, 2021: Oakland woman impaled by tree branch in ‘fair’ condition

An Oakland woman was listed in fair condition Wednesday at an Augusta hospital after a tree fell on a car she was traveling in and a branch penetrated the dashboard, impaling her Tuesday in Sidney. Theresa Roy, 79, was sitting in the front passenger seat of a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe being driven north on the Pond Road by her husband, David Roy, 78, at 10:06 a.m. Tuesday when the crash occurred, according to Lt. J. Chris Read of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office. “High winds caused a large pine tree to snap and fall onto the vehicle as it traveled,” Read said Wednesday in a news release. “This caused heavy damage to the vehicle and a branch penetrated the dashboard, ultimately impaling Theresa…”

Grand Rapids, Michigan, Grand Rapids Business Journal, February 26, 2021: Wolverine Worldwide submits PFAS remediation plan for House Street property

Wolverine Worldwide recently submitted a feasibility study to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy outlining a comprehensive plan to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances at its House Street property. The proposal combines multiple remediation methods while working to preserve sizable greenspace that “complements the area’s rural character,” the Rockford-based maker of footwear and apparel posted on its blog, WeAreWolverine. The feasibility study and the remediation of the company’s House Street property is one component of its efforts to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in the area stemming from historic disposal of waste containing chemicals that were part of a previous formula for 3M’s Scotchgard product that Wolverine used to waterproof its leather shoes beginning in the late 1950s and early ’60s. PFAS have been linked to certain types of cancers and other health issues… The remediation plan for the House Street property combines two remediation methods to remove PFAS from the ground and further reduce the impact of PFAS on groundwater, Wolverine said. The first method, phytoremediation, is a process where the roots of trees planted on the property will pull PFAS out of the ground over time. The second method, strategic capping, involves installing specially engineered membranes over the thickest areas of PFAS, preventing that PFAS from getting into the groundwater. This “phyto-cap” plan addresses the remediation objectives outlined in the consent decree and has the added benefit of preserving a 76-acre green space in the middle of a rural residential area, Wolverine said…

Chicago, Illinois, Lake County News-Sun, March 2, 2021: Fate of centuries-old Waukegan oak tree unclear after being pruned in the name of progress

The bur oak tree on the corner of Green Bay Road and Grand Avenue in Waukegan was alive and growing before European settlers had even arrived in the area, then known as Little Fort. It survived as the town grew, even after roads were paved, streets and traffic lights were installed and two recent developments threatened its destruction. Now, the roughly 230-year-old tree is just a glimmer of its former glorious self, according to a Waukegan man and his two grandchildren who helped save the tree from being removed in 2015. This winter, “Commonwealth Edison has come along and cut half the tree down to string a new electric line,” said Pat Carry, who lives four blocks away from the tree. “I’m sure ComEd did have the right to do that, but seeing that the tree is so old, they could have gone around it.” The number of oak trees has been declining in northern Illinois, including in Lake County, for decades. ComEd said the pruning done on the tree was necessary to erect a new power line at the busy intersection to provide electricity to roughly 335 customers…

Mankato, Minnesota, Free Press, March 2, 2021: Ash borer expected to kill 17% of Mankato’s trees

The inevitable arrival of the tree-killing emerald ash borer is expected to take one in every six trees in Mankato in the next decade or so and leave hefty bills in the laps of homeowners with large backyard ash trees. A report to the Mankato City Council Monday night also warned of $1.5 million in expenses just to deal with the estimated 2,500 ash trees on city land. And the report sets out proposed processes for identifying infested trees on private property and requiring their removal at the property-owner’s expense, although options may be provided to pay the bill — which could top $1,000 for large, difficult-to-remove trees — over several years. “It’s going to have a big financial impact on all of our residents as well as the city of Mankato,” said Ashley Steevens, the city forester and superintendent of parks. An “Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan” was originally to be presented to the council a year ago before being delayed by a more pressing scourge — the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the invasive beetle closing in on Mankato from all directions, city staff said preparations for the ash borer can’t wait much longer. “With an estimated 17,400 ash trees on public and private properties combined in Mankato — including 2,500 in boulevards, parks and city managed properties — the city is at risk of losing approximately 17% of its existing tree population in the next 10 years,” the report states…

Boston, Massachusetts, Christian Science Monitor, March 2, 2021: For this community, trees bring more than shade. They represent justice.

The grumble of car engines whizzing by seems to fade when Yvonne Lalyre talks about the trees. Her eyes sparkle above her mask as she walks the row of natural sentinels between her neighborhood, Roxbury, and the asphalt urban artery that is Melnea Cass Boulevard. “They’re like lungs,” Ms. Lalyre says, looking up in reverence at the canopy of green. “Without the trees, we would just …” Her eyes dim as she trails off with a sigh. “I don’t know. It would be so much worse.” The trees that line the boulevard have been at the center of tensions between Roxbury residents and the city of Boston for the past year. City plans to overhaul the boulevard included cutting many of those trees, thus removing a large portion of the tree canopy in the low-income and largely Black and brown neighborhood. In cities across the United States, research has found that tree canopy typically inversely correlates with income – and that the lack of greenery is making those neighborhoods hotter and more polluted, among other detrimental effects. But in Boston and other cities, there appears to be a shift in thought. As more communities start to map their trees, more residents are getting involved in the conversation…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Post-Gazette, February 27, 2021: Felling trees for safety

Dozens of decades-old trees have been felled at the Short Line Hollow Park trail head in Ross as part of ongoing efforts to stabilize the hillside. In the wake of the work, a volunteer group that had been working with township officials to improve trails and access to the park has decried the denuding of the land, with one such volunteer proclaiming the park “dead” in a passionate post on the Friends of Short Line Hollow Park Facebook page. Municipal officials, as a matter of course, should work hard to preserve trees, especially those in green spaces — for their environmental value, their beauty, their history. However, when those trees stand in the way of safety or land stability, they must be carefully and minimally pruned, thinned or even cleared. The issue for Short Line Hollow Park began in 2019, when the nearby Reis Run Road experienced a landslide that blocked the moderately trafficked road with thousands of tons of “fill.” Township officials chose to dump some of the fill at the Short Line trail head on Cemetery Lane to reopen the road as quickly as possible, temporarily closing it to hikers and bikers and promising a multiyear plan to increase parking and make the trail head — formerly accessible only to experienced hikers — more accessible to the general public…

The Nature Conservancy, March 12, 2021: New Study: U.S. Needs to Double Nursery Production

In order to realize the potential of reforestation in the United States, the nation’s tree nurseries need to increase seedling production by an additional 1.7 billion each year, a 2.3-fold increase over current nursery production. Currently the nation produces 1.3 billion seedlings per year. These numbers, taken from a new study, show the promise of increased nursery output as a way to fight climate change, create jobs, and recover from uncharacteristically severe wildfires. With more than 200,000 square miles in the United States suitable for reforestation, ramping up nursery production could offer big benefits for the climate. Restoring forests is an important nature-based solution to climate change and a complement to the critical work of reducing fossil fuel emissions. “To meet the need for reforestation, we’ll need to invest in more trees, more nurseries, more seed collection, and a bigger workforce,” said the study’s lead author, Joe Fargione of The Nature Conservancy. “In return we’ll get carbon storage, clean water, clean air, and habitat for wildlife.” The new study, published in the science journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, was co-authored by 18 scientists from universities, nonprofits, businesses, and state and federal agencies…

Atlanta, Georgia, WSB-TV, March 1, 2021: Forest fires out West cause lumber prices to skyrocket here in Georgia

The cost of building a new home has spiked and it’s all because of forest fires. Last year’s wildfires out West destroyed millions of acres of trees that were supposed to become 2-by-4s. Now, there has been a huge increase in the price of lumber. Gwinnett County lumber yard owner Michael Johnsa told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen when he saw what was happening, he knew it would turn the lumber industry upside down. “Most of the people who sell that building supply material have had a hard time getting it because of that. When you see something like that, it does strike you as a problem,” Johnsa said. Last year’s wildfires out West burned through millions of acres of trees that were supposed to end up in the form of lumber for new homes. Prices have skyrocketed. Even a do-it-yourselfer like Ray Phillips told Petersen that wood costs more everywhere. “Most of the retail stores like Home Depot and Lowes,” Phillips said. The pandemic also had a hand in this by forcing the sawmills to shut down. While many are back in business, socially distanced operations can’t cut nearly as much lumber…

Santa Rosa, California, Press Democrat, March 1, 2021: 224-acre logging plan above Russian River near Guerneville awaiting approval

A plan to log 224 acres of steep land above the Russian River, on the outskirts of Guerneville and Monte Rio, is expected to win approval in the coming days despite heavy opposition from residents and activists alarmed by the project’s proximity to rural communities and the natural landscape that draws tourists there. Representatives for the Roger Burch family, which owns the property and the Redwood Empire Sawmill in Cloverdale — where logs from the Silver Estates timber harvest would be milled — said the forest is overstocked and badly in need of thinning to promote the growth of larger trees and reduce excess fuels. But opponents say they remain unsatisfied by the planning process and have myriad outstanding concerns — everything from effects on wildlife habitat to soil stability, wildfire risks and visual impacts. They say the plan is governed by “outdated” forest practice rules that fail to account for climate change and heightened wildfire risks where wildland abuts or mixes with settled areas. “I still feel like we’re living with the legacy of Stumptown, and we still have to make amends,” said John Dunlap, a leader of the local Guerneville Forest Coalition. Stumptown was the nickname acquired by the community during the logging boom at the turn of the 20th century, when timber from the area helped rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fires. “It’s sort of like we’re not really listening to what the environment is telling us…”

Better Homes and Gardens, March 1, 2021: Money Almost Grows on Trees—When You Plant Them in Your Yard

Money may not actually grow on trees. But every leaf on every branch not only boosts curb appeal; it increases the value of your home in plenty of ways, including those you might not expect. Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value, according to the USDA Forest Service. They reduce heating and cooling costs, increase privacy, soften noise, attract birds and pollinators, and create priceless memories. Like money, though, trees perform best when viewed as a long-term investment. To ensure your tree thrives, consider these tips based on a tried-and-true arborist rule: Plant the right tree in the right place at the right time. One tree can serve a variety of purposes. It can screen out a neighbor’s yard, add spring or fall color, create wildlife habitat, cut strong winds, and even cool a house with its shade. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. Aside from aesthetics and practicality, consider the easy outdoor recreation possibilities, from bird-watching to picnicking beneath the boughs. Fifteen years ago, I planted two river birches. In addition to shading the sunny front lawn in summer, softening the wind that whips down the street from the north, and hosting a variety of birds, they sport a much-used hammock tied between them…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, February 28, 2021: Young Graduate Beginning His Career Killed by Falling Tree in Burlingame

The family of a young physics researcher at a Bay Area COVID-19 testing lab was in mourning Sunday after he was killed by a falling tree near the facility in Burlingame. Kahlil Gay had just graduated from Cal State East Bay in December and started working at the company. “At a very early age, he knew that he wanted to be in the physics or engineering field. He knew actually where he was going in life,” said the victim’s aunt, who declined to provide her first name. Family members said Gay was excited about his new job — working for Color, a health tech company that provides COVID-19 testing for several San Francisco city-run sites. “Kahlil had just called his parents to check in (before the tragedy,)” said the victim’s aunt. But that excitement quickly turned into a tragedy on his third day at the Color campus located on Mitten Road. “He was walking with a co-worker of his,” said Kahlil’s older brother, Darryl Gay, when the accident happened. Authorities told the family that around 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, Kahlil was walking with a co-worker on campus when he was struck by the tree. His injuries proved to be fatal. There’s no word on whether or not the co-worker was injured…

Davenport, Iowa, Quad City Times, February 28, 2021: It’s time to stop pruning oaks

The recent warm weather has given Midwesterners a taste of spring, which means it’s time to finish pruning oak trees for the year to prevent the spread of oak wilt. “The best way to prevent the spread of oak wilt is to not prune any oak tree between the end of March and the start of October,” said Tivon Feeley, forest health program leader with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “However, the warm weather conditions indicate that spring might be a bit early this year and for that reason, we recommend finishing your oak pruning by the end of the second week in March.” Oak wilt is caused by a fungus and has been present in the Midwest for many years. It most commonly impacts red, black and pin oaks, but can also infect white and bur oaks. If black, pin, or red oak are infected by the fungus they usually die within the same summer they are infected. White oak and bur oak can often take a number of years before they succumb. “A healthy tree can be infected by this fungus two different ways. The first is through open wounds during the growing season where the fungus is carried from a diseased tree to a healthy tree by a small beetle,” Feeley said. “The second is through root grafts between oak trees of the same species. For example, if a red oak is infected and there is another red oak within 50 to 100 feet there is a good chance that the roots of these trees are grafted and the fungus can move from the diseased tree to the healthy tree…”

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, February 25, 2021: Holden Arboretum launches People for Trees campaign to green up balding patches of Cleveland, Northeast Ohio

Government can only do so much to solve the tree-cover crisis that’s spreading bald patches across Northeast Ohio, making communities uglier, less livable, more polluted, and more vulnerable to flooding, erosion and heat waves. That’s why the nonprofit Holden Forests & Gardens is launching a “People for Trees,’’ a campaign to enlist volunteers to plant 15,000 trees across the region by 2025. Holden, which operates a 3,500-acre arboretum in Kirtland and the 11-acre Cleveland Botanical Garden in University Circle, hopes to enlist some of its 17,000 members, 1,500 volunteers and 380,000 annual visitors to buy, plant, and care for the trees on private property, in yards or businesses. logic behind the campaign is that private property accounts for 85 percent of land within the region. If the public sector is responsible for only 15 percent, the private sector needs to step up, said Jill Koski, the president and CEO of Holden Forests and Gardens.That’s why the organization, which operates America’s 14th largest public garden, is reaching out to members and visitors two months ahead of Arbor Day, April 30. “We know who these people are,’’ Koski said. “We want to do more than a campaign. We want to start a movement. Long term, it’s not about a single organization. We need to bring more people into the fold…”

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, February 26, 2021: Tustin homeowners association: ‘Repaint that $23K garage door!’

The fate of garage doors – any garage doors – does not exactly rate high on the list of world problems. But for Julie Good, her new garage doors are a triumph, a piece de resistance, a tour de force. Less hyperbolic, they improve her house’s curb appeal. “I’m very sad at the prospect of having to remove them,” Good, 62, said. When she bought the North Tustin house a decade ago, it featured a long garage with three narrow egresses. Good kept banging up her car getting in and out. “I lost two mirrors and scraped a side panel,” Good said. Last year, after one repair bill too many, she decided a garage remodel was well past due. Completed in mid-January, the face lift merged two of the garage doors into one larger entrance for easier maneuvering. Aside from the pragmatics, Good is thrilled with the aesthetics – Southwestern-style metal doors bearing a weathered, patina look. “They’re even more gorgeous than I had imagined.” But that feeling isn’t universal. Soon after the grand unveiling, Good learned that her homeowners association is not so impressed. Retroactively, the board denied approval…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2021: Lumber Prices Are Soaring. Why Are Tree Growers Miserable?

The pandemic delivered an unexpected boon to the lumber industry. Hunkered-down homeowners remodeled en masse and low mortgage rates drove demand for suburban housing. Lumber supplies tightened up and prices smashed records.
“You must be making a lot of money,” an Ace Hardware store manager told timber grower Joe Hopkins, whose family business has about 70,000 acres of slash pine near the Okefenokee Swamp. “I’m not making anything,” Mr. Hopkins replied. Timber growers across the U.S. South, where much of the nation’s logs are harvested, have gained nothing from the run-up in prices for finished lumber. It is the region’s sawmills, including many that have been bought up by Canadian firms, that are harvesting the profits. Sawmills are running as close to capacity as pandemic precautions will allow and are unable to keep up with lumber demand. The problem for timber growers is that so many trees have been planted between the Carolinas and Texas that mills are paying the lowest prices in decades for logs. The log-lumber divergence has been painful for thousands of Southerners who are counting on pine trees for income and as a way to hold on to family land. And it has been incredibly profitable for forest-products companies that have been buying mills in the South. Three Canadian firms— Canfor Corp, Interfor Corp. and West Fraser Timber Co. —control about one-third of the South’s lumber-making capacity. Since bottoming out last March, shares of the Canadian sawyers have risen more than 300%, compared with a 75% climb of the S&P 500 index….

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, February 25, 2021: Edison’s aggressive tree trimming rankles Mission Viejo neighbors

Neighbors in Mission Viejo’s Aegean Heights weren’t too concerned when Southern California Edison went door-to-door at the beginning of the month, letting them know that they’d be trimming trees along nearby power lines — “light trimming,” as one resident recalled. But after hearing the chainsaws, several went out and were stunned to see more than two dozen trees stripped of all branches and leaves, some cut well below the power lines and others 30 feet or more away from those lines. ”Trees that were 100 feet tall are being reduced to five-foot stumps,” said resident Beth Berman said Feb. 17, the week the work was performed. Her husband, Dan Berman, said the trees — mostly eucalyptus — provided welcome shade to their condos, a noise buffer for the railroad in the ravine below, and visual beauty for the neighborhood. “They’re absolutely gorgeous,” he said. In addition to the complaints from neighbors, the contractor — Utility Tree Service — heard from the city Maintenance Operations Manager Jerry Hill. “He encouraged them to work more with the residents and not leave it all hacked up,” said Mark Chagnon, Mission Viejo’s director of public works. “We just want them to leave it decent for the residents. Nobody wants to look at a hack job.” Edison didn’t acknowledge wrongdoing…

Miami, Florida, Herald, February 25, 2021: Due to climate change, Miami Beach moving away from palm trees to create more shade

Whether swaying in the background of a Super Bowl glamour shot or printed on Art Deco-themed postcards, palm trees are synonymous with the sun-and-fun allure of Miami Beach. In a city with nearly 50,000 trees, more than half have fronds. But due to rising temperatures, that’s about to change. Guided by an urban forestry master plan, which the Miami Beach City Commission unanimously approved in October, city officials are working to reduce the concentration of palms to 25% of the total canopy by 2050. The city says the cutback— intended to help reduce urban warming, improve air quality and absorb more carbon and rainwater — will be accomplished during upcoming construction projects that already require the removal of trees, partly by removing some palms but mostly by adding new shade trees. “Palms, while an iconic part of Miami Beach’s landscape, have moved from being an accent plant to a major component of the city’s urban forest,” the urban forestry master plan reads. To help address the consequences of climate change, city leaders will cut back on the number of new palms in the city and add more eco-friendly shade trees to the Beach’s canopy…

Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer, February 25, 2021: One of nation’s most iconic trees was destroyed by ice storm, Tennessee park says

A twisted cliff-top pine that ranked among the South’s most iconic trees met its demise during an ice storm last week, according to Tennessee State Parks officials. “The lone pine at Buzzard’s Roost,” as it was known, was believed to be nearly 150 years old, predating the popular state park that has surrounded it since 1937. It eventually became a landmark in its own right, sought out not just by tourists, but by photographers and artists. “This tree had a very distinct shape, almost like a bonsai tree, and the view behind it is breathtaking,” Fall Creek Falls State Park Manager Jacob Young told McClatchy News. “Fall Creek Falls is getting anywhere from 1.5 to 2 million visitors a year, and many have taken photos at this location. There have been countless weddings, proposals, dedications, spiritual events, anniversaries and celebrations for those who have passed, etc., there…

Mongabay, February 24, 2021: We’re killing those tropical trees we’re counting on to absorb carbon dioxide

“If a tree lives 500 years, it carries the carbon assimilated and stocked for the last 500 years,” says Giuliano Locosselli, a researcher at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil. “If instead, the tree lives 300 years, it means the carbon will be stocked by 200 years less. So we are accelerating the carbon cycle, and the result is that we have more carbon in the atmosphere.” Trees have always been our main allies in the fight against global warming, thanks to their capacity to take the carbon dioxide out of the air and store it for dozens or even hundreds of years in their trunks, branches, leaves and roots. Our recklessness, however, has sabotaged this capacity. That’s the conclusion of two studies published at the end of last year, which show that rising temperatures, resulting from our runaway greenhouse gas emissions, are reducing the longevity of the trees in many forests worldwide, including in the Amazon, the largest tropical forest on the planet. The studies — one led by Locosselli and published in the , and the other by Roel Brienen of the University of Leeds in the U.K., published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) — look at the links between rising temperatures and tree growth and mortality rates. Locosselli and Brienen have worked together for many years and are co-authors on both studies, alongside 20 other researchers from Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Finland. Both studies use data from the International Tree-Ring Data Bank, the world’s largest public archive of this type, maintained by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The rings that appear in cross-sections of tree trunks provide crucial information about the individual tree’s age, growth rate, and the prevailing environmental conditions…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, February 24, 2021: Cause For Concern: Arborist Says Davis Tree That Killed Woman Looked To Have Multiple Failing Limbs

Many questions still surround what led to a tree limb in Davis breaking off and crushing a woman in a park Tuesday.CBS13 walked the area with an arborist Wednesday who said most of the trees in Slide Hill Park are in good condition, except for a couple of them. Among the two trees of concern is the one that lost a limb and killed a woman when it crushed her. “It breaks my heart knowing what happened here,” said Daniel Hovarter, an arborist with Tree Services Sacramento. “These two trees are gigantic red flags.” Neighbors are heartbroken, too. “Horrible – just horrible. We’re devastated,” said Mary Draffan, who lives around the corner. “The messages started flying – are you okay? Is everything okay? We still don’t know the name.” Davis’ Urban Forest Manager, Rob Cain, told CBS13 on Tuesday it was the first time something of this nature had ever happened. But others in the neighborhood say it may have only been the first time it turned deadly. “It’s been happening all over town,” said Sophia Gonzalez…

Better Homes & Gardens, February 24, 2021: Yes, Johnny Appleseed Trees Exist, and Now You Can Grow One of Your Own

Through children’s books, films, and television specials, the story of Johnny Appleseed has touched American hearts ever since the real hero, John Chapman, first planted apple seeds across the country in the 1800s. Now, you can literally bring the legend to life by growing a clone of a Johnny Appleseed tree in your own backyard. Jeff Meyer, the founder of Johnny Appleseed Organic, first found out about one of the last known Appleseed trees in the 1990s when the Harvey-Algeo family in Ohio sent him a letter revealing that they had been taking care of the tree on their farm for generations. After verifying the historic tree’s authenticity through independent entities, Meyer acquired exclusive genetic rights to it and started propagating identical copies of it. He planted the grafted saplings in his nursery and discovered that they have several desirable characteristics. “They’re very vigorous, healthy trees with very few problems at all in terms of diseases,” Meyer says. He notes that, compared to all the different varieties such as Delicious and Fuji in the nursery, the cloned Johnny Appleseed trees “will grow more than any of the other trees do in a 12-month time.” They also produce large crops of tasty green fruit, which ripen in late September. Meyer describes the flavor as “a little bit tart and a little bit sweet, but not overly either one…”

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Argus Leader, February 24, 2021: Tree farmers aren’t happy South Dakota lawmakers want to reclassify their land as non-agricultural

After more than two hours of debate, heavily amended legislation that would change the tax definition of agricultural land will head to the Senate floor. However, some in the agricultural industry still aren’t happy with the bill as it stands, particularly those in the foresting industry west of the Missouri River. House Bill 1085 would change the tax code so that land could be classified as agricultural — and receive any ensuing tax breaks — if its “principal use” is agricultural and, in three of the past five years, the landowner had received an annual gross income of at least $2,500 from the “pursuit of agriculture.” Under current statute, land is agricultural if the gross income derived from agriculture is “at least 10% of the taxable valuation of the bare land assessed as agricultural property.” Introduced by Rep. Kirk Chaffee, R-Whitewood, the bill is meant to simplify the tax code and “make sure that agriculture land is really classified as agricultural land for purposes of taxation,” as Sen. Mary Duvall, R-Pierre, said during proponent testimony…

Bradford, Pennsylvania, Era, February 24, 2021: National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Our forests and fields are full of many kinds of plants. Are plants just plants? In northcentral Pennsylvania, there are a number of plants invading natural areas. These plants not only affect the native food web for wildlife, but also impact the health of the forests today and many years into the future. Most of these plants have spread from gardens or other unintentional sources. Invasive plants in local forests suppress regeneration of the future forest. Young tree seedlings need sun and resources. Invasive plants monopolize these resources and prevent the survival of new trees. While a thick stand of Japanese stiltgrass beneath mature trees may look charming, the health of the forest far in the future will suffer. If healthy young trees do not have the potential to replace the mature forest, old trees eventually die and all that is left is a sea of invasive plants and shrubs, and a few unhealthy remaining trees. It is easy to overlook the effects invasive plants can have since tomorrow’s forest is often beyond our lifetimes…

Truckee, California, Sierra Sun Times, February 23, 2021: Center for Biological Diversity Reports Court Upholds Protection for California’s Western Joshua Trees

A Fresno County Superior Court judge has rejected an effort by construction and real estate interests, along with the city of Hesperia, to strip away legal protections that currently apply to the imperiled western Joshua tree. “This is a critical victory for these beautiful trees and their fragile desert ecosystem,” said Brendan Cummings, the Center for Biological Diversity’s conservation director and a Joshua Tree resident. “If Joshua trees are to survive the inhospitable climate we’re giving them, the most important thing we must do is protect their habitat, and this decision ensures recent protections will remain in place.” On September 22, 2020, the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously voted to grant western Joshua trees candidate status under the California Endangered Species Act, giving them legal protection during a yearlong review to determine whether the species should be formally protected. The commission’s protection decision came in response to a petition from the Center. On October 21, 2020, a coalition of interests opposed to protection of the Joshua tree filed a lawsuit in Fresno County Superior Court seeking to overturn the commission’s decision and moved to set aside the tree’s candidate status. In her ruling last week rejecting the stay request, Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan found that “it is clear to the court that a stay would be against the public interest…”

Sacramento, California, Bee, February 23, 2021: Woman killed by falling tree branch at Slide Hill Park in Davis, city officials say

A woman was killed by a falling tree branch at Slide Hill Park in Davis on Tuesday morning, city officials said. Police and fire authorities responded around 10:30 a.m. to the park to reports of a woman “critically injured by a falling tree limb,” the city said in a news release. “The woman was provided immediate medical attention and was transported to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento where she succumbed to injuries and passed away,” the news release continued. The victim’s identity has not been released. “The City of Davis extends its deepest sympathies to the surviving family and will work diligently to investigate this tragic accident,” Mayor Gloria Partida said in a prepared statement…

Huntington, West Virginia, WSAZ-TV, February 23, 2021: WVDOH makes progress removing frozen trees

West Virginia Division of Highways crews from all across the state are making progress in reopening hundreds of roads closed because of last week’s ice storms. A series of winter storms from Feb. 10 through Feb. 15 left ice-coated trees and power lines across roadways. The worst of the damage was in Cabell, Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam, and Wayne counties, where Gov. Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency on Feb. 16. In the six counties within the disaster area, more than 280 roads were left impassable in the aftermath of the ice storms. Many were blocked in dozens of places, with trees both falling across roads and getting tangled in power lines. Both WVDOH District 1 Engineer Travis Knighton and District 2 Manager Scott Eplin said the damage was “as bad or worse than the 2012 Derecho…”

Nature, February 23, 2021: Continent-wide tree fecundity driven by indirect climate effects

Indirect climate effects on tree fecundity that come through variation in size and growth (climate-condition interactions) are not currently part of models used to predict future forests. Trends in species abundances predicted from meta-analyses and species distribution models will be misleading if they depend on the conditions of individuals. Here we find from a synthesis of tree species in North America that climate-condition interactions dominate responses through two pathways, i) effects of growth that depend on climate, and ii) effects of climate that depend on tree size. Because tree fecundity first increases and then declines with size, climate change that stimulates growth promotes a shift of small trees to more fecund sizes, but the opposite can be true for large sizes. Change the depresses growth also affects fecundity. We find a biogeographic divide, with these interactions reducing fecundity in the West and increasing it in the East. Continental-scale responses of these forests are thus driven largely by indirect effects, recommending management for climate change that considers multiple demographic rates…

The Conversation, February 22, 2021: Keeping trees in the ground where they are already growing is an effective low-tech way to slow climate change

Protecting forests is an essential strategy in the fight against climate change that has not received the attention it deserves. Trees capture and store massive amounts of carbon. And unlike some strategies for cooling the climate, they don’t require costly and complicated technology. Yet although tree-planting initiatives are popular, protecting and restoring existing forests rarely attracts the same level of support. As an example, forest protection was notably missing from the US$447 million Energy Act of 2020, which the U.S. Congress passed in December 2020 to jump-start technological carbon capture and storage. In our work as forest carbon cycle and climate change scientists, we track carbon emissions from forests to wood products and all the way to landfills – and from forest fires. Our research shows that protecting carbon in forests is essential for meeting global climate goals. Ironically, we see the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a model. This program, which was created after the 1973 oil crisis to guard against future supply disruptions, stores nearly 800 million gallons of oil in huge underground salt caverns along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. We propose creating strategic forest carbon reserves to store carbon as a way of stabilizing the climate, much as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve helps to stabilize oil markets…

Fort Collins, Colorado, Coloradoan, February 20, 2021: Prime time to prune trees in Colorado is now, not in spring

Pruning your trees might be one of the last things on your mind after we just experienced our coldest weather in several years. But the temperature is climbing back to around 40 degrees by the weekend and the 50s by early next week, and now through early March is prime time to prune most trees in Colorado. Many people wait until spring to prune, but for most trees pruning when trees are still dormant ensures the wound will close more rapidly, which greatly reduces the chance for disease. That’s why you see city of Fort Collins Forestry Department staff pruning city trees this time of year. Pruning now also can alleviate some of the problems seen in the spring when we have heavy, wet snow that breaks branches. But before you get out the pruners, here are tips on what and how to prune, choosing the right tool for the job and what plants prefer to wait until later in the season…

Grist, February 22, 2021: Tackling tree equity

A new partnership between Tazo Tea and the nonprofit American Forests is tackling the lack of tree cover in low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color, which is linked to decades of racist housing policy. “If you look at a map of most American cities, you’ll find that tree canopy cover tracks along income lines,” Sarah Anderson of American Forests told Fast Company. “This is the result of decades of discriminatory housing and planning purposes.” The lack of tree cover has an impact: Neighborhoods formerly subject to the government policy of redlining can be 5 to 20 degrees F hotter than non-redlined neighborhoods in the same city. More trees can help keep neighborhoods cool, decrease air conditioning costs, and prevent flooding. The new partnership will work to build tree cover by selecting 25 full-time fellows in Detroit, Minneapolis, New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Richmond, Virginia, to plant and care for trees in their communities. The fellows will earn a “family-sustaining wage” along with childcare, transportation, health, and retirement benefits…

Associated Press, February 23, 2021: Gardening: How to protect or heal trees damaged by snow

The deadly winter storms that have wreaked havoc in large swaths of the country recently can also damage trees and shrubs. Snow can of course enhance the look of yards and gardens, visually knitting together the plants, fences, even lawn furniture in a sea of white. But it also can bring down branches. Or worse, snap a major limb on a tree or split a bush wide open. Most trees and shrubs will recover from such trauma, sending up new sprouts in the spring to replace missing limbs. But there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage and help the plant heal. There also are ways to help protect trees from the weather. The ragged edge from a broken branch exposes a lot of surface area, which slows healing, so cut back any break cleanly to leave a surface that heals better. Many gardeners’ first inclination, however, before doing any pruning, would be to save what is broken, merely putting the broken limb back in place and holding it there the way a doctor sets a broken bone. It can be done, just as if it were a large graft…

Traverse City, Michigan, Record-Eagle, February 22, 2021: Tree-killing invasive species found in Benzie County at Sleeping Bear Dunes

A tiny, invasive insect recently detected in a national park campground set off a flurry of activity among environmental experts determined to fend off the threat as long as possible. Evidence of hemlock woolly adelgid was found Feb. 4 on a tree in Platte River Campground within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. A sample taken was the following day confirmed as the invasive pest insect by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now local and state invasive species experts want area residents to help them stay vigilant against HWA, which can kill hemlock trees within 10 years, weakening them by sucking the trees’ sap out. “This is our first infestation in our service area,” said Audrey Menninga, invasive species specialist with Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network. “We are pretty optimistic about it.” National lakeshore employees began surveying high-use areas within the park for HWA in January through Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. They found round, white ovisacs characteristic of the HWA on a single tree within the campground in Benzie County…

Portland, Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting, February 21, 2021: Tips for ice-damaged trees from a neighborhood tree specialist

This month’s snow and ice storms in western Oregon knocked out power for more than half a million utility customers and littered streets and sidewalks with branches. Now a lot of trees are needing some TLC to help them recover. Ian Bonham is a neighborhood trees senior specialist with Friends of Trees in Portland, a nonprofit dedicated to planting and maintaining trees and native plants throughout the region. He says in most cities it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to take care of trees on their property and adjacent to their homes. Still, you’ll want to check in with your city’s urban forestry department before making any changes. “Mostly that’s just to make sure I’m taking care of the tree in the right way and make sure I’m not doing any further damage to the tree,” Bonham said…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, February 20, 2021: What you need to know about tapping birch trees for sap and syrup

Birch trees are more than just a lovely, ghostly flora growing throughout Maine’s forests. They also produce a scrumptious sap that can be sipped or simmered into syrup. Michael Romanyshyn, owner of Temple Tappers in Temple, is the largest — and, currently, only — commercial birch syrup producer in Maine. He started tapping birch trees and producing syrup about nine years ago, after he learned about it while traveling as a puppeteer through eastern Europe where birch sap and syrup is already popular. “Our farm has a really nice grove of birch trees,” Romanyshyn said. “I was thinking about that as a possibility for us to help support being [in Maine]. We got interested not because we were maple producers. We just have a lot of birch trees.” Max Couture, owner of Road’s End Farm in Canton, started experimenting with birch tree tapping and making birch syrup last year. “I’ve been doing maple my whole life,” Couture said. “It’s actually pretty straightforward to transition to birch from maple as long as you have access to trees. It’s not a new thing, but it’s a new thing for Maine…”

Washington, D.C., Post, February 18, 2021: Neighbors mount effort to defend Arlington’s trees from development

Whenever Frederick T. Craddock steps out of his Arlington townhouse, 39 Leyland cypress trees are there to greet him. The trees aren’t ancient — they were planted around the time Craddock bought his new home in 1996. But at 40 feet tall, the cypresses provide aesthetic relief from dense development in the Shirlington area and Interstate 395’s tarmac river. The trees might not be there much longer. After construction on a new community next door began last year, the cypresses have turned brown, and ¬arborists said they will not survive. Now, Craddock is among a group of Northern Virginia residents asking whether greenery can be saved as development encroaches. “The trees are in danger,” he said. “When I press the people at Arlington County, they say, ‘Well, we do protect trees on public land, but homeowners are left to their own devices…’ ”

Portland, Oregon, KATU-TV, February 18, 2021: ‘Please refrain from burning’ downed trees, debris from storm, Oregon DEQ says

Recent winter storms have brought down a lot of trees in the Pacific Northwest. While starting a bonfire might seem like an easy way to dispose of the material, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is asking for people to refrain from burning piles of debris. According to the DEQ, smoke from burning debris pollutes the air and can hurt your eyes and irritate your respiratory system. In the time of the coronavirus pandemic, this can compound health problems, especially for those in vulnerable populations. The DEQ air quality monitors in Clackamas, Linn, and Marion counties are still without power Thursday. The DEQ said it may be a few more days before it’s restored and the facilities are back online…

Seattle, Washington, KUOW Radio, February 18, 2021: Ancient Trees Show When The Earth’s Magnetic Field Last Flipped Out

An ancient, well-preserved tree that was alive the last time the Earth’s magnetic poles flipped has helped scientists pin down more precise timing of that event, which occurred about 42,000 years ago. This new information has led them to link the flipping of the poles to key moments in the prehistoric record, like the sudden appearance of cave art and the mysterious extinction of large mammals and the Neanderthals. They argue that the weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field would have briefly transformed the world by altering its climate and allowing far more ultraviolet light to pour in. Their provocative analysis, in the journal Science, is sure to get researchers talking. Until now, scientists have mostly assumed that magnetic field reversals didn’t matter much for life on Earth — although some geologists have noted that die-offs of large mammals seemed to occur in periods when the Earth’s magnetic field was weak. The Earth is a giant magnet because its core is solid iron, and swirling around it is an ocean of molten metal. This churning creates a huge magnetic field, one that wraps around the planet and protects it from charged cosmic rays coming in from outer space. Sometimes, for reasons scientists do not fully understand, the magnetic field becomes unstable and its north and south poles can flip. The last major reversal, though it was short-lived, happened around 42,000 years ago…

The Conversation, February 18, 2021: Africa indigenous fruit trees offer major benefits. But they’re being ignored

Indigenous fruits have been collected from the wild for centuries for human consumption and other purposes. Across the African continent, indigenous fruit trees are valuable assets for local communities. But the natural habitats of trees are being lost, mainly to widespread deforestation resulting from population growth. Industrial agriculture is also contributing to their loss. Indigenous fruit trees provide vital nutrients that may be scarce in other food sources. They are naturally adapted to local soils and climates, can enhance food and nutrition security and often adapt and survive environmental stresses better than exotic species. My colleague and I reviewed information on 10 fruit trees indigenous to Africa that are considered to be underused. We assessed their occurrence, distribution, nutritional components and medicinal potential. We also explored their challenges and prospects…

Norfolk, Virginia, Virginian-Pilot, February 18, 2021: 1,000 tiny seedlings will one day fend off mountain of moving sand at Jockey’s Ridge

More than 300 longleaf pine seedlings rise just six inches from the ground on the south side of Jockey’s Ridge State Park. They may be small and look like a child’s cowlick now, but in a few years, they will stave off the mountain of sand drifting toward homes on Soundside Road. The pine seedlings were among the 1,000 planted two weeks ago to stabilize the largest sand dune on the East Coast and diversify the habitat, said ranger Austin Paul. Park staff also will put up wood slat sand fencing and possibly add old Christmas trees to stand in for the slow-glowing trees, Paul said. The mountain of sand that is Jockey’s Ridge shifts about six feet a year as winter winds blow the sand to the southwest. The dune can move more than 30 feet some years, forming ominous cliffs near houses and roads. Two years ago, an excavating company moved 200,000 tons — or about 14,000 dump trucks — of sand away from Soundside Road to the opposite side of the park…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Telegram, February 17, 2021: Omaha moving ahead with plans to remove trees damaged by emerald ash borer infestation

Plans are moving forward to remove thousands of Omaha’s ash trees that have been damaged by infestation. An inventory by the city forestry division found an estimated 14,569 ash trees that have been damaged by the emerald ash borer, according to a statement Wednesday from the Mayor’s Office. The first signs of the infestation in Omaha were reported in June 2016 at Pulaski Park near 40th and G Streets. “Our first priority is to save trees, not cut them down,” said Parks Director Matt Kalcevich. “We have unfortunately reached the point where treatment is not an effective strategy. The threat of personal injury and property damage is too significant to delay this work any longer.” The city estimates said that 6,119 ash trees have already been removed from public property. The Omaha City Council has approved contracts with private companies to remove an additional 1,382 trees…

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times Picayune, February 17, 2021: Madisonville considers cemetery, tree preservation ordinances

The Madisonville Town Council introduced ordinances regulating the use of the town cemetery and defining “protected trees” at its last meeting… The tree preservation ordinance defines a protected tree as any live oak or cypress tree over six inches in diameter at breast height and requires a permit for the cutting, clearing or removal of any tree that meets that definition. Pruning of a protected tree requires the issuance of a permit and must be supervised by a licensed arborist or a state forester at the owner’s expense. The ordinance also makes it unlawful to place soil or fill dirt in a way that would cause a protected tree to become diseased or die, and requires that protected trees be encircled by a protective barrier during any construction project…

London, UK, The Guardian, February 17, 2021: Brexit forces Northern Ireland buyers to cancel orders for 100,000 trees

Orders for almost 100,000 trees have been cancelled by Northern Ireland buyers because of a post-Brexit ban on the plants being moved from Britain, the Guardian can reveal. Leaders in the business say it is a major setback for tree-planting programmes in Belfast and elsewhere in the region. The Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland has just cancelled an order for 22,000 trees, which were destined for schools and communities as part of a Northern Ireland greening project. “It’s a disaster. They’re just stopping any exports from mainland UK over to Northern Ireland. We can’t get any trees over from any of the nurseries that we would usually deal with over there,” said Gregor Fulton, an estate and outreach manager at the trust…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, February 17, 2021: Triad city crews, tree service companies preparing for more damage and debris after ice storm

Just days ago, ice brought down trees across roads, into homes, and onto power lines in many parts of the Triad. “I think the storm this past weekend…I think it took everybody by surprise – I know it did us. We knew that there was a chance of ice but we do really didn’t think it was going to be that significant,” said Scott Saintsing, owner of Outdoor Exposure, a tree service company. Those in charge of clearing the tree damage and debris are ready for round two. Greensboro’s Field Operations deputy director Chris Marriott says nearly a dozen crews start their shifts at midnight. “That will be tree crews to clear the roads and basically what we call ‘cut and shove’ – cut the trees up and shove them out of the way, to open up access for whoever needs it primarily emergency vehicles,” he explained Wednesday. Dispatched as needed from the operations center on Patton Avenue, he says it could take a while to clear the tree damage near you when you or your neighbors report it. Here’s why. “We’re going to clear [other trees] out of the way on the way to that other call. So we may not necessarily get to them in the order that they come in,” Marriott said…

Kirkland, Washington, Patch, February 16, 2021: 2021 Kirkland Tree Survey: Residents Can Weigh In Through Friday

Residents have through Friday, Feb. 19, to participate in a city-led survey as city leaders seek community input on how they should manage Kirkland’s urban forest through 2026. The 2021 Community Tree Survey will help city officials craft its six-year work plan, specifically for tree maintenance and tree planting efforts, along with any other tree-related concerns or issues. According to the city, the last city-wide tree survey took place in 2012. In a news release, the city writes: “Trees that grow in backyards and parks, along streets, and in forested areas are all part of an urban forest. Trees are important features in urban landscapes because they produce oxygen and improve air quality, reduce urban heat island effects, control stormwater runoff and soil erosion, contribute to human health and well-being, and provide wildlife habitat and bird migration corridors. Many elements negatively affect city trees, reducing their normal life span and the benefits they provide. Because of this, urban forests need help to remain a functioning, healthy, and sustainable asset…”

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, February 16, 2021: If a tree falls on your car, are you covered? How to know before the next ice storm.

When an icy tree recently fell on a Greensboro woman’s car, it shattered the windshield and ripped open the back window. You might think, ‘That’s what insurance is for’ and you’re right, but only if she had the right kind of insurance. Comprehensive Coverage: Helps pay to replace or repair your vehicle if it’s stolen or damaged by a non-accident– fire, vandalism, falling objects like a tree or hail. If your car is financed, the finance company requires you to have comprehensive coverage but if not, comprehensive coverage is optional. And if you don’t have it and a tree falls on your car, the insurance company owes you nothing, you pay all costs. Here’s the good news, comprehensive coverage is immediate. Call tomorrow & it starts then. If you have an older car— you need to do the math to figure out if getting comprehensive insurance is worth it. Nerd Wallet has not just the equation, but those numbers mean for you…

Ashland, Kentucky, Daily Independent, February 16, 2021: ‘Organizing chaos’: Estimated 800 trees on Boyd roads; first responders scramble across the county

With an estimated 800 trees cracking and falling across the roads and widespread power outages, Boyd County first responders are working around the clock to help respond to calls and help those affected find warmth. County Judge-Executive Eric Chaney estimated about 500 trees fell Monday night alone, hampering emergency response efforts. On Monday, Chaney called in the National Guard and received four troops — “the best of the best,” as the judge said. However, Chaney said with all the trees down on the roads, it’s proven challenging even with the extra hands. “Last night, I was out with them (the Guard) and we spent seven hours trying to get to a family to get them to the convention center,” Chaney said. “As far as our response is going, I couldn’t be more proud. This is an all-hands-on-deck situation and it’s people helping people.” Chaney has requested a “cut and throw” team from the Guard — a group of soldiers who will cut up trees and toss them to the side of the road…

Charleston, West Virginia, Gazette Mail, February 16, 2021: New WVU biology study of trees has implications for future climate change predictions

Scientists have long known that trees are essential to human life, making the air we breathe healthier by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis to store energy and releasing oxygen for us to take in. But a newly published study by a West Virginia University professor and alumnus scrutinizing past studies of tree rings suggests that trees are still more vital in helping us breathe and keeping the Earth’s temperature in check than previously thought. In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, WVU biology professor Richard Thomas and alumnus Justin Mathias found that photosynthesis is mainly responsible for a recent increase in trees’ water-use efficiency, the ratio of carbon taken up by photosynthesis to water loss that serves as a key measure in climate change research. “Our study really pinpoints trees as an integral part of removing some of that fossil fuel emission from the air,” Thomas said. “… We’re really highlighting how important trees are in that process.” Earlier studies held that a closing of pores on the leaves of trees amid an escalation in carbon dioxide in the air was allowing trees to use water more efficiently. But this new study could change how trees’ role in climate change is viewed, especially since water-use efficiency is an important link between water and carbon cycles…

Portland, Oregon, Oregonian, February 15, 2021: Ice takes a terrible toll on trees in Portland, Willamette Valley

The snow and ice storm that battered much of Oregon in the past few days has taken a tremendous toll on the trees we so often take for granted. The city of Portland reported more than 500 calls Monday morning – the most in 15 years – from residents reporting fallen or damaged trees. And experts say the damage throughout the Willamette Valley will be the worst in 35 years. It will take weeks for arborists to determine what trees can be saved, and what will be lost. Ice, not snow, caused the problems. “A half-inch of ice on every branch of a tree adds tremendous weight,” said Glenn R. Ahrens, a forester with Oregon State University’s Extension Office, which offers expert help regarding natural resources across the state. Ahrens, based in Oregon City, said the power went out at his home Friday night and he began hearing the explosive sound of trees breaking. “It continued Saturday morning,” he said. “I watched dozens of trees falling down in the neighborhood.” He said colleagues texted each other to report similar problems throughout the Willamette Valley. “We are seeing huge amounts of damage,” he said. While professionals will be in the field in the coming weeks, he said people who want advice can turn to Oregon Department of Forestry, which has documents to help homeowners dealing with tree damage…

Science Daily, February 15, 2021: More trees do not always create a cooler planet, study shows

New research by Christopher A. Williams, an environmental scientist and professor in Clark University’s Graduate School of Geography, reveals that deforestation in the U.S. does not always cause planetary warming, as is commonly assumed; instead, in some places, it actually cools the planet. A peer-reviewed study by Williams and his team, “Climate Impacts of U.S. Forest Loss Span Net Warming to Net Cooling,” published Feb. 12 in Science Advances. The team’s discovery has important implications for policy and management efforts that are turning to forests to mitigate climate change. It is well established that forests soak up carbon dioxide from the air and store it in wood and soils, slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; however, that is not their only effect on climate. Forests also tend to be darker than other surfaces, said Professor Williams, causing them to absorb more sunlight and retain heat, a process known as “the albedo effect.” “We found that in some parts of the country like the Intermountain West, more forest actually leads to a hotter planet when we consider the full climate impacts from both carbon and albedo effects,” said Professor Williams. It is important to consider the albedo effect of forests alongside their well-known carbon storage when aiming to cool the planet, he adds. The research was funded by two grants from NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System. Williams and his research team — comprising data scientist Huan Gu, Ph.D. from The Climate Corporation and Tong Jiao, Ph.D. — found that for approximately one quarter of the country, forest loss causes a persistent net cooling because the albedo effect outweighs the carbon effect. They also discovered that loss of forests east of the Mississippi River and in Pacific Coast states caused planetary warming, while forest loss in the Intermountain and Rocky Mountain West tended to lead to a net cooling…”

Phys.org, February 15, 2021: Save the trees: Never-ending construction in cities threatens the urban forest

City trees are important: they purify the air, reduce heat islands, help regulate the water cycle and provide immense health benefits. Yet unbridled development threatens the survival of the urban forest and the full range of ecosystem services it provides. The magnitude of these services is closely linked to the importance of the canopy, which is the area covered by treetops. It is generally characterized by an index that relates the sector covered by the tops to the total size of an area. A recent study of the natural canopy in the areas covering Québec City, Beaupré, l’Île d’Orléans, Lévis and other communities along the St. Lawrence River found it generates more than $1.1 billion in annual benefits. Water supply, flood reduction, air quality improvement and carbon sequestration were among the ecosystem services—the benefits people derive from the ecosystem—that were considered. In this context, several major cities have set ambitious canopy expansion targets. However, these objectives face several significant challenges. Residential construction and the development and renovation of infrastructure tend to reduce the urban canopy. Part of this reduction is directly related to the space occupied by the infrastructure, while another part is the result of damage to trees during installation…

Washington,D.C., Post, February 10, 2021: She was shamed for still having her Christmas lights up. Neighbors are now putting theirs back up in solidarity.

A neighborhood on Long Island is covered in Christmas decorations — and not because people neglected to take them down. Although the holiday season is long past, twinkly lights and festive ornaments recently reappeared on the streets of Bethpage, in a show of support for a grieving neighbor. It started when Sara Pascucci received a letter in the mail on Feb. 3 scolding her for still having Christmas decorations up. The anonymous, typed letter read: “Take your Christmas lights down! Its Valentines Day!!!!!!” While the letter would have upset her in normal circumstances, Pascucci said, it hit especially hard now. She lost both her father and her aunt to covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in January, less than one week apart. Her father, who lived with her, put up the Christmas decorations immediately after Thanksgiving — as he did every year. In the weeks following his death on Jan. 15, Pascucci couldn’t bring herself to take the decorations down. Receiving the harsh letter, she said, was “a major blow to the heart…”

Riverside, California, Press-Enterprise, February 11, 2021: Parent navel orange tree in Riverside draws queries, comments (but no bees)

The parent navel orange tree in Riverside, the one from which all seedless oranges in the United States trace their origins, has been pumpin’ out oranges for 148 years, as I wrote last week. “It’s been there for my entire life,” one reader wrote nostalgically on the P-E’s Facebook page. Someone replied: “It’s been there for everyone’s entire life.” I was pleasantly surprised how much interest that column generated. A few benighted souls admitted they knew little or nothing about the tree, which was planted in 1873. (Maybe I’ll follow up by revealing the existence of the 91 Freeway. For all I know, dozens of commuters will tearfully thank me for sharing an alternative to surface streets.) But of course most of you Riversiders knew about the tree already and are rightly proud. “What a heart-warming article you wrote regarding the magnificent navel orange tree. I am now a senior lady but I grew up in Riverside and the tree was always an inspiration to all of us back then,” Cappi Duncan of Cherry Valley writes. “In this time of pandemics, political upheaval and uncertainty, this beautiful article was a wonderful reminder that there is still beauty and wonder right on that corner in Riverside that can brighten anyone’s day. Thank you…”

Portland, Oregon, KGW-TV, February 11, 2021: Gresham neighborhood fights to save hundreds of trees planned for removal by development

Save the trees! That’s what many in Gresham are chanting these days after getting news that a potential housing development will wipe out more than 260 long-standing Douglas Fir trees along with some key animal habitat. It’s habitat several groups are fighting to save. The area at the center of the controversy consists of roughly 8 acres along the 3500 block of West Powell Boulevard in Gresham. The hundreds of trees are what drew first-time home buyers Cason and Philip Wolcott to the neighborhood adjacent to it. “We bought the home because we liked the trees in the backyard,” said Cason. Now the couple and many of their neighbors are fighting to save those trees. Bend-based SGS Development LLC recently purchased the land and has plans to develop it into thirty residential lots. The plan calls for the cutting of more than 260 trees.
“I think that’s insane,” said Cason. “I also disagree with the number they’ve given… I mean there’s way more trees back there than the 260 trees.” The area also sits right next to Grand Butte Wetlands, which is a protected area, as well as Southwest Community Park, an undeveloped park that’s also home to a lot of habitats…

London, UK, The Independent, February 10, 2021: From tree planting to CO2-sucking machines: How could ‘negative emissions’ help to tackle the climate crisis?

Just over five years ago, countries reached a deal to keep global warming to below 2C above pre-industrial levels under the historic Paris Agreement. But since then, global emissions are yet to reach a peak and the path to reaching the Paris goals grows steeper year by year. Cutting back on greenhouse emissions as fast as possible will be crucial to meeting the world’s climate goals. But to have the greatest chance of meeting the Paris targets, it is likely the world will also have to scale up techniques for removing CO2 from the atmosphere, scientists say. Methods for removing CO2 from the atmosphere range from “natural climate solutions”, such as replanting lost forests and restoring land and ocean ecosystems, to emerging technologies, including the idea of using machines to suck CO2 directly out of the air. Scientists use the term “negative emissions technologies” to describe the wide and varied group of methods available for removing CO2 from air. Many of these techniques are still in their infancy, and all come with risks and challenges…

Ellicott City, Maryland, February 11, 2021: Dead Ash Trees To Be Removed In Ellicott City Starting Monday

Starting Monday, workers will be removing dead ash trees along the Dorsey Hall pathway system, specifically along Columbia Road between Rams Horn Row and Broken Lute Way. The pathway will be shut down during this time without access to the public. Weather permitting, the work will be done by mid-March. According to city officials, the ash trees were destroyed by invasive emerald ash borer beetles. The dead trees pose a danger to pedestrians and cyclists passing by, officials noted. The wood and debris left behind by the removal project will be left at the site to “allow for nutrient recycling and local wildlife habitat.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the emerald ash borer has destroyed millions of ash trees in more than half the nation. Native to Asia, officials believe the pest arrived in the U.S. hidden in wood packing materials. It was first discovered in Michigan in 2002…

Mobile, Alabama, Real Time News, February 10, 2021: ‘We all want to save trees’: Mobile wants to redefine its heritage trees
Bill Boswell recalled Tuesday his encounter with a Minnesota couple while standing in his front yard on Government Street during last year’s Mardi Gras. “‘What are these green trees?” Boswell recalled them asking, as they looked up at the oak-canopied street. “I said, ‘these are our live oaks. These are our wonderful trees, and we try and do our best to protect them.’” Indeed, Mobile’s love-affair with its live oaks and other trees is continuing as the city examines replacing its existing tree ordinance with a new one designed to protect more trees. The new plan under council consideration also includes details about what kind of trees will be protected, who will provide oversight, and punishment doled out to people who illegally chop them down. A council committee is taking up whether to adopt a new 14-page tree ordinance that would replace a six-page version first adopted in 1961. The ordinance switch also comes in the aftermath of two hurricanes last year that led to vast destruction of trees, including a massive devastation of live oak trees in Mobile’s historic Bienville Square. The changes also are occurring as the city’s reconstruction of Broad Street continues…

CNN, February 10, 2021: Plant trees, sure. But to save the climate, we should also cut them down

Democrats have set their sights on passing major climate legislation, but with a razor-thin majority in Congress, they need to look for common ground with Republicans. One of the most promising ideas is to plant a vast number of trees — and also to cut them down. President Joe Biden has announced an ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. That would mean switching to renewable energy, expanding public transit, retrofitting buildings, and a host of other policies to slash greenhouse gas emissions. But even in the best-case scenario, it won’t be possible to eliminate all emissions. The idea of “net-zero emissions” is that any remaining emissions can be fully offset by so-called “negative emissions” — methods of sucking carbon out of the atmosphere. Planting trees is the most straightforward way to do that. Trees absorb CO2 for photosynthesis and store it as cellulose and lignin, the main components of wood. Planting trees may also be the most popular climate policy… Forests in the western US, on the other hand, are prone to wildfires, and that calls for putting down the shovel and reaching for the axe. Wildfires turn trees from asset to liability. Last year’s record blazes in California belched twice as much CO2 as the entire state’s power plants. It’s one of the terrible feedback loops of climate change, where wildfires beget more wildfires. To break the cycle, it’s often necessary to sacrifice individual trees for the good of the whole forest…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, MinnPost, February 10, 2021: Some Minnesotans are loving this cold snap: Trees

It’s cold this week: Cold enough to do all the cold weather tricks, like throwing hot water into the air and watching it vaporize, or freezing wet jeans upright; cold enough that you can see your breath and cold enough to get frostbite if you don’t hurry the dog along to do its business so you can both return to the warmth of home. In a relatively warm winter like this one, Minnesotans groan at the prospect of a week and a half of what’s actually pretty normal winter weather for this part of the country: single-digit temperatures, nights below zero and stinging wind chills. But the cold isn’t bad for every living thing. Our state’s native trees are pretty well adapted to it, and in fact, cold spells like this — even longer ones with lower temperatures — have benefits for them…

Columbia, South Carolina, WLTX(TV), February 10, 2021: Sumter residents encouraged to cut down Bradford Pear Trees, exchange for better trees

Bradford Pear Trees may be nice to look at, but experts say they’re not good for the environment. Trees are usually the solution to environmental problems, but the Bradford Pear is a faker that experts say we’re better off without. The tree is damaging South Carolina’s native ecosystems, and that’s why the Clemson Cooperative Extension created the “Bradford Pear Bounty.” Property owners who register for the bounty and destroy their Bradford Pears will receive a new native tree in return. Although the event takes place in Sumter and Clemson, you do not have to be a resident of either town to qualify for the event. At first glance, Bradford pears appear to be the perfect tree. The branches explode into bloom in the spring, maintain a beautiful canopy of leaves through heat and drought, and fade into reddish-orange in the fall. It’s an ornamental pear which means it bears no edible fruits, and the trees are sterile, so they won’t reproduce with each other. If all this seems too good to be true, that’s because it is…

Pensacola, Florida, February 9, 2021: Here are the 3 big changes in Pensacola’s proposed tree ordinance

The definition of a “heritage tree” in Pensacola could get spruced up this week. The Pensacola City Council on Thursday will debate an update to the city’s tree ordinance, which the city’s planning board has worked on for months. City officials say the main goal of the new ordinance is to streamline the process for regulating trees in the city, but the ordinance also makes three major changes compared to the current code. Under the current city code, “heritage trees” are defined as any tree on a list of 26 protected species that are at least 34 inches in diameter when measured about 4.5 feet off the ground. First of all, the new ordinance adds longleaf pine trees, bringing the list to 27 protected species, and changes the definition of a heritage tree to a tree that is four times the size of one of three different groups of diameters listed in the ordinance. The end result is the diameter requirement for a tree to be considered a heritage tree is lower. For large tree species such as live oaks, the new requirement is 32 inches. For medium trees such as Southern magnolias, the requirement is 24 inches, and for small trees such as dogwoods, the new requirement is 16 inches…

Phys.org, February 10, 2021: Scientists propose three-step method to reverse significant reforestation side effect

While deforestation levels have decreased significantly since the turn of the 21st century, the United Nations (UN) estimates that 10 million hectares of trees have been felled in each of the last five years. Aside from their vital role in absorbing CO2from the air, forests play an integral part in maintaining the delicate ecosystems that cover our planet. Efforts are now underway across the world to rectify the mistakes of the past, with the UN Strategic Plan for Forests setting out the objective for an increase in global forest coverage by 3% by 2030. With time being of the essence, one of the most popular methods of reforestation in humid, tropical regions is the planting of a single fast-growing species (monoculture) in a large area. This is especially important as a means of quickly preventing landslides in these regions that experience frequent typhoons and heavy rains. However, new research published to Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution by a team from Hainan University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has not only found this practice could have a detrimental effect on the surrounding soil water content, but it has developed a three-step method to remedy it…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, February 9, 2021: Despite one man’s fight, Cainhoy’s ‘Meeting Tree’ comes down

It took nature 300 years to grow “The Meeting Tree” but just a few hours to bring it down. The 50-foot-tall Clements Ferry Road landmark was snipped, clipped and sawed late on the night of Feb. 9, ending one man’s saga to protect it. The cutting schedule kicked in after John “Sammy” Sanders earlier in the day took the risk of leaving the tree, where he had been perched off-and-on for weeks in protest, to fetch some foul weather gear from his truck just a few feet away from the ancient live oak. Sanders was gone only a few minutes, but it was just enough time for three Berkeley County sheriff’s deputies to move in and block his path from returning to his strung hammock above. Some 12 hours later, crews had moved in and the tree was prepped for the saw. Only an 8-foot stump was left, to be removed when work resumes. “it’s been a long, sad day,” Sanders said as he looked on at its demise. “This is just a terrible thing to watch. It’s tough not to cry when I think about it.” Some onlookers screamed at the cutting crew…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat Gazette, February 8, 2021: Courses instruct on care of trees

Healthy trees can enhance homes and businesses, but growing trees takes time, effort and money to help them thrive. The Arkansas Urban Forestry Council, in collaboration with the Cooperative Extension Service, is offering free online presentations that teach best practices for tree care. The series is free and open to the public, but registration is required for each session, according to a news release. “Trees provide numerous benefits to our communities if they are cared for properly,” said Krista Quinn, agriculture agent with the Faulkner County extension office, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “These sessions are beneficial for homeowners as well as for professional landscapers and municipal workers.” Quinn serves on the Arkansas Urban Forestry Council board and taught a pruning workshop for the first presentation in the educational series. She will also co-teach the Feb. 16 presentation…

Edmonton, Alberta, Journal, February 8, 2021: City of Edmonton pausing to reassess Riverside Trail realignment project following community pushback on planned tree removal

The City of Edmonton has hit the pause button on a river valley trail construction project following pushback from conservationists on planned tree removal. Under the current plan, about 962 square metres of vegetation would be cleared for the Riverside Trail realignment in an effort to fix the deteriorating trail that has been closed to the public for several years. The trail, running between the North Saskatchewan River and the Riverside Golf Course on the south bank, has seven areas along a 700-metre stretch requiring urgent rehabilitation due to unsafe conditions caused by erosion. Tree removal was set to begin this month with work on realigning the trail commencing in the spring. But late last week, the city said the project is paused after concerns from the Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition about the loss of vegetation and impact on wildlife. Now the city says it will engage with residents before any work continues…

Toronto, Ontario, Star, February 8, 2021: Crews contracted to maintain City of Toronto trees still taking ‘excessive’ breaks, says auditor’s review with surveillance video

Crews maintaining trees for the City of Toronto were covertly videotaped shopping, exercising and taking “excessive breaks” for an audit update that reveals they spent less than half their workdays tending trees. Video shot for city Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler between July 31 and Sept. 25, released in a follow-up to her scathing 2019 tree services audit, shows city and contracted workers on the job. Their faces and other identifiers are blurred. Romeo-Beehler’s “limited scope follow-up review” made public Monday concludes: “More than 1.5 years since our original audit, concerns persist — the City is still not receiving value-for-money for tree maintenance.” Although city staff in 2019 vowed to root out the waste, more than 500 hours of “physical observations” by auditor staff found contracted crews on average spent only 3.5 hours — less than half an eight-hour shift — “actively working on trees…”

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, February 7, 2021: Proper pruning can help trees thrive

Trees in the landscape can be easily overlooked for the all the benefits they provide us whether that be casting shade on a warm, summer day, housing our feathered friends or adding a touch of color to our lawns. According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, trees on a property can increase the value of a home by almost 20%. However, that value can be diminished when trees are not properly maintained through pruning and thinning. Pruning deciduous trees is best done in late winter around February and March when the trees are dormant. Pruning at this time can help to avoid certain diseases or physiological problems such as oak wilt in oaks, stem cankers in honey locusts, Dutch elm disease in elms, and fire blight in apple trees (includes flowering crab apples, mountain ash, and hawthorns). With the tree leaves dropped, we can see the structure of the tree allowing us to make easier pruning decisions. Pruning should begin when trees are young; by doing this, pruning later in the tree’s lifetime can be reduced. In a young tree, it is important to develop a single dominant leader from which branches will develop. Trees can produce multiple leaders which can result in greater issues further down the road. It is also important to remove dead and diseased branches; this helps defend against the spread of pests and diseases to prevent further damage to the tree…

Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch, February 7, 2021: Gardening: Pollinators will appreciate plants, trees that provide food

Gardeners are increasingly concerned about the status of bees, butterflies and other insects as populations of these pollinators continue to decline. This decline can be attributed to many factors, including loss of habitat, climate change, disease, pesticide use and the spread of invasive plants. Fortunately, there are several things that gardeners can do in their yards and gardens to provide habitat and maintain an ecosystem that supports and nurtures populations of pollinators. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies and insects provide an extraordinary service in our food system. It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food we consume as humans can be traced back to the work of these pollinators. Although many plants are pollinated by wind, birds and even small mammals, the overwhelming majority of food crops we rely on depend on pollination by bees, butterflies and other insects. These pollinators are also critical to maintaining native plant populations that are important to maintaining biodiversity and supporting wildlife populations and ecosystem health…

Huffpost, February 5, 2021: Planting Trees Sounds Like A Simple Climate Fix. It’s Anything But.

A peat bog forms over thousands of years as plants decay into a dense, dark, soggy soil that traps their carbon content within. Peatlands are the world’s most efficient carbon sink, storing twice as much planet-warming carbon dioxide as forests. So when, at the end of last year, the U.K. government approved a tree-planting project on 100 acres of peat bog in northern England, conservationists raised the alarm. Contractors dug long trenches to drain the water and planted rows of conifer trees that “act like straws,” sucking up water and drying out the soil, explained Joshua Styles, botanist and founder of the North-West Rare Plant Initiative. As the soil dried out, thousands of years worth of carbon started to be released. The Forestry Commission halted the project and apologized, saying it had failed to properly assess the location. The mistake is just one example of how tree-planting efforts to tackle climate change can wildly miss the mark. “If you don’t want to do any harm to the environment,” Styles told HuffPost, “it needs to be properly thought out.” As governments and corporations set ambitious climate goals, planting trees has emerged as a favorite way to offset greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon absorbed by new trees is intended to make up for what is being released. But this seemingly simple climate solution isn’t as easy as plopping seedlings in the soil…

Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican, February 5, 2021: Springfield steps up free tree-planting program in Mason Square

City officials are urging residents in the Mason Square area to sign up for a free tree-planting program intended to improve shade and energy efficiency. The city is preparing to hire contractors for the Greening the Gateway Cities program, in which hundreds of trees are being planted. Eighteen communities in Massachusetts are being provided grants under the program, which started two years ago, including Chicopee, Holyoke and Springfield. Westfield was added in 2020. Springfield received a three-year, $1.5 million grant in 2018 for providing and planting 2,400 trees in the McKnight, Old Hill and Upper Hill neighborhoods for interested homeowners. The trees are primarily planted by city-hired contractors in yards…

Norfolk, Virginia, Virginian-Pilot, February 6, 2021: In Full Bloom: Best to go with a certified professional when it comes major tree pruning

Good luck landed me in a neighborhood with a substantial urban canopy. Many of the trees have been growing for 60 years and have the scars to prove it. Tree pruning is a common practice that has the potential to significantly change the appearance and health of a tree — for better or for worse. This week, we’ll talk about the mechanics of tree pruning and the importance of hiring an arborist when considering tree removal. The winter season, when trees are dormant, is arguably the best time for pruning. In addition to a reduction in insect and pathogen activity, naked trees offer a glimpse into the interior structure, affording an opportunity to prune when necessary. Pruning in the growing season, when trees are working hard transporting food and water throughout their structure is possible, but may reduce food stores and stress a tree — or trigger unwanted growth. Unlike members of the animal kingdom, trees are unable to regenerate damaged tissue. Instead they survive injury by walling off infected or damaged tissues through compartmentalizing it with callus tissue. The larger the wound, the longer it takes to seal, which is why it is imperative to use the appropriate tools with sharp edges and proper training…

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, February 7, 2021: Ask Maine Audubon: That downed tree could be a backyard bonanza for wildlife

Q: We had a big tree come down during one of the early winter storms. Is it disruptive or harmful for wildlife to leave a downed tree, and should we have it removed? Or is it better for our backyard plants and animals to just leave it there?
A: This is a great question because much like our social conditioning to having perfectly mowed lawns, addressed in my Nov. 29 column, many people have a preconceived idea that the forest floor is a bare place. The best way to think of this is that the early winter storm was a natural event (the increased frequency and severity of storms that we’ll see due to climate change is a topic for another column) and the toppling of this tree was nature’s way of changing the forest. Downed trees provide many benefits to wildlife of all types, maybe even more than when the tree is standing. First, the fallen tree will provide shelter for lots of smaller birds and mammals, similar to how you’ll see lots of sparrows and chipmunks taking advantage of a brush pile – this tree is nature’s brush pile. Many insects will move in and help with the decaying process, and those hungry insects then become a great source of food for the next step up the food chain – from porcupines to woodpeckers.The new opening in the canopy will let in light and help new and different species of plants to grow, which adds to the biodiversity of your backyard. Do keep an eye on those plants; invasive species thrive on disturbance so it is good to make sure no Japanese barberry (berberis thunbergii), Norway maples (acer platanoides), or other non-native plants are taking advantage here…

San Diego, California, Union-Tribune, February 4, 2021: San Diego residents try to save 100-year-old trees in Kensington

Residents of San Diego’s Kensington neighborhood are again asking city officials not to remove three pepper trees — each one more than a century old — until a city advisory board can weigh in next week. California pepper trees grow up to 50 feet and have a life span of 50 to 150 years. They have wide canopies with feathery leaves and bright pink berries. Three trees along Marlborough Drive were slated for removal Tuesday, but city officials delayed the work until Friday after a request from Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera, who represents District 9. In addition, Kensington resident Maggie McCann said Wednesday she is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the removal of the trees. A Superior Court judge is expected to consider her request at a virtual hearing Thursday, she said. Last year the city sought to cut down several pepper trees in the neighborhood, but McCann obtained a temporary restraining order. Removing a tree is not a decision taken lightly, city officials have said. It’s a balancing act between the benefits trees offer — filtering carbon dioxide and creating shade — and such problems as roots buckling and breaking sidewalks, leaves clogging storm drains and dangerous falling branches and trees…

Boise, Idaho, Idaho Stateman, February 4, 2021: U.S. says warming threatens pine tree that grows in Idaho mountains, lives to 1,000

Climate change, voracious beetles and disease are imperiling the long-term survival of a high-elevation pine tree that’s a key source of food for some grizzly bears and found across the West, U.S. officials say. A Fish and Wildlife Service proposal this week would protect the whitebark pine tree as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, according to documents posted by the Office of the Federal Register. The move marks a belated acknowledgment of the tree’s severe declines in recent decades and sets the stage for restoration work. But government officials said they do not plan to designate which forest habitats are critical to the tree’s survival, stopping short of what some environmentalists argue is needed. Whitebark pines can live up to 1,000 years and are found at elevations up to 12,000 feet — conditions too harsh for most trees to survive…

Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer, February 4, 2021: Large petrified tree known as Onyx Bridge snaps into pieces at Arizona national park

One of the world’s most “dramatic” examples of a petrified Triassic-era tree has lost “its battle against gravity” and collapsed, according to the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Known as the Onyx Bridge, the fallen but intact tree was iconic as a massive fossil that resembled a natural bridge, the park said in a Wednesday Facebook post. The bridge was recently discovered snapped apart, and experts believe it happened sometime in December. Park officials lamented the fallen “icon” with before and after photos, showing the longest span of the tree had broken into pieces and was lying in the gully it once spanned. “There were cracks for many years and a couple of spots where it sagged, but the big break happened just two months ago,” the park said. It’s not clear when park officials discovered the change — the bridge is in a remote area — but the damage is credited to natural causes and not vandalism. The 30-foot-long conifer is believed to be 210 million years old, making it overdue for cracking, the National Park Service reports. “Onyx Bridge is a dramatic example of petrified wood eroding out of the Black Forest Bed of the Chinle Formation,” the NPS says…

Tucson, Arizona, KOLD-TV, February 4, 2021: Tucson Mayor Romero pledges commitment to ‘Million Trees’ initiative

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero has pledged her commitment to the Tucson Million Trees initiative by joining the 1t.org US Chapter Stakeholder Council, a group of people from corporate sectors, nonprofits and civil society with a shared goal: One trillion trees conserved, restored and grown globally by 2030. In her effort to sustain this pledge, the Tucson mayor aims to plant one million trees by 2030 to increase the city’s canopy and create larger green spaces, especially in frontline and low-income communities most impacted by extreme heat and environmental degradation. “I am thrilled to join such a distinguished group of leaders who support nature-based solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. I am inspired by the multisector commitment in the 1t.org US Stakeholder Council and I am ready to do my part to advance the restoration and conservation of green spaces here in Tucson, through the Tucson Million Trees initiative, and throughout our nation as part of this Council,” said City of Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. Romero is the first mayor to join the group of U.S. stakeholders. She will now advise and support the chapter’s direction, assuring operations and technical services to meet the needs of her fellow stakeholders…

Washington, DC, Post, February 3, 2021: Tree hunters find three of the tallest sugar pines known on Earth

A big-tree hunter who has been charting some of the largest trees in the West for more than a decade has added three in the Sierra Nevada mountains to the list of tallest sugar pines known to exist in the world. Michael W. Taylor recently documented two in the Tahoe National Forest west of Lake Tahoe in California nearly as tall as the length of a football field. At 267 feet, 6 inches and 267 feet, 1.8 inches, they are the second and third tallest sugar pines recorded, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reported. A third tree, found in the Stanislaus National Forest, checks in sixth on the all-time list at 253 feet, 2 inches. The largest of the three measures 10½ feet in diameter 4½ feet above the ground — a universal measurement known as diameter breadth height. Taylor, a longtime partner of the Sugar Pine Foundation in South Lake Tahoe, and partner Duncan Kennedy hiked to the trees based on satellite sensing data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Geological Survey. The nonprofit supports his exploration as it works to combat the effects of bark beetles and blister rust in Western forests. The discoveries help scientists learn more about the species. Taylor said the tallest sugar pines he has found tend to be on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada and up into Oregon, where there isn’t as much snow. He doesn’t like to give the exact location of the trees out of fear that the public will “love them to death…”

San Francisco, California, Courthouse News, February 3, 2021: Judge Calls PG&E ‘Reckless’ for Failing to Remove Dangerous Tree

“Criminally reckless” is the term a federal judge used on Wednesday to describe Pacific Gas and Electric’s failure to take down a tree suspected of causing a deadly wildfire that killed four people last fall. “How many people has PG&E killed in this state on account of its failure to take care of trees near distribution lines,” U.S. District Judge William Alsup asked during a virtual court hearing. The answer would be 113 if PG&E took responsibility for all fires caused by its equipment over the last five years. That includes two people who died in the 2015 Butte Fire, 22 who died in the 2017 Northern California wildfires, 85 who died in the 2018 Camp Fire, and four who died in the Zogg Fire last year. Alsup, who oversees PG&E’s criminal probation for convictions related to the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, which killed eight people, questioned why the utility’s lawyers are resisting his proposals for new probation terms. The proposed conditions aim to prevent a repeat of the Zogg Fire that sparked in Shasta County this past September and killed four people, including a mother and her 8-year-old daughter. “My heart sinks when I think of the number of people — good ordinary citizens like that mother and daughter who died in the Zogg Fire — because PG&E did not take down trees,” Alsup said. “Then they hire excellent lawyers like you to come in and try to justify it…”

New York City, Daily News, February 3, 2021: Hattie Carthan saves a tree and starts environmental movement in Brooklyn

Hattie Carthan was a rare breed — as rare as the huge Magnolia grandiflora flourishing and blooming near her home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, way north of its natural habitat. And Carthan — a transplant herself from Portsmouth, Va., 300 miles to the south — stood tall and proudly for the huge flowering tree. She secured Living Landmark status for the endangered tree from the city’s Landmarks Commission, and made it a rallying point for the founding of the Magnolia Tree Earth Center. “Mrs. Carthan was among the nation’s first African-American community-based ecology activists,” said a promotion touting last February’s “The Legacy of Hattie Carthan: New Stewards of Grassroots Green Movements” session at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch. “Her pioneering efforts brought a variety of ‘green’ programs to her neighborhood during the early emergence of the grassroots and environmental education movements.” “It’s building off the things she kind of started organically — taking care of street trees, planting street trees, and having an environment on the world itself,” Wayne Devonish, board chairman of the Magnolia Tree Earth Center, said about the organization Carthan founded in 1972…

Redding, California, Record Searchlight, February 3, 2021: Woman claims she warned PG&E about tree that caused power outage

Susan Kuykendall and her neighbors were without power for almost three days last week during the storm that dropped 10 inches of snow in some parts of Redding. But the Mountain Gate woman said the electrical outage in her neighborhood probably could have been avoided. Kuykendall said she warned Pacific Gas and Electric Company last summer the gray pine that crashed into power lines last week was a danger. “The tree came down. The tree obstructed the road. We lost our power for two and a half days, and I did warn them about these trees back in July and they did nothing about it,” Kuykendall said. The gray pine was near an embankment on the east side of Old Oregon Trail North, 150 to 200 feet south of Sweetwater Trail. The power lines that were knocked down are on the west side of Old Oregon Trail North…

Phys.org, February 2, 2021: Why keeping one mature street tree is far better for humans and nature than planting lots of new ones

Thanks to Victorian street planners, many British streets were designed to be full of big trees and, with 84% of the population living in urban areas, most people are more likely to encounter trees in the streets than they are in forests. The UK is one of the least densely wooded countries in Europe (at 13% coverage compared to the EU average of 38%) and, as such, its street trees are even more valuable. This became all too clear as the UK first entered lockdown in spring 2020, when many people spent more time on their local streets and in parks. Online tree app Tree Talk saw a 50-fold increase in users as people fell in love with their local “street trees.” They were quite right to do so. The wood of street trees stores carbon, while their roots and crowns support wildlife and slow rainfall, reducing urban flooding. Transpiration and shade from their canopies reduces temperatures in heatwaves, while pollution-trapping leaves lower the prevalence of asthma. If these ecosystem services weren’t enough, having trees on our streets reduces crime rates and improves mental health and wellbeing. One mature street tree can have a net ecosystem service value of thousands of pounds…

Trenton, New Jersey, northjersey.com, February 3, 2021: Logging legislation in Trenton amounts to tree-son: NJ lawmakers, vote no | Opinion

Our public lands and forests are at risk for commercial logging and prescribed burn operations under legislation that is currently making its way through the Legislature. There are three bills in the Legislature that could clear cut as much as 2 million acres of land held in the public trust and burn 60,000 acres a year. Destroying our forests undermines any chance of reducing climate impacts. Instead, it will add millions of tons of air pollution and cause serious health issues. New Jersey has not allowed logging on state forest lands since the early 1960s. New Jersey Green Acres land is managed for conservation and recreation, not forestry and logging. In 2010, former Gov. Chris Christie opened land for forestry and logging. Now under the Forest Stewardship bill, A4843, logging could apply to almost 2 million acres of open space in the state, including state forests, state parks, Wildlife Management Areas, county parks, municipal parks and more. In New Jersey, our open spaces are held in the public trust and treasured by people across the state. This logging bill breaks that trust. Our forests must be preserved to protect our water quality, especially in the Highlands region. The Highlands Act was passed to save our canopy forests to protect streams, forests and biodiversity — not logging…

New Haven, Connecticut, Register, February 2, 2021: Scotch pine is Hamden’s January Notable Tree

The Hamden Tree Commission named this Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) as the Hamden Notable Tree for the month of January. The tree is located on Regional Water Authority property in the Spring Glen neighborhood. It is an evergreen tree, native to Europe and the western part of Asia. It is the only variety of pine native to the British Islands, hence its name, according to the commission. Young Scotch pines are pyramidal in shape with short, spreading branches. As they age, the lower branches die off and the trunk becomes more visible. Mature trees have bare, curved trunks with an umbrella-like branch formation at the top. The Scotch pine is easily recognized by its curvy trunk and distinctive orange bark on its upper trunk and branches. It has short blue-green needles and small cones. Scotch pine was the United States’ most popular Christmas tree from 1950 to the 1980s, but has since been replaced by spruces and firs. In many parts of the country, central states in particular, the Scotch pine remains a very popular Christmas tree…

Toronto, Ontario, National Post, February 3, 2021: Opinion: Support loggers, don’t vandalize them. They’re environmental heroes harvesting a renewable resource

During this pandemic, more people have self-isolated at their cottages. Parks, conservation areas and Crown forests received record visitors. These people sometimes stumble on loggers, and some don’t like what they see. Logging is ugly work. In short order, forest equipment can enter a woodland and make a mess. Still, we need loggers. The trees they cut become stuff we need: paper, tissue, plywood, two-by-fours and furniture. Plus, forests grow back. Before Christmas, the Peterborough Examiner published an open letter from a logger. Last spring, he wrote, he had been cutting in the Catchacoma Forest, on Crown land about 200 kilometres northeast of Toronto. He left his equipment parked in a clearing for the summer. Loggers generally work in cold weather. Heavy equipment moves more easily across frozen ground, and winter harvest minimizes gouging and avoids damage to tree trunks, roots, waterways, nests and burrows. When the logger, Curtis Bain, returned this fall, he found that someone had vandalized his machines. “The tires were flattened, windows smashed,” he wrote. “The doors on the skidder were torn off and thrown, wires were ripped, all my tools were strewn around and thrown into the mud.” A group of researchers has spoken up over the past year about the need to protect this forest. Peter Quinby, a PhD in forest landscape ecology who founded Ancient Forest Exploration and Research, calls this the largest stand of old-growth eastern hemlock in Canada, and asserts that one tree is 375 years old. The Wilderness Committee, based in Vancouver, pleaded, “Support protection for Catchacoma old-growth forest…”

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, February 1, 2021: SCDOT points to road safety and traffic concerns for continued I-26 tree cutting

As tree cutting continues down Interstate 26, officials argue that the removals are largely for the safety of drivers. Starting in Ridgeville, I-26 drivers have likely noticed ongoing road work stretching toward Interstate-95. According to the S.C. Department of Transportation officials, that tree cutting comes from a combination of safety concerns and the need to make room for a future road widening. “There were a number of fatalities and crashes that were occurring at certain stretches of that interstate,” said DOT Commissioner Robby Robbins. In 2015, DOT received a push from legislators to address accident concerns on I-26. A DOT study revealed that 57 out of 68 severe-injury or fatal accidents in 2007-11 from the Ridgeville to I-95 portion of I-26 involved hitting trees. The ongoing tree cutting is a part of a continued response to those fatal accident concerns. According to DOT, 11 severe or fatal accidents in 2015-18 involved trees in the same area. Over 100 accidents in general also included trees…

Fox Business, February 1, 2021: Does homeowners insurance cover a tree falling on your house?

Homeowners insurance policies protect consumers when a tree or another object falls on their home, causing damage to the roof or other rooms. These insurance policies will cover tree damage, whether it’s a neighbor’s tree that falls on a person’s house or a tree that was in your yard. Here are some factors that homeowners should be familiar with when it comes to property damage. Insurance companies use several factors to assess property damage for a homeowner. However, there are two types of homeowner policies in the insurance industry — one is called “peril policies,” which cover only specific types of perils named in the policy, and the other is “all-risk policies,” which offer much broader coverage and respond to all types of physical loss unless an exclusion applies — according to Fran O’Brien, a division president at Chubb Personal Risk Services. All-risk policies could provide coverage for damage to a home from falling trees and tree limbs. Peril policies have more limitations and some will only provide coverage for losses in a fire. When there is damage to your house or other structures, an insurer would typically pay the covered loss up to the limit of the insurance policy, she said…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat-Gazette, January 30, 2021: Strangler Trees

One of the mystery plants for this week was a series of trees with large roots on the ground and around buildings. There was a lot of interest in the plants, with quite a few guesses. While there were several species we saw in our travels to Vietnam and Cambodia, collectively the trees are called strangler trees, since they kill other trees and have done massive damage to the temples as well. We have seen examples of strangler trees in Costa Rica, Hawaii, New Zealand and even southern Florida. There are several species of trees that get the common name strangler tree. The most common is the strangler fig- Ficus. There are actually several species of ficus that have this growth habit. They get their start in life from a small seed which a bird drops into a larger tree. The seed germinates and then gets its nutrients from the rain and the sun collected on the host tree. It continues to feed from the host as it sends slender roots down to the ground and around the host tree. Eventually the roots hit the earth and the trees grow aggressively, strangling out their host tree and sending roots outwards. Ficus trees are evergreen…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, February 1, 2021: Digging into the details on exposing a tree’s root flares

Questions related to root-flare exposure are on the rise, and that’s good. I’ve had lots of responses to last week’s column on the subject. One of the most common questions I get is, “Why hasn’t my tree care company recommended this procedure?” Well, many people in the tree business were not trained in this technique and don’t really understand how to do it correctly. Some of the universities are taking steps in that direction, but many of the tree care companies are run by people who learned the tree business from others who learned from on-the-job training. So it’s a pretty new technique. Sometimes homeowners are confused about the importance of root-flare work because their trees are old-ish and seem to be healthy — so they ask, “Why is the work needed?” People in this category are usually greatly surprised by how well treated trees do compared with how they looked and grew before the work was done. The disappearance of mistletoe, sapsucker damage and other pests always grabs their attention. Tree age has little to do with whether the work is needed. The national champion pecan tree in Weatherford has had more than 4 feet of soil removed from its base, and this great tree is hundreds of years old…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, January 30, 2021: Work continues to repair devastation to trees

Shannon Ramsay recalls Daniels Park in the northeast quadrant as a majestic green space with “magnificent” oak trees. Then hurricane-force winds pummeled the city in the Aug. 10 derecho. The neighborhood park on Oakland Road NE lost more than 250 trees. It is “a park that was really appreciated and loved, and it’s one of the city’s signature parks,” said Ramsay, founding president of local nonprofit Trees Forever. “It received a lot of care and maintenance, and I think the neighborhood really appreciated it.” City Parks and Recreation Director Scott Hock said it’s “painful” to see that amount of trees come down — and it’s hardly the only park in the city with a diminished tree canopy. Along its destructive path, the derecho devastated Cedar Rapids parks, leaving behind massive amounts of tree debris that crews continue to clean up. But the loss also presents opportunities for the city to plant a more diverse, equitable and sustainable urban forest in it parks in the coming years. “We’re partnering with Trees Forever, of course, to try and put a good plan together for replanting both parks and right of way trees to again bring back the urban forest even stronger,” Hock said, referring to the city’s multimillion-dollar ReLeaf partnership with the organization. As of Jan. 13, the city had removed 5,584 vegetative loads and 238,563 cubic yards of tree debris. The city did not have an estimate on the total quantity left in the city park system, but debris is being documented for Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, January 30, 2021: Those cracks in tree bark are called frost cracks. Here’s how to lessen the damage.

When we spend time outdoors in deep cold, we often get red noses and chapped cheeks. In a young tree, sudden, deep cold can cause more severe damage: cracks in the bark. Such cracks, called frost cracks, are most likely to occur on young trees, whose bark is still thin and relatively flimsy. The cracks are always vertical, and they can be shallow or deep. There can be more than one crack in a single tree. Cracking is most likely to be seen on winter days after temperatures have fallen to 15 degrees or colder at night. “The sudden change is what causes frost cracks,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist in the Plant Clinic at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “If the temperature declines slowly and the tree has a chance to get acclimated, its bark is likely to hold up better.” A swift drop in temperature causes the outer layer of bark to freeze and contract faster than the inner layer, putting them both under tension. At weak points, the strain may crack the bark. The cracks often appear on the south or southwest sides of a tree’s trunk. “That’s where the temperature fluctuations are greatest,” Yiesla said. During the day, the sun from the south and southwest will warm the bark more on that side of the tree, so when the cold night falls, that side faces a greater temperature drop…

Weymouth, Massachusetts, Wicked Local, January 29, 2021: Weymouth billboard foes welcome tree cutting plan

The Conservation Commission’s Jan 26 decision to approve trimming 31 trees near an electronic billboard at 611 Pleasant St. is being welcomed by opponents of the placard that borders Route 3.Friends of Finnell billboard opposition co-leader Kathy Swain said tree trimming would be a step toward lowering the billboard’s height and diminishing unwanted light to nearby residents. “We wished that they could have removed the billboard, but obviously, that could not happen,” she said. The billboard lowering and tree trimming is part of a new remediation agreement between Cove Outdoor LLC and Mayor Robert Hedlund’s administration. Cove must add light-blocking technology on the sign, lower it approximately 20 feet by September, and keep it turned off until the work is complete under the agreement. Complaints about light glare from the billboard at 611 Pleasant St. began shortly after the sign was illuminated. Weymouth Conservation Director Mary Ellen Schloss said the commission approved a Cove consultant Metrovision LLC’s request to trim 31 trees in a wetland’s buffer zone. “These trees won’t be cut to the ground,” she said…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, January 30, 2021: Dominion moves to cut 170 palmettos, Charleston plans new trees and underground lines

As Dominion Energy begins its next tree-trimming cycle with more than 170 palmettos to be cut away from the Charleston peninsula’s power lines, city officials are hoping to save some of the condemned foliage. Mayor John Tecklenburg spent Saturday morning walking alongside Dominion’s experts to see which of Charleston’s trees are becoming hazards, and how city leaders can either circumvent the trimming or replace intrusive trees with safer plants. The utility’s tree cutting, done on a five-year schedule, has attracted ire in the past from several communities who don’t want to see the greenery go. One group called Stop Dominion formed in protest. The work in downtown Charleston had already begun, with 50 trees cut. It was halted so that city crews can coordinate to remove the stumps promptly after the cutting, said Jason Kronsberg, the director of the parks department for the city of Charleston…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier, January 28, 2021: 430 trees removed in Charleston County as feds try to control invasive beetle

Close to 4,000 trees infested with Asian longhorned beetles have been identified in Charleston County since last year. Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said any new trees detected are likely part of the same infestation that has been in the area for at least seven years. The first detection was made in June in the Stono Ferry neighborhood of Hollywood. Residents have shared concerns that the bugs, native to China and Korea, could be spreading to new areas. But officials don’t believe they are spreading beyond the initial infestation. “So it’s been there for a while,” said Rhonda Santos, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “The insect has had time to build up its population and continue to infest trees nearby.” When the bugs do start to move on their own, it is because the population has grown enough to branch out…

Pennlive.com, January 29, 2021: When will billions of cicadas emerge in Pennsylvania?

Brood X, which also is known as the Great Eastern Brood, is expected to emerge mid-May through late June this year. If the insects follow the pattern from their previous emergence in 2004, a few may show up in some spots in Pennsylvania in early May. The emergence will occur in Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Union and York counties. Other states experiencing Brood X, in which the X is the Roman numeral for 10, will be Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The numbering of cicada broods began in 1893 and that year’s emergence was designated Brood I. When Brood XVII (17) emerged in 1909, followed by Brood I again in 1910, the full range of the 17-year cicadas appeared to have been documented. The 13-year broods, which are mostly southern, were designated XVIII (18) through XXX (30). Pennsylvania is home to just eight of the broods, none of which cover the entire state. While there are 3 species of 17-year cicada and 3 species of 13-year cicada in North America – the only continent on which the insects occur – only 17-year species are found in Pennsylvania…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, January 28, 2021: Yosemite: 15 giant sequoia trees toppled in storm

In a stunning display of nature’s force, officials at Yosemite National Park said Thursday that a powerful wind storm that ripped through the park last week caused 15 giant sequoia trees to fall in Mariposa Grove, a landmark forest visited by millions of people over the past 150 years. Originally, officials thought that just two of the massive trees had fallen. But as they have inspected the area on the park’s southern edges in recent days, they discovered wider destruction in the awe-inspiring grove, which was first set aside for protection in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln. “We have extensive damage in the park,” said Scott Gediman, a Yosemite park spokesman. “Millions and millions of dollars. There could be more giant sequoias down. We are continuing the damage assessment.” The grove’s sequoias are among the largest living things on earth, reaching up to 285 feet tall, with bark more than a foot thick and dating back 2,000 years. Individual trees standing in the grove today stood there when Julius Caesar ruled the Roman Empire, and Alexander the Great led armies through Western Asia. They were there for 1,000 years before the Great Wall of China was built or the first stones laid to build the famed cathedrals of Europe…

Eos, American Geophysical Union, January 27, 2021: Trees That Live Fast, Die Young, and Mess with Climate Models

Under a business-as-usual scenario of greenhouse gas emissions, the average global temperature may increase by almost 5°C through the end of the century. This climate change could cause a 1-meter increase in sea levels, possibly wreaking havoc on coastal regions and demanding hundreds of billions of dollars every year in adaptation and mitigation measures. As grim as this scenario may sound, it might be optimistic. According to recent research, there are carbon cycle feedbacks not accounted for by current climate models. The reason is that forests, which can absorb about a third of greenhouse gas emissions, may be relatively short-lived carbon stocks in the future as trees live fast and die young. Scientists are concerned because carbon uptake is a “critical ecosystem service that our forests are providing by effectively slowing the rate of climate change—and buying us time while we figure out policies to address it,” said Andrew Reinmann, an assistant professor of geography at the City University of New York. Carbon dioxide (CO2) stimulates the growth of trees due to carbon uptake during their development. This process, which scientists call CO2 fertilization, can accelerate tree growth, with more carbon available in the atmosphere (especially under higher temperatures) causing trees to have shorter life spans. The trees die sooner because higher metabolism rates can cause them to age faster and invest less in defenses or a more efficient hydraulic architecture or simply cause them to reach their maximum size sooner in life. The entire process means that trees will store carbon for a shorter time, accelerating the carbon cycle and potentially increasing carbon concentrations in the atmosphere…

Traverse City, Michigan, Record-Eagle, January 27, 2021: Opposition to removal of 63 trees delays construction of fish sorting channel

The construction of a “globally significant” fish sorting channel and upgrades to an accompanying park are on hold after citizens came out in opposition to the removal of 63 trees, which is part of the construction process. Work was set to get underway last week, but a judge put a stop to it before it could begin, WPBN/WGTU reports. Citizens opposed to the project believe they should have had a chance to vote on it; the judge is now charged with determining whether that’s the case. The $19.3 million Union Street Dam Fishpass Project in downtown Traverse City is aimed at reconnecting the Boardman/Ottaway River and Grand Traverse Bay to restore the ecosystem – positively impacting at least 30 key species. One of the groups behind the project, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, is “disappointed with the delay” but remains “excited and optimistic” that it will move forward soon, especially because the opposition is not directly related to the Fishpass but the parkland surrounding it, spokesman Marc Gaden told MLive…

Phys.org, January 27, 2021: Forests with diverse tree sizes and small clearings hinder wildland fire growth

A new 3-D analysis shows that wildland fires flare up in forests populated by similar-sized trees or checkerboarded by large clearings and slow down where trees are more varied. The research can help fire managers better understand the physics and dynamics of fire to improve fire-behavior forecasts. “We knew fuel arrangement affected fire but we didn’t know how,” said Adam Atchley, lead author on a Los Alamos National Laboratory-led study published today in the International Journal of Wildland Fire. “Traditional models that represent simplified fuel structures can’t account for complex wind and varied fire response to actual forest conditions. Our study incorporated a varied, 3-D forest and wind behavior. Adding diverse tree sizes and shapes slowed fire quite a bit, as did adding small gaps between trees. By examining the physics of fire-fuel behavior, we are able to see fundamentally how forest structure affects behavior.” The study for the first time links generalized forest characteristics that can be easily observed by remote sensing and modeled by machine learning to provide insight into fire behavior, even in large forested areas…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, January 27, 2021: Oregon’s largest tree now a magnificent stump on the Oregon coast

Dead trees don’t usually make compelling roadside attractions, but the giant stump at Klootchy Creek is an exception. Once measuring 200 feet tall with a 17-foot diameter and a circumference of 56 feet, the Sitka spruce between Seaside and Cannon Beach was officially the largest tree in Oregon, and one of the largest trees of its species in the country, before a windstorm finally destroyed it in 2007. The tree sprouted from the earth some 750 years ago, when only the Clatsop tribe of the Chinookan peoples lived along that stretch of coastline, long before European fur trappers and settler colonizers arrived. By the time the land it stood on was called Oregon, the tree had long since reached maturity. It eventually topped out at 216 feet tall – though its crown at some point was cut short to 200. The tree withstood centuries of windstorms, lightning strikes and fires. It even survived the blades of timber companies that tore through neighboring forests with abandon, leaving it as one of the few true giants remaining in the region. Nature finally took its course in 2006, when a winter storm blew out a chunk of rotted wood along an old lightning scar on the trunk, creating a cavity 15 feet wide and two feet deep. Clatsop County officials said the tree wasn’t likely to survive and contemplated cutting it down, according to reports in The Oregonian at the time…

Forward.com, January 27, 2021: On Tu B’Shvat, why trees are the urban infrastructure project we desperately need

In 2021, we need to heed the tenants of Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish “New Year of the Trees,” perhaps more now than any time in our history. Humans have always relied on nature — forests, watersheds, meadows, rivers, lakes and oceans — to create and provide a safe and viable habitat for humans and critters to live, love, and thrive. Nature has always been our life support system providing fundamental ecosystem services like water supply, livable temperatures, pollination of fruits and vegetables, decomposition and recycling food waste and poop into more fertility for growing food, abundant clean water, fiber, a range of moderate temperatures which provided relative safety and health for us to thrive. But as humans have dominated, conquered and consumed nature, we’ve increasingly and often unwittingly compromised and destroyed those life support systems. Not long ago we reached a tipping point called global warming. Our unabated consuming, wasting, polluting has overwhelmed and compromised nature’s ability to clean up after us and sustain us. That realization must trigger to take Tu B’Shvat with dead seriousness…’

San Diego, California, Reader, January 26, 2021: The pepper tree fight of Kensington

A battle to save 35 stately old pepper trees, the last to frame the streets of Kensington, is far from over. It’s already too late for Karla, a centurion located at 4190 Monroe Street – until she was toppled last Friday. Karla had an overhanging branch badly in need of trimming. But by noon on Jan. 22, a city crew had carted away every last one of her shade-bearing limbs, leaving only a stump. Residents were told by crew workers that the city would be back Monday for three more pepper trees across from the Kensington Community Church on Marlborough Drive. The latest skirmish erupted in September when the city announced that the four trees would be removed due to decay and other structural defects. Long before that, others had taken note of the heavy branch hanging over the sidewalk. On October 17, 2019, a public request came in through “Get it Done” to review the Monroe Avenue pepper trees for safety between Edgeware Road and 42°d Street,” according to city forester Brian Widener…

Williamsburg, Virginia, The Virginia Gazette, January 26, 2021: More trees: Virginia bill would allow cities to make developers plant them

Picture your ideal neighborhood. Does it have a canopy of trees that look nice, clean the air and provide shade on a sunny day? In Virginia, localities want the ability to require more of it. With the help and backing of environmental groups, a local delegate is pushing a bill that would give city leaders wider latitude to make real estate developers plant or replace trees when they build. “People need to understand how vitally important trees are to addressing a wealth of environmental challenges,” said Del. Nancy Guy, whose district includes Norfolk and Virginia Beach. “They are cheap, easy and beautiful.” When developers put in applications to build homes or businesses, they often negotiate with city officials in order to win approval, adjusting access to roadways or offering money to offset new residents’ impact on public services. As it stands, Virginia law allows localities to make certain requirements about trees — such as mandating they cover 10% for a residential site.

Mongabay, January 26, 2021: Lasers find forest gaps to aid tree mortality studies in Brazilian Amazon

In the skies above far-flung corners of the Brazilian Amazon, a small plane aims laser beams down at the treetops to create a real-time topography down to the ground. Its goal is simple: find gaps in the forest. “It may sound like a Star Wars movie, but this is just another application of lasers in our day-to-day lives,” Ricardo Dalagnol, a scientist at the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), told Mongabay in an email. “In practice, millions of laser beams are shot from an airplane over the forest, some beams hit the trees and some hit the ground. With this information, we can map trees and gaps.” Using this technique of airborne light detection and ranging technology, more commonly known as “lidar,” a team of researchers from INPE and the universities of Leeds and Birmingham in the U.K. remotely studied tree death and canopy gaps — holes in the green cover that extend from the tree tops down to the understory or ground. Their findings have been published in the journal Scientific Reports

Reuters, January 26, 2021: Scientists in Greece find 20 million year-old petrified tree

Greek scientists on the volcanic island of Lesbos say they have found a rare fossilized tree whose branches and roots are still intact after 20 million years. The tree was found during roadwork near an ancient forest petrified millions of years ago on the eastern Mediterranean island and transported from the site using a special splint and metal platform. It is the first time a tree has been found in such good condition complete with branches and roots since excavations began in 1995, said Professor Nikos Zouros of the Museum of Natural History of the Petrified Forest of Lesbos. “It is a unique find,” he said. “[It] is preserved in excellent condition and from studying the fossilized wood we will be able to identify the type of plant it comes from…”

Illahee, Washington, USA Today, January 26, 2021: A 410-year-old Pacific Yew tree, possibly oldest of its kind in US, falls in Washington state: ‘It was its time’

The reign of a contender for the title of oldest Pacific Yew tree in the United States has come to an end. The yew’s gnarled, bubbly bark and green limbs — celebrated for decades with an exhibit and fencing at Illahee State Park in Washington state — finally came crashing down one day in late December. “It was its time,” said David Cass, agency forester for Washington State Parks. “It was rotten in the middle of the tree and had decayed quite a bit.” Arborists had dated the tree’s beginnings as a seed to around the year 1610, the same time Galileo Galilei was first observing the moons of Jupiter. Jim Trainer, a longtime arborist sometimes referred to as “Kitsap’s Johnny Appleseed,” wrote in the Kitsap Sun of the USA TODAY Network that it was likely the oldest Pacific Yew in the U.S. While old, it was not necessary that big. “This tree is a small and slow grower in the understory of our Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock forests. The tree very rarely grows any higher than 50 feet,” Trainer wrote in 2005. State Park Ranger Kenan Murray, who oversees the park, began to notice this fall that, inch by inch, the trunk of the tree was beginning to separate. “It was obvious that it was starting to fall over,” he said…

London, UK, BBC, January 25, 2021: Scientists address myths over large-scale tree planting

Scientists have proposed 10 golden rules for tree-planting, which they say must be a top priority for all nations this decade. Tree planting is a brilliant solution to tackle climate change and protect biodiversity, but the wrong tree in the wrong place can do more harm than good, say experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The rules include protecting existing forests first and involving locals. Forests are essential to life on Earth. They provide a home to three-quarters of the world’s plants and animals, soak up carbon dioxide, and provide food, fuels and medicines. But they’re fast disappearing; an area about the size of Denmark of pristine tropical forest is lost every year. “Planting the right trees in the right place must be a top priority for all nations as we face a crucial decade for ensuring the future of our planet,” said Dr Paul Smith, a researcher on the study and secretary general of conservation charity Botanic Gardens International in Kew… However, planting trees is highly complex, with no universal easy solution. “If you plant the wrong trees in the wrong place you could be doing more harm than good,” said lead researcher Dr Kate Hardwick of RBG Kew…

Fast Company, January 26, 2021: Map: Here’s where we could plant 68 billion trees in the U.S.

The U.S. was once covered in around 1 billion acres of forest. While much of that land has been developed, a recent study led by the Nature Conservancy found that there are still as many as 127 million acres of former forestland in the lower 48 states—an area about twice the size of Oregon—that could feasibly be reforested. In that space, we could plant 68 billion trees, which could capture more than 300 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, roughly as much as the pollution from 67 million cars. A new tool based on the study, called the Reforestation Hub, maps out exactly where reforestation could happen in each state, county by county. The map, created by the Nature Conservancy and American Forests, doesn’t include most urban land or farmland, or areas that were originally different types of ecosystems, such as grasslands. But in a variety of other areas—including pastures, some protected federal land, places that burned in wildfires or that flood frequently, and some urban spaces, like grass-covered parks or concrete schoolyards—there’s an opportunity to bring back trees. Some of the largest opportunities are in the Midwest and Southeast. Missouri, for example, has 8.7 million acres that could potentially be reforested, and Kentucky has nearly 6 million. Both states have large amounts of pasture, some of which could be put to different use if consumers buy less meat and dairy, if meat production becomes more efficient, or if more trees can be added into current pasture. Kentucky’s aptly named Barren County, for example, has around 146,000 acres of pasture that could be reforested, capturing around 237,000 metric tons of CO2 each year…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, January 25, 2021: Expose root flares to keep your trees healthy

The largest and most healthy trees in the world have dramatically exposed root flares. Why is the proper exposure of the base of a tree so important? Of all the questions I get about insect issues, diseases, damage by sapsuckers, mistletoe, galls and other tree concerns, the most common cause is the tree being too deep in the ground. The best (and almost always effective) solution is the removal of stuff that is covering the base of the tree — exposing the flare. The reason this so important is that exposing flares allows them to breathe properly. Stress-free trees have a built-in power to protect and/or heal themselves. Exposing the base, root flare, trunk flare or simply flare (all these terms are fine) is the most important step of the Sick Tree Treatment procedure. Almost all trees and other woody plants have been planted too deeply by the growers, aren’t uncovered by the nurseries, get planted too low by landscapers and homeowners, and then have too much mulch added on top. The result is buried flares and stressed trees. Tree flares are transition zones, but they’re more a part of the trunk than the root system. When flares are covered with soil, mulch or anything else, they stay overly moist and don’t breathe properly, and tree health suffers. Pests can detect that, and then they attack. That’s their job. When the soil is removed from the flare, you can almost hear a sigh of relief from the tree, and it starts growing better while shedding pests…

USA Today, January 23, 2021: Yosemite National Park remains closed after wind storm knocked down trees, caused millions of dollars in damage

Yosemite National Park will remain closed at least until early next week following a pwerful windstorm Tuesday that toppled trees and caused millions of dollars in damage to vehicles, homes and park facilities. No injuries were reported as a result of the “Mono” wind event, which swept across the region in east-central California last week and caused widespread power outages. The “high wind event” left “downed trees, debris and damage to park facilities,” Yosemite officials tweeted Tuesday. Later that day, the park said it was assessing damage assessments, clearing trees and repairing facilities. The park, which tweeted pictures of trees that had fallen on homes and trucks, is tentatively set to open Tuesday. Among the trees knocked down were two giant sequoias, Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman told the Sacramento Bee. He estimated damage to facilities, employee homes and vehicles in the millions of dollars, with the park’s Wawana community hit hardest. The event was the biggest in terms of wind speed and damage in at least 25 years, Gediman said…

Camarillo, California, Ventura County Star, January 23, 2021: Eco-tip: Bare root tree planting celebrates birthday of the trees, but beware of ‘taxes’

In the ancient world, one of the many ways kings taxed their subjects was based on the harvest of their subjects’ trees. According to a website sponsored by Ithaka, which describes itself as “a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community…”, sometimes these taxes were comically complicated. For example, since likely crop yields in ancient Egypt depended on annual flooding of the Nile River, taxes required three tax collectors and two assessment periods. Before the floods, officials calculated taxes based on predicted flood heights. After each flood, three assessors refined the tax by holding cords, stretching the cords, and recording by the number of cord lengths the extent of cropland watered. These experts then calculated as a tax 10% of the expected harvest. Ancient commentary on biblical injunctions shows similar procedures elsewhere. The Jewish holiday of Tu BiShvat, linked to the lunar calendar but celebrated this year on Thursday, commemorates the “birthday” of the trees, a demarcation enacted partly for an ancient tax…

Singularity Hub, January 24, 2021: No Trees Harmed: MIT Aims to One Day Grow Your Kitchen Table in a Lab

You’ve likely heard the buzz around lab-grown (or cultured) meat. We can now take a few cells from a live animal and grow those cells into a piece of meat. The process is kinder to animals, consumes fewer resources, and has less environmental impact. MIT researchers will soon publish a paper describing a proof-of-concept for lab-grown plant tissues, like wood and fiber, using a similar approach. The research is early, but it’s a big vision. The idea is to grow instead of build some products made of biomaterials. Consider your average wooden table. Over the years, a tree (or trees) converted sunlight, minerals, and water into leaves, wood, bark, and seeds. When it reached a certain size, the tree was logged and transported to a sawmill to be made into lumber. The lumber was then transported to a factory or wood shop where it was cut, shaped, and fastened together. Now, imagine the whole process happening at the same time in the same location. That’s the futuristic idea at play here. Wood grown from only the cells you’re interested in (no seeds, leaves, bark, or roots) could be manipulated to produce desirable properties and grown directly into shapes (like a kitchen table). Fewer 18-wheelers and power tools. No fuss, no muss…

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, January 22, 2021: Keep on planting: Put in a native tree this winter to increase biodiversity

I live in a grove of large stately live oaks. Only one is technically on our property; the grove continues across the road and in adjacent yards, even down the road a piece. We are also blessed with some large pines, though we have lost a few to lightning strikes. We are on a slope that runs down towards a drainage way that used to be a creek. I imagine this was originally a mature mixed pine/hardwood forest, and eventually pasture, with well distributed live oaks and pines until time of development in the 1960s. We are not trying to restore what used to be here, but our goal has been to diversify the native tree species in our yard for the benefit of wildlife. When the rose-of-Sharon tree planted by previous owners was declining due to old age, we replaced it with a blue beech, a native tree with pretty fall color, gorgeous muscle-like bark, and unique seed structures. In addition, native caterpillars utilize its leaves which are then eaten by birds, lizards, spiders, and others…

Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer, January 21, 2021: Customs seizes mislabeled shipment of 21 small trees from China in Cincinnati

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Cincinnati say they recently seized a deliberately mislabeled shipment of 21 small trees from China. Likely intended to become Bonsai trees, they were labeled as a bracket, a vacuum pump and a pamphlet in a shipment purportedly from an electronics company in Shenzhen, China, headed to an individual in Brooklyn, New York, a customs news release said. “Specialists noted the trees were layered with various coverings – fabric padding, black plastic, bubble wrap, and, finally, tightly bound with colored tape – presumably as an effort to circumvent inspection,” the release said. The trees did not have a certificate from China attesting to the health of the trees as required for their importation, the release said, and were destroyed by customs officials…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, January 21, 2021: Boston scraps plans for Melnea Cass Boulevard following uproar over potential removal of trees

Boston officials have discarded a plan to revamp Melnea Cass Boulevard in Roxbury following last year’s community uproar over a proposal to remove scores of trees that line the roadway. In a Thursday letter to the community, city officials said they remain committed to crafting a new plan to make the road safer, enhance its open space, and increase “resilience in an area prone to flooding.” “We are confident that this process will realize a final design that reflects the aspirations and needs of the communities abutting the corridor,” read the letter, which was signed by Chris Cook, the city’s environment chief, Karilyn Crockett, the city’s equity chief, and Chris Osgood, the city’s streets chief. The city’s decision came as welcome news to Tomiqua Williams, a community activist who said she wanted the area to be kept “as green as possible,” something that would help residents’ mental health. “That’s awesome that they’re listening to the community,” Williams said…

Spokane, Washington, The Spokesman-Review, January 21, 2021: Gardening: Late-blooming apricot tree varieties suited for Spokane region

I love apricots! My favorite way to eat them is as apricot pineapple jam. The sweet apricot blends beautifully with the tangy pineapple, especially on a piece of homemade bread. Unfortunately, apricots aren’t the easiest tree to grow in our region. They often bloom very early in the spring and get hit by frost which kills the flower. Take heart though, with careful variety selection, you can assure yourself of a good harvest most years. The key to selecting the right variety is to look for ones that bloom later than other apricots. Normally, apricots bloom at the end of April. Late-blooming varieties bloom closer to mid-May, a timeframe that can avoid the last of the killing frosts. Another characteristic to watch for is whether the variety is self-fertile or needs another apricot variety nearby to cross pollinate with. Here are a few late blooming varieties to look for. All are hardy to USDA Zone 4 and all are late bloomers. Canadian White Blenheim, as its name indicates, was developed in Canada, which is much colder than Spokane with later springs. This tree is partially self-pollinating, so it needs to be planted with another late blooming variety for a heavy crop. Any of the varieties listed below will work. The challenge is whether you have room for two trees in your garden. If fully pollinated, the tree bears a heavy crop in late summer and has gold orange skin around firm, sweet white flesh. The fruit can be eaten fresh, canned, dried or made into jam…

Wellesley, Massachusetts, Wicked Local, January 21, 2021: Real Estate Advice: Trying to save a screen of trees

Q: The association board in my condominium complex is planning to cut down a bunch of trees behind my unit. The trees are not especially pretty trees, but they do provide me with a lot of privacy and shade, and do not present any danger to the building. Since this decision mainly affects me, is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?
A: Before I discuss the recourse part of your question, have you talked to the board to find out why they are taking down the trees? Are the trees infected with something? Are they hosting pests of some sort? Also, is the board planning to replace the trees with some other type of trees, bushes, landscaping, etc., or just planning on leaving the area clear? If they are planning on replacing the trees with another type of tree, it might work out all right for you. Whatever the reason the board has decided to take down the trees, it should be noted that condo association boards, in general, have wide latitude in governing the association. But just because board members have broad authority to handle the affairs of the association does not mean that they are infallible or always make the best decision. Sometimes they make poor decisions…

Portland, Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting, January 21, 2021: Whither Eastside Screens? New guidelines allow cutting larger trees east of the Cascades

New federal guidelines allow cutting large trees that have been off-limits to logging for nearly three decades across 8 million acres of Eastern Oregon. The U.S. Forest Service last week approved amendments to what’s known as the Eastside Screens, a plan to manage old-growth forests, rivers and streams, wildlife habitat, and more for six national forests east of the Cascades. The amendments do away with the “21-inch rule,” which prohibited cutting trees larger than 21 inches in diameter and safeguarded many of the oldest trees. Rob Klavins, Northeast field coordinator for the conservation group Oregon Wild, said axing the rule removes “the only real meaningful protections for old-growth forests in Eastern Oregon.” “The logging lobby has been trying to kill old-growth protections for 25 years,” he said. “And the Trump administration just gave them what they wanted.” The Forest Service made its decision in the name of wildfire preparedness. Decades of aggressive fire suppression has left many Northwest forests overgrown with hazardous fuel. Ochoco National Forest supervisor Shane Jeffries said the 21-inch rule made it difficult to remove fire-prone species like grand fir and white fir without a lengthy regulatory process…

Entomology Today, January 20, 2021: The Warmer the Better: Gloomy Scale Can Be a Big Problem on Urban Landscape Trees

Few would dispute that scale insects are not exactly the “charismatic megafauna” of the insect world: They’re small, largely immobile, and often go unnoticed by the untrained eye. These insects feed by tapping their long mouthparts down into cells to extract plant fluids. Many different species of scale are common on trees, both in natural and more managed areas. In most cases—especially in natural areas—scales do little to no measurable damage. However, trees in urban landscapes are particularly susceptible to injury from scale insects for a variety of factors. To learn more about the implications of gloomy scale (Melanaspis tenebricosa), I spoke to the authors of a new article published in December in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management that highlights the ecology and management of this pest on landscape trees. Michael G. Just, Ph.D., now a research ecologist at the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center, is lead author on the paper and conducted research on gloomy scale while a postdoctoral research fellow at North Carolina State University (NCSU)…
Q: There are a lot of scale species. What makes gloomy scale stand out from the others?
A: The fact that they don’t stand out. I mean, they can be pretty hard to detect on red maples, as they are a similar color to the host’s bark and they don’t move much. (Female adults do not move at all). Also, when compared to some other insect pests, they are not very flashy when it comes to tree damage. They will not denude a canopy in a single season. Instead, they are a chronic pest and it takes some time before host damage is easily spotted. They are also notable because after being described as one of the most important enemies of shade trees in North Carolina, there was a pause on gloomy scale research for almost a hundred years…

Everett, Washington, Herald, January 20, 2021: Madrone tree to make way for bigger McDonald’s in Oak Harbor

An Oak Harbor woman had hoped to save a large Pacific madrone tree that is slated be cut down to accommodate planned demolition and expansion of the city’s McDonald’s restaurant. Despite being named a Tree City USA by The Arbor Foundation for the 17th year in a row, the City of Oak Harbor has no special protection in place for the native tree species, Arbutus menziesii, commonly referred to as the madrona. Carol Johnston works as a dental hygienist in a building next to McDonald’s and has watched the tree grow for the last 14 years. “I love this tree. It’s probably the biggest in Oak Harbor,” Johnston said, referring to the madrone. The large, orange-skinned madrone tree is next to the drive-thru line. Johnston can see it from her window and noted that many patients comment on its beauty when they come in for a cleaning. The multi-trunk tree is likely between 25-30 feet tall and has a diameter of more than 12 inches…

Mountain Home, Arkansas, Baxter Bulletin, January 20, 2021: Almost time to prune fruit trees

Fruit trees should be pruned every year just before the beginning of active growth to maintain their health, encourage balanced growth and productivity, and control their size and shape. When you plant a fruit tree, you should be dedicated to giving the tree proper care and pruning to maximize both fruit quality and quantity throughout the life of the tree. Understanding the principles of pruning and practicing them are important. The objectives of tree pruning are (1) to develop strong tree structure: This should begin when trees are planted and continue each year thereafter; (2) provide for light penetration: Good light quality throughout the tree increases fruit bud development for following years and increases the quality of the current crop; (3) control tree size: Most fruit trees require pruning to control branch spread as well as tree height. This also serves to encourage new growth that will result in new fruit-bearing areas; (4) remove damaged wood: Some wood damage occurs almost every year from such things as wind damage, fruit weight, winter injury and disease and insects…

Moraga, California, Lamorinda Weekly, January 20, 2021: Thousands of dead trees pose extreme fire risk in Lamorinda

You do not have to drive very far in Lamorinda before you see dead or dying trees. “I removed thousands of dead trees in Lamorinda last year,” said Brian Gates of Expert Tree Service in Orinda. “By summer, there will be thousands more.” And that is precisely what officials of the Moraga-Orinda Fire District fear: That thousands of dead trees, particularly Monterey pines, will mar the district landscape, adding yet another hazard to a potentially catastrophic fire season ahead. The problem of dead and dying trees is not restricted to the summer. Tom Smith of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection toured the Northern California region in December, stunned at the number of sick and dying bay laurel and Monterey pine trees. “There is a lot of death and destruction here,” he said. Residents of Moraga and Orinda have recently reported hundreds of these dead trees to the fire district. “There was enough of an uptick that we took notice,” said MOFD Fire Marshal Jeff Isaacs, who plans to ramp up enforcement of tree removal this year. “Dead trees equal dead fuel. Even a healthy Monterey pine drops a lot of material, and it can land on a roof. When Monterey pines are dying, it’s dead fuel dropping.” Adding to the nuisance value of Monterey pine trees, the U.S. Forest Service says that Monterey pine wood is light, soft, and coarse grained, with little commercial value in the United States except as fuel wood…

American Association for the Advancement of Science, January 19, 2021: Aphids suck: Invasive aphid found on Danish apple trees

The spirea aphid, Aphis spiraecola, an invasive pest, has been discovered for the first time in Denmark by University of Copenhagen researchers. The extent of its current distribution remains unknown, but in time, it could prove to be a troublesome pest for Danish apple growers. Whether the discovery of this aphid in Denmark is an isolated incident, or if the species has made itself at home due to a milder climate, remains unknown to the researchers. Closer investigation is needed. In a collaboration with colleagues at the University of Budapest, University of Copenhagen researchers have analysed and compared a number of samples of green aphids from apples around the world and discovered a new apple-loving pest in Denmark. The bright greenish yellow spirea aphid–Aphis spiraecola– which most likely originates in East Asia, has gradually become a widespread pest in tropical and temperate regions around the planet. While it is especially problematic for citrus and apple trees, it can attack many other plant species. The aphid has been in the United States for the last 100 years and was discovered in Mediterranean countries in 1939. However, the spirea aphid has never been witnessed in the Nordic countries before…

Coastal News Today, January 19, 2021: Houston’s Newest Heroes Are Native ‘Super Trees’ With Special Eco-Powers

Deer and bobcat have left tracks in the mud. Coyotes have dropped furry scat. Hawks soar overhead.The Port of Houston built the berm, a 2.6-mile-long, 20-foot-high ridge that curves from about Texas 146 to Galveston Bay, to buffer the communities of Seabrook and Jardin del Mar and preserve nearby natural areas from the sights and sounds of its busy Bayport Container Terminal. A massive land development is now under construction on the terminal side. But wildlife sights and sounds appear to be increasing, too. The berm sits along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, an important stop for migrating and overwintering birds. Before heavy industry arrived, the whole area was a wildlife paradise. Patches of it still are. Armand Bayou Nature Center is nearby, and other surprisingly lush pockets of undisturbed marshland and woods lie between the berm and Galveston Bay.It isn’t so obvious yet, but volunteers have planted about 2,500 native tree saplings on the berm since July. And that number will double by the end of March, says Deborah January-Bevers, the president and CEO of Houston Wilderness, a nonprofit founded in 2002 to support and coordinate the work of many partners who want to preserve and promote the 10 diverse eco-regions that lie within the Houston metro region’s 13 counties…

Dublin, Ireland, The Independent, January 20, 2021: The Scots Pine is a native Irish conifer tree

The Scots Pine grows widely throughout Europe and Asia. Its distribution range extends eastwards from western Europe to the eastern extremity of Russia, northwards to Scandinavia and southwards to the chain of mountains stretching from the Pyrenees and Alps to the Balkans in central Bulgaria. Where the tree thrives, it often forms dense forests, an outstanding example being the old Caledonian pine forest of the Scottish Highlands where the species is the dominant tree; hence its name and its special link to Scotland. Pines are a family of evergreen trees distinguished by their scaly buds, the structure of their cones and the way their needle-like leaves are borne spirally. The number of needles is always two, three or five. Scot’s Pine is a two-needle species. It used to be believed that Scots Pine was not native to Ireland and that our pine trees were all imported from Scotland. From research carried out by scientists based in Trinity College Dublin we now know that that Scots Pine is native to Ireland and was living here thousands of years before the any trees were imported from Scotland…

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune, January 18, 2021: Arbor Day: Plant trees for the environment and the senses

Events to observe Arbor Day are under way in St. Tammany Parish, with more than 1,000 tree seedlings expected to be distributed and planted this year. Arbor Day began in 1872 and has continued as an annual project that encourages people to plant trees. It is held during the optimal planting season, which varies across the country. In Louisiana, Arbor Day is observed the third Friday in January. Catherine Casanova, arborist and landscape inspector with the city of Mandeville, agreed that now is the time to plant trees. “When it’s so cold outside you don’t know if you can dig a hole,” it is time, she said. “We want people to take a tree and plant a tree wherever you can.” Mandeville, Covington and Slidell are among 12 designated as a Tree City by the National Arbor Day Foundation. Tree giveaways are held annually in each location, and more than 400 bare root seedlings have already been distributed during a drive-thru at Fritchie Park…

Flagstaff, Arizona, Associated Press, January 18, 2021: Predicted Arizona dry year could impact trees, cause fires

Experts have predicted another dry year for Arizona following 2020, when the driest year on record stressed forests across the state’s northern region. The dry conditions could have significant impacts on the health of trees and increase wildfire danger, Arizona Daily Sun reported Saturday. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported Flagstaff experienced only 9.56 inches (24 centimeters) of precipitation in 2020. Coconino County, which reaches to the northern border with Utah and includes Grand Canyon National Park, experienced what was termed an exceptional drought. Ponderosa pine forests across northern Arizona are already stressed by overgrown forests and a warming climate. Adding drought can be “a little bit of a one-two punch,” said Andrew Sanchez Meador, executive director of the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University…

International Business Times, January 18, 2021: Oak Trees Take Root In Iraqi Kurdistan To Help Climate

Delband Rawanduzi spoke softly to her oak seedlings, as if willing them to grow fast and repopulate forests in Iraqi Kurdistan depleted by war, illegal logging and fires. Over the next five years, the 26-year-old aims to plant one million oaks — resilient trees that can endure both the cold of northern Iraq and the dry spells of one of the world’s hottest countries. Her plan is taking root in her native Kurdistan. In a pilot project late last year “we planted 2,000 oak trees. And in the upcoming autumn we will plant 80,000,” said Rawanduzi, a hiker and rock climber. She has mobilised visitors and shepherds who collect oak seeds from the mountains, which are then planted in two greenhouses donated by a private university in the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil. Once the young seedlings grow into a saplings, they are re-planted in mountain areas selected by the Kurdish agriculture ministry…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Advocate, January 18, 2021: Lichens can be a sign a tree or shrub is stressed

Now that the majority of our deciduous plants have dropped their leaves, you may notice gray growths on the trunks of some trees and shrubs in your landscape. Most likely, these are lichens, which, while not harmful themselves, can be a sign a plant is being stressed. Lichens are rarely found on healthy, vigorous trees. But remember that lichens do not cause the problem; they just benefit from unfortunate situations. Because lichens photosynthesize, they prefer sunlight and moisture provided by trees that have suddenly lost leaves or branches. More light can reach the trunk surface where lichens have set up camp, encouraging them to grow. You can lightly prune damaged branches to stimulate new branch growth. This helps establish a fuller canopy. Try to identify and address stressors such as drought, poor drainage, plant competition, root stress, soil compaction, poor nutrition and improper soil pH. Insects and diseases as well as injury from trimmers, poor planting techniques and chemical injury from herbicides also can cause plants to decline…

Los Angeles, California, Times, January 17, 2021: Consortium wants to cut down L.A. County Arboretum trees to make room for storm water treatment

Officials at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden are in an uproar over a plan to manage storm water and boost climate resiliency by cutting down “specimen trees” — some 70 years old and more than 100 feet tall — to make room for groundwater recharge ponds and a pump station. The strategy was crafted by a consortium of five foothill cities and Los Angeles County Public Works. They believe a portion of the 127-acre paradise of flowering trees and shrubs in Arcadia, which draws more than 500,000 visitors each year, is conveniently located to capture, clean and store storm water pumped out of the nearby Arcadia Wash. Construction of the facility that would consume up to 4 acres of the arboretum’s Australia section could begin within a year or two, according to the group, which comprises the cities of Arcadia, Bradbury, Duarte, Monrovia and Sierra Madre, plus the county. In the meantime, opponents led by executives of the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1947 to raise financial support for the botanic garden, are sounding the alarm…

Springfield, Massachusetts, Masslive, January 19, 2021: Springfield police asked the city to cut back trees; lawyers claim it sabotaged a drug suspect’s defense

Terrence D. Gaskins and his lawyer Lisa J. Steele contend the police department’s request for the city forester to trim trees on Fort Pleasant Avenue — one day after the court ordered police to arrange a site visit for the defense team — amounted to the “destruction of exculpatory evidence” that could have been favorable to Gaskins’ defense at trial. Springfield police spokesman Ryan Walsh said the allegations are empty, and that the department’s request to trim the trees had nothing to do with Gaskins’ case. The tree work was done, he said, to improve visibility after a surveillance camera was installed in response to a string of shootings. Attorneys for Gaskins have made the argument twice before, and it has been rejected both times. Once was at Gaskins’ May 2019 jury trial, where he was found guilty and sentenced to two years in jail. The trial judge at the time expressed doubts about the timing of the police request and whether it was coincidental, but allowed the case to continue. The other time was last month, when the state Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict and rejected Gaskins’ bid to have it tossed out…

Chicago, Illinois, WBBM-TV, January 16, 2021: 311 Calls To Trim Dangerous Trees Are Being Marked ‘Completed,’ Sometimes With Claims There’s ‘No Tree’

We’ve reported on stories across the city of 311 requests being marked completed before the job was done – from trash cleanup to an abandoned car. Now, as CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas reported, a South Side alderman says the same thing has been happening in his ward with tree-trimming requests. “These are the ones that keep falling off,” said Selene Arroyo as she showed us branches on a tree. And Arroyo knows money doesn’t grow on trees. “I can’t spend my savings on unnecessary things,” she said. She said the tree at 56th Street and Hoyne Avenue in West Englewood is costing her money. “I have called several times because the branches keep falling,” Arroyo said. “They’ve actually broken two of my windshields already, and an antenna. Records from 311 show a June 10 tree-trimming request at Arroyo’s address. In November, the request was marked “completed” in 311, but she said no one ever trimmed the tree. In fact, a city worker even noted “no tree.” Arroyo wishes that were true…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, January 15, 2021: Maine wants to pay landowners to fight climate change with their trees

Denis Gallaudet is a retired banker, so he knows the value of things. Take, for example, his trees. There is value in the carbon that his 25-acre woodlot in the town of Cumberland sucks out of the atmosphere and converts into lengthening branches and thickening trunks. That’s because large companies, including Amazon and Disney, are willing to pay landowners for tree growth in order to offset their own carbon emissions. But Gallaudet, a member of Sierra Club Maine, can’t sell his carbon because it’s not financially feasible. The markets where sequestered carbon are bought and sold, including California’s “cap and trade” market, are only available to forest landowners with tens of thousands of acres, due to the high costs of quantifying and verifying projected carbon sequestration in trees. That could soon change. A variety of groups are ramping up efforts to open up the multi-billion dollar carbon offset market to small forest landowners. They want their efforts to financially boost small landowners while also enlisting more corporate polluters to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change on the nation’s most forested state…

London, UK, The Guardian, January 15, 2021, One, two, tree: how AI helped find millions of trees in the Sahara

When a team of international scientists set out to count every tree in a large swathe of west Africa using AI, satellite images and one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, their expectations were modest. Previously, the area had registered as having little or no tree cover. The biggest surprise, says Martin Brandt, assistant professor of geography at the University of Copenhagen, is that the part of the Sahara that the study covered, roughly 10%, “where no one would expect to find many trees”, actually had “quite a few hundred million”. Trees are crucial to our long-term survival, as they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global heating. But we still do not know how many there are. Much of the Earth is inaccessible either because of war, ownership or geography. Now scientists, researchers and campaigners have a raft of more sophisticated resources to monitor the number of trees on the planet. Satellite imagery has become the biggest tool for counting the world’s trees, but while forested areas are relatively easy to spot from space, the trees that aren’t neatly gathered in thick green clumps are overlooked. Which is why assessments so far have been, says Brandt, “extremely far away from the real numbers. They were based on interpolations, estimations and projections…”

Berkeley, California, Berkeleyside, January 14, 2021: UC Berkeley removes hundreds of trees in the Oakland hills to ensure fire evacuation route

John Radke is a UC Berkeley associate professor who specializes in fire modeling. As part of his coursework, he likes to lead students into the winding thickets of Claremont Canyon in the Oakland hills, where the underbrush can reach chest-high, to show them the likely site of one of the next major East Bay fires. “I was up there one day in the fall and you could hear the leaves cracking they were so dry,” Radke said. “Going in, my students said they were doing great – this is wonderful, we’re out in nature. Then after describing how the fire would burn, I asked them, ‘How do you guys feel?’ They said, ‘We can’t wait to get out of here. Because it’s a fire trap.’” The funneled geography of the canyon and the vegetation that grows in it – vegetation that’s becoming drier each year in our warming climate – creates a natural chimney that’d be devastating in a fire. Winds blowing from the west would drive heat and radiation upslope in a ferocious purge. In Diablo conditions, with gusts surging over the ridge from the east, flames would pour downslope wiping out vegetation and homes – similar to what happened with the destructive 2018 Woolsey Fire in the L.A. region…

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, January 14, 2021, Diagnosing why some fruit trees produce inconsistently

Lately I have received quite a few inquiries about inconsistent fruit production in citrus and other fruit-bearing trees. Why does a fruit tree produce so much one year, then hardly anything the next year? This phenomenon is called “alternate-year bearing” and is common to almost all fruit and nut trees. Tree branches have spurs, little twig-like growths that can produce either flowers/fruit or leaves. Not surprisingly, it takes much less energy to produce leaves than fruit. If the tree has undergone some sort of stress, it will reduce its fruit production in favor of leaf production. This stress could be environmental (drought, extreme heat, frost), pest or disease, or improper pruning. When a tree is happy and healthy (not stressed), its leaves produce plenty of sugars that are stored in the branch wood near the spurs. These sugars are used to fuel blossom and fruit production the following spring. Improper pruning can remove these food stores and result in diminished fruit production…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, January 12, 2021: Bangor neighborhood complaint against Versant Power dismissed after tree-trimming

Maine’s Public Utilities Commission has dismissed a complaint against Versant Power from 13 residents of Bangor’s Fairmount neighborhood, though the commission found the complaint about power reliability in the neighborhood had merit. The complaint, sent Oct. 31, 2020, alleged that Bangor’s Fairmount neighborhood had experienced an unreasonable number of long-lasting power outages, and that the outages had grown worse over the last five years. There were at least three multi-hour or multi-day outages in large swaths of Fairmount in 2020, with other, smaller outages occurring in smaller areas of the neighborhood. The Fairmount neighborhood is roughly the area between Third Street, Union Street and interstates 95 and 395. Versant in October 2020 blamed the neighborhood’s high prevalence of tall, old trees situated near power lines. When a branch from one of those trees falls, it can knock out power to multiple streets, or even the entire neighborhood. Though Versant had already done work to improve reliability in the neighborhood, including moving most of the neighborhood off an old substation on Webster Avenue and onto a more reliable one in Hampden, outcry from residents on social media appears to have prompted an extensive tree-trimming effort by Versant last year…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, January 13, 2021: ‘For our environment’ Branford tree planting helps offset carbon emissions

The town Community Forest Commission and Department of Public Works planted 55 trees on town property in 2020, helping to offset carbon emissions and preserve the environment, said Patrick Sweeney of the Community Forest and Conservation and Environment Commissions. Over their predicted lifetime, this year’s planting will sequester 422 tons of carbon, Sweeney said — equivalent to the carbon produced by more than 80 typical passenger vehicles in a single year. The town sets a goal to plant about 50 trees on town property each year. In 2020, it exceeded that goal, Sweeney said. “Planting new native trees and ensuring the well-being of those we already have is one of the most important things that the town can do for our environment and the health of our residents,” Sweeney said in a release…

Dallas, Texas, KXAS-TV, January 11, 2021: McKinney Resident Tries to Dispose of Christmas Tree in Fireplace

The City of McKinney is reminding residents to properly dispose of their Christmas trees after a fire damaged a McKinney home on Saturday. According to the McKinney Fire Department, officials responded to a call about a structure fire in the 4400 block of Rancho Del Norte Trail. Officials said firefighters arrived to find that a Christmas tree had been placed into a home fireplace. Only the top of the tree was in the fire, so the flames traveled down the tree and out of the fireplace, officials said. According to the McKinney Fire Department, the fire was quickly extinguished after firefighters arrived. The damage was limited to the area right around the fireplace, and one person was treated for minor smoke inhalation at the scene, officials said…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Advocate, January 11, 2021: Now is the time to plant a tree

Consider this Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” That is especially true in Louisiana. Planting during December, January and February provides plants with several months to develop a strong root system before they put out a new flush of leaves and flowers in spring. Nurseries are bringing in woody trees and shrubs to plant now. Tropical plants will be available later in the warmer season when they are less likely damage by colder temperatures. The National Arbor Day Foundation has started the “Time for Trees” initiative to highlight how “trees clean our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy communities and feed the human soul.” Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872 in Nebraska City, Nebraska, where an estimated 1 million trees were planted, Arbor Day is celebrated every year. While much of the country celebrates Arbor Day on April 30, the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens, 4560 Essen Lane, will hold its annual Arbor Day event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 23. Free and open to the public, the event will feature educational talks on native trees given by experts from the LSU AgCenter. You can plant a tree while there and get GPS coordinates so you can come back and visit “your” tree and watch it grow for generations to come…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, January 10, 2021: Lucerne camp replants trees after cutting dozens from the wrong property

A summer camp on Phillips Lake has reached a deal so it can move forward with adding an overnight cabin, roofed pavilion and trail network to its 28-acre lakefront property in the Village of Lucerne. Camp CaPella, the Village of Lucerne and the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust finalized the agreement this past fall after the camp, which serves children and adults with disabilities, mistakenly cut dozens of trees and installed power poles on land owned by Lucerne in 2019. The Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust has a development easement on and manages the land where the trees were cut down. The poles, erected to provide electricity to a parking area where the camp planned to build two cabins, have since been moved onto camp property. And a licensed forester last year planted more than 80 trees on village property, said Ann Fossett, chair of Lucerne’s board of overseers. The trees were also watered to ensure they survived the drought, she said. Lucerne is an incorporated village within the town of Dedham, approved by the Legislature in 1927, that has its own elected board of representatives — called overseers instead of selectmen — and its own development standards separate from the rest of the town…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, January 11, 2021: GoFundMe campaign for vandalized cherry blossom trees in SF’s Japantown raises over $22k in one day

A GoFundMe campaign created by the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California raised over $22,000 on Friday to replace two of its cherry blossom trees that were destroyed in an act of vandalism. Hundreds of donors flooded the campaign with contributions, more than quadrupling the center’s $5,000 goal in a single day. “The cherry blossom trees will bloom again,” read an update from the organization. “The Center would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of support during this time.” View the fundraiser here. For Paul Osaki, 2021 was supposed to symbolize a fresh start and a renewed sense of hope for his Japantown community. But as he looked down at what was left of the splintered cherry blossom trees planted on the sidewalk in front of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, all he could feel was pain. The branches on both of the historically significant trees on San Francisco’s Sutter Street had been hacked off entirely before their buds could bloom, leaving only their gnarled trunks behind. A staff member at the center was the first to discover the slashed trees early Tuesday morning, but after reviewing security footage found that the vandalism had taken place over a span of a few days…

Westchester, Pennsylvania Patch, January 11, 2021: Tree Removal Has Phoenixville’s Attention, Meeting Tonight

Phoenixville Borough’s Tree Advisory Committee meets tonight, even as residents post photos of tree removal happening along borough streets, some asking if all the trees qualify as “diseased.” The committee meets Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in a Zoom meeting. A citizens’ group called Phoenixville Legacy Trees has 35 members and is planning to attend the meeting to advocate for the “urban forest.” Phoenixville resident Lisa Longo is concerned that the borough’s Tree Ordinance. Longo told Patch she will not permit the borough to remove trees from her property. Barbara Sharp has been posting on social media photos of the trunks of trees left standing around her neighborhood. Sharp said, “Having lived with these magnificent oaks for 25 years as a Phoenixville homeowner, I do understand the problems involved —buckling sidewalks (responsibility of homeowner), pollen and sap damaging cars parked beneath, limbs falling and endless leaf raking…”

New Hampshire Public Radio, January 8, 2021: Do Trees Like Being Hugged?

An anonymous listener in Vermont asks: “I walk everyday and there are lots of trees in Vermont and I’m a tree hugger and I mean literally a tree hugger. And so I hug them and I always feel a sense of calm and I’m wondering if there’s anything that makes that happen? Do the trees notice when I hug them?” The first part of the question I think is fairly easy. Why might you feel calm while hugging a tree? It is likely for some of the same reasons that going outside generally make us feel calm. At this point there are heaps of studies about the mental benefits of being outside. A hypothesis for why that might be that has come into vogue in recent years is that attention is a limited resource and we’ve only got so much of it to expend each day. So being outside means “your attention is able to drift much more naturally, in a much more relaxed way from moment to moment,” explains science journalist Ferris Jabr. “You might be looking at the surface of a lake, watching the ripples, the leaves are falling from a tree, a bird flies by — and that can replenish our mental resources.” But on to the second part of the question, which is the real reason I reached out to Jabr…

Ft. Myers, Florida, News-Press, January 9, 2021: Lee County homeowners who lost citrus trees to Florida program to receive millions in payments

The checks are in the mail. Or almost in the mail, to compensate Lee County homeowners who lost their citrus trees to the state’s failed canker-fighting campaign 15 to 17 years ago. The checks are expected to go out Friday, following a long-drawn-out legal fight, said Robert Gilbert, a Coral Gables attorney who represents the homeowners. “We’re delighted to finally distribute payments to thousands of Lee County homeowners whose private property was taken long ago. While the legal journey was long and difficult, justice ultimately prevailed,” he said…

Santa Fe, New Mexico, New Mexican, January 10, 2021: Planting trees: What we need now

In cold and dark January, it is tempting — and encouraging — to think of planting, spring gardens, summer flowers and best of all, budding trees and leafy canopies overhead. To those making plans now, consider the benefits of trees. They are important not just for adding beauty to our world but to alleviating the impact of climate change. Planting during dormant season is best, which means now until mid-March is a prime time to put spade to dirt. It can make a difference in the common battle for climate change. A study published in the journal Science last July — “The global tree restoration potential” — found the Earth could support another 2.2 billion acres of forests. Planting another half-trillion trees, according to the authors, could reduce atmospheric carbon by about 25 percent. This is not an overnight fix, but it could buy time as the nations of the world reduce carbon emissions and take other steps to bring the globe back into balance. Now, take that global perspective and bring it home to New Mexico…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, January 10, 2021: Historic, 150-year-old Prospect Avenue elm tree removed

A little bit of Cleveland’s history is gone, after one of the city’s oldest trees was recently removed. An elm tree, which towered above historic row homes on Prospect Avenue, has been reduced to a stump. Jamie Miles, a Cleveland resident, learned about the tree’s removal in early January and took photos of the stump. Miles had last seen the tree standing about two months prior. The tree was at least 150 years old, estimated to be planted in 1868 as one of the earliest street-tree plantings in Cleveland along Euclid Avenue and Prospect, according to a June 11, 1986, article in The Plain Dealer…

Houston, Texas. Chronicle, January 10, 2021: Tips for turning seeds into trees

How exciting to think of a full-size tree locked up within each seed still clinging to the branches of sugar maples, hornbeams, oaks, sycamores and other trees at the end of summer. It was with such visions that I dropped an apple seed into some potting soil in an 8-inch clay flowerpot one autumn day years ago. I wish I could write that the seed has now been transformed into a majestic tree. But no, the seed germinated, started to grow, then stalled at about 4 inches high. The reason for the lack of growth was that apple seeds, like the seeds of many other trees native to cold climates, need pre-treatment before they will germinate or grow well. I was lucky the seed germinated at all! Since then, I’ve learned the tricks of growing trees from seeds. If an apple or maple seed grew as soon as it touched ground in late summer or early fall, the life of the tender young seedlings would be short indeed, snuffed out with the first frost. So most tree seeds that ripen in fall are able to stay dormant until they’re convinced that winter is over…

Science, January 7, 2021: Dismay greets end of U.S. effort to curb spread of tree-killing beetle

Later this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will formally admit defeat along one front of its battle against a devastating invasive insect. Starting 14 January, the agency will no longer regulate the movement of living ash trees or borer-infested wood within the United States. This quarantine has, for more than 10 years, formed the cornerstone of the federal government’s strategy for curbing the spread of the emerald ash borer, an iridescent green beetle that threatens to wipe out North America’s ash trees, an ecological linchpin of many forests. Instead, USDA plans to ramp up an effort to control the borer by releasing tiny wasps that parasitize and kill the beetles. The shift is controversial. Some scientists and environmental advocates agree that, after spending some $350 million over the past 2 decades to fight the ash borer, the government should redirect scarce resources to more promising strategies. But others argue the surrender is premature, and some states are vowing to maintain local controls on ash tree and wood movement. “I worry that this decision hastens the rate at which [ash] trees are threatened,” says Leigh Greenwood, a forest health specialist at the Nature Conservancy. “This is one layer of protection we’re taking away.” The emerald ash borer first gained notoriety in 2002, when ash trees in the Detroit area started mysteriously dying. After researchers identified the insect, which was accidentally imported from Asia, Michigan and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) imposed a quarantine that prohibited export of ash trees and wood from inside the infested zone. Biologists also began to set traps to monitor the spread of the beetle…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Herald, January 8, 2021: Removing dying and dead ash trees

I know there has been a lot of emphasis on the chemical treatment of ash trees for emerald ash borer but we now need to think about the dangerous task of removing dying and dead ash trees. These trees are a risk to our community safety. I know this is a major problem in the older section of Gretna where the houses are very close together and there is a large ash tree in the back yard. The wood properties in dying and dead ash trees from emerald ash borer is very different from healthy ash trees. Their failure is unpredictable. We know ash tree wood does split easier than most other trees, but the borer dries out these trees quickly and causes them to fail sooner than can be predicted. The tree just splits apart when it hits the ground. The removal of dying or street-side dead ash is one problem, but the other problem is that falling dead ash trees have killed people and damaged property. People have been killed by these trees as they walk or drive down the street in their cars. The trees have collapsed on houses and are a risk to arborists that are removing them…

Jackson, Michigan, Citizen-Patriot, January 7, 2021: Clark Lake family has to ‘start over from scratch’ after Christmas tree fire destroys house

Beth and Todd Snay are figuring out what to do next after a fire destroyed their Clark Lake house. They were home with their son Jonathon Snay, who serves in the Air Force, just before 11 p.m., Dec. 30 in the 9000 block of Vining Street when their dog started barking. Todd Snay looked over to see what was happening, Beth Snay said. “My husband … told me, ‘I noticed there was a fireball coming from the top part of the (Christmas) tree,’” Beth Snay said. “He started pulling me off the couch and yelling and screaming at our son who was upstairs.” Firefighters spent about five hours putting the fire out. The roof and second floor collapsed onto the first floor, covering the fire, making it difficult for crews to access the flames. An excavation company was called in to help uncover the layers, Columbia Township Fire Department Chief Scott Cota said previously. Beyond the family’s two dogs, they couldn’t get anything out of the house, including their cellphones, eldest daughter Jessica Kent said. She was at her own house when the fire started, but her family told her about the experience, including how the fire alarms didn’t go off. Kent knew they were operational. “I know they work because we baked cookies the week before and they went off just from baking cookies,” she said…

Sacramento, California, Bee, January 7, 2021: Vandals decimate historic cherry blossom trees at Japanese center, California group says

Vandals destroyed historic cherry blossom trees in front of a San Francisco Japanese community center, the group said Wednesday. Every branch was vandalized and broken off the trees until only the trunks remained, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California said. “This was not simply a passerby trying to break a branch off for fun,” Executive Director Paul Osaki said in the post. “Someone took their time breaking off every branch.” The branches were more than 3 feet thick and the trees were up to 15 feet high, Osaki said. No branches were left on any trees. “This was no easy task,” Osaki said. A similar incident happened two years ago when a third tree was vandalized, the group said. The tree was nearly destroyed then, too. The cherry blossom trees were planted in San Francisco’s Japantown in 1994 when the emperor and empress of Japan visited, according to the community center. Fifty years prior, the Redevelopment Agency in the city had uprooted every tree in Japantown, the group said…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, January 6, 2021: Iowa DNR plants 100,000 trees for state park centennial

To celebrate the 2020 centennial of the Iowa state park system, the Department of Natural Resources planted at least 100,000 trees, nearly triple the number planted in a typical year. The milestone planting commemorate not only the 100th anniversary of the state park system, but also the centennial of the National Association of State Foresters. Members of association participated in the 2020 Centennial Challenge to plant millions of trees across the United States. The native Iowa trees were supplied by the State Forest Nursery and planted in Iowa’s four state forests, dozens of wildlife management areas and 23 of its state parks, according to Emma Hanigan, urban forestry coordinator. Over the previous five years, she said, the department planted about 35,000 tree plantings each year. In addition to DNR funds, the plantings were aided by a grant from the Arbor Day Foundation. Hanigan estimated the grant covered the internal production costs of about 55,200 seedlings…

Wausau, Wisconsin, WAOW-TV, January 6, 2021: City of Wausau to remove all ash trees after ash borer sighting

Wausau Parks officials announced they’re planning to remove all ash trees in the city after emerald ash borers were found. The city plans to do this gradually over a period of about 12 to 15 years. They’ll remove a few trees at a time, keeping the rest protected with a treatment. Officials plan to replace the ash trees with other types of infection-resistant trees. “A tree that is infested with emerald ash borer larva becomes brittle and very hazardous within about four years,” said Andy Sims, city forester. “The scary part of that is, we don’t really know how long the borer’s been in a tree…”

Portland, Oregon, KGW-TV, January 6, 2021: Train cars moving lumber derail after hitting tree on tracks

A Union Pacific train carrying lumber derailed after hitting a large tree that had fallen on the tracks along Highway 99 between Canby and Oregon City, authorities said. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said three locomotives and 15 rail cars derailed at around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. The engineer of the train complained of pain, deputies said, but no one else was injured. None of the debris or rail cars blocked the highway, which was temporarily fully closed…

Huntsville, Alabama, WHNT-TV, January 4, 2021: Prompt removal of Christmas trees encouraged

It’s time to say goodbye to our Christmas trees. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) strongly encourages the removal of live Christmas trees sooner rather than later. According to the NFPA, almost one-third or 31% of U.S home fires that begin Christmas trees occur in January. The longer a live tree is kept in a home the more likely it is to become dry and catch fire. “All Christmas trees can burn, but a dried-out tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “In a year where many people began decorating their homes earlier than usual, trees have been in homes longer than usual, presenting an increased fire risk as the days go by.” The NFPA and U.S Forest Service both advise against burning your tree yourself in fireplaces or wood burning stoves. They instead recommend using community recycling programs…

Associated Press, January 5, 2021: Cornell to fell more than 1,700 ash trees infested by beetle

An invasive insect that kills ash trees is prompting Cornell University to fell 1,700 of the trees on its lands, a step it says will visibly alter the campus’s appearance. The trees infested by the emerald ash borer will be felled between January and the end of March and include trees on and off campus, the university said Dec. 22. The beetle, which bores under the tree’s bark, kills most infested ash trees within four years, creating a hazard. “This is a safety issue with trees that are dying or near death, and will eventually fall, so we are going to need to take them down in order to limit concerns about public safety and property damage,” said Todd Bittner, director of natural areas for Cornell Botanic Gardens…

Austin, Texas, KVUE-TV, January 5, 2021: Cedar fever: How much do you know about the trees that cause our sniffles and sneezes?

One can’t deny the scenic beauty of Austin. But lurking among the millions of trees that grace our city are some that many don’t appreciate this time of year: Ashe Junipers, also known as Mountain Cedar, whose pollen causes severe allergic reactions for many. Pollen literally explodes from the trees after a cold snap, with January seeing the greatest eruptions. But while they’re a familiar part of the Austin landscape, do you know much about these evergreens? Here are some fun facts: The Texas A&M Forest Service estimates that there are over 13 million of them. In fact, the Ashe Juniper makes up 39% of the estimated 33.8 million trees in Austin – the biggest category of trees in the city. They were here long before we arrived. Ashe Junipers first appeared during the Ice Age, which began around two-and-a-half million years ago…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania City Paper, January 5, 2021: Pittsburgh chosen as Reforestation Hub to increase its urban tree cover

Pittsburgh will work towards recovering some of its lost tree canopy with a new initiative through Cambium Carbon and the Arbor Day Foundation. In between 2011 and 2015, the city lost about 6% of its tree cover. Before losing tree canopy, Pittsburgh had one of the top percentages of urban tree cover of any city in the U.S. On Jan. 4, the city of Pittsburgh announced it was selected as one of four U.S. cities to receive a Reforestation Hub assessment. The program, developed by Cambium Carbon, a social impact venture focused on reforestation, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, includes the development of a pilot project geared toward “improving resource efficiency and carbon capture at the municipal level,” according to a press release. The ultimate goal will be to create a “circular urban forestry system” that will include programs like tree recycling to create economic opportunities from “healthy forests, restoration of public lands, and the recovery and expansion of the tree canopy.” Other chosen Reforestation Hub host cities include Denver, New York City, and Eugene, Ore…

Abilene, Texas, KTAB-TV, January 5, 2021: Prepping to avoid tree damage during ice storms

Texas doesn’t see many ice storms so if you’re unsure how to prepare you’re not alone. Chris Witulski owns the Abilene based tree removal service “A cut above” and he and his crew have been working almost non stop since new years day to clear the yards and rooftops in Abilene of fallen branches and dead trees. Today they worked at the home of George Jackson. A lakeside estate with more than its fair share of trees. Jackson describes new years night as sounding “Like a war” with branches falling on the roof and sliding into the yard. in all they lost over 6 branches and 2 whole trees due to the ice. Witulski says that damage on this scale can be prevented with proper tree care. “The best measures you can go through is kind of thinning them out and try do lessen the weight on your trees during the winter.” said Witulski. Checking your trees for overly brushy areas or all together dead branches should be a year round practice for land and home owners. To have 6 men come to the property for a day of work “A cut above” charges $2000 dollars which Witulski says is about average for a job like this so acting early and fast can save you both time and money…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, January 4, 2021: Candia stuck with $10K legal bill in court fight over crabapple tree

The town of Candia will have to pay nearly $10,000 in legal bills as part of an agreement with a couple who sued after the select board declared their crabapple tree a public nuisance. The tree at 14 Jane Drive will be spared, as long as it is properly pruned. Dustin and Jennifer Heiberg sued a year ago after town officials complained that branches were extending into the roadway and creating a hazard for passing vehicles. The Heibergs argued that the branches weren’t a problem and that town officials had singled out their tree and were harassing them. The couple also questioned whether the road was public. “I have lived in Candia for 10 years. The tree was here when I purchased the house. Only the town knows why they chose to single out and aggressively pursue one branch on one tree in a town that is 30 square miles,” Jennifer Heiberg said Monday. To date, the town has spent $9,923 on legal fees to fight the tree dispute, according to figures released Monday by Donna Becker, Candia’s payroll and accounting specialist. The town is still awaiting a legal bill from December…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WNCN-TV, January 4, 2021: Say goodbye to your Christmas tree due to fire hazard, fire officials say

Saying goodbye to your Christmas tree may not be easy, but due to concerns of natural trees igniting, the National Fire Protection Association is advising people to take them down after the holiday season. The association says nearly one-third (31 percent) of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occurs in January. “The longer a natural tree is kept up after Christmas, the more likely it is to dry out and ignite,” the association said in a press release. NFPA’s latest Christmas Tree Fires report, which reflects annual averages between 2014 and 2018, shows that 160 home structure fires began with Christmas trees, resulting in two civilian deaths, 14 civilian injuries, and $10.3 million in direct property damage. “All Christmas trees can burn, but a dried-out tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “In a year where many people began decorating their homes earlier than usual, trees have been in homes longer than usual, presenting an increased fire risk as the days go by…”

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, MV Times, January 4, 2021: Police investigate tree removal

Oak Bluffs police are investigating the illegal removal of a catalpa tree near Ocean Park on town property. Mark Crossland of Crossland Landscape, who maintains Ocean Park for the town, posted a photo of the tree stump on the Islanders Talk Facebook page asking anyone with information on who cut down the 35 foot Catalpa tree to contact him, the Oak Bluffs police, parks department, or highway department. Speaking to The Times by phone Monday ,Sgt. Dan Cassidy said police received a call from a witness on Sunday, who after seeing a post on Islander’s Talk from Mark Crossland, said they saw the tree being removed in the afternoon on New Year’s Day by a “white male in a long coat chopping the tree down with an ax” accompanied by a couple of other men. Cassidy said he has been in contact with homeowners in the area and tree companies. Also speaking to the Times by phone Monday, highway superintendent Richard Combra said the tree was “pretty old” and the parks department wanted to keep it…

Phys.org, January 4, 2021: New uses for dead ash, fir and tamarack trees could help restore Minnesota’s forests

One invasive beetle is ready to devour just about every ash tree left in Minnesota’s woods. A caterpillar has killed more than 200,000 acres worth of balsam fir trees in just the last year. Another beetle, a native in the midst of a population boom, has already destroyed about half of the state’s tamaracks. Add it all up and pest outbreaks have left Minnesota with quite a lot of dead trees, useless lumber and dried-out and wasted stands, which, if left to rot, will become one large fire hazard. But there’s little incentive to cut ash, balsam fir and tamarack trees down—even as state and local foresters need to thin them before the pests come through—because they have limited uses and have never been highly sought for lumber. To try to change that, researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth have been racing to find novel ways to make the trees more desirable and valuable to builders, homeowners, lumber mills, city wastewater plants and anyone else who might be willing to come and remove them both before and after the bugs take them down…

San Diego, California, Times of San Diego, December 31, 2020: Citrus Tree-Killing Bacteria Found on Insects for 1st Time in San Diego County

State agricultural inspectors have detected bacteria which can cause a disease deadly to citrus trees during routine pest trapping in Fallbrook, San Diego County officials announced Thursday. The bacteria, which is not harmful to people or animals, was detected on insects in the North County community. A routine spot check by the California Department of Food & Agriculture on Dec. 28 collected a group of four adult Asian citrus psyllids from a citrus tree on residential property in the Fallbrook area carrying the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. These bacteria can cause a citrus disease called Huanglongbing. At this time, the disease has not been detected in citrus trees in San Diego County. Samples from trees on that property and the surrounding area were undergoing tests for the disease, which is fatal to citrus trees and has no cure…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star Tribune, January 1, 2021: New uses for dead ash, fir and tamarack trees could help restore Minnesota’s forests

One invasive beetle is ready to devour just about every ash tree left in Minnesota’s woods. A caterpillar has killed more than 200,000 acres worth of balsam fir trees in just the last year. Another beetle, a native in the midst of a population boom, has already destroyed about half of the state’s tamaracks. Add it all up and pest outbreaks have left Minnesota with quite a lot of dead trees, useless lumber and dried-out and wasted stands, which, if left to rot, will become one large fire hazard. But there’s little incentive to cut ash, balsam fir and tamarack trees down — even as state and local foresters need to thin them before the pests come through — because they have limited uses and have never been highly sought for lumber. To try to change that, researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth have been racing to find novel ways to make the trees more desirable and valuable to builders, homeowners, lumber mills, city wastewater plants and anyone else who might be willing to come and remove them both before and after the bugs take them down…

New York City, The New York Times, January 3, 2021: South Carolinians Mock Redesigned Palmetto Tree on Proposed State Flag

The goal was to come up with a standard design for the South Carolina state flag, one that residents could rally around, fly from their porches or proudly display on T-shirts, mugs and hats. But a proposed redesign of the beloved palmetto tree on the flag hasn’t exactly made hearts swell with state pride. One person said it resembled a toilet bowl brush. Others said it looked like one of the palmettos battered by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Still others compared it to the forlorn little Christmas tree from the 1965 television classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Scott Malyerck, a political consultant who helped create the design as a member of the South Carolina State Flag Study Committee, said with some understatement that the tree had “not been uniformly loved by all South Carolinians.” “I’ve read hundreds of comments,” he said, adding that everyone seemed to have an opinion. “It’s hard to come up with a quintessential palmetto tree that everyone will be in favor of…”

McAllen, Texas, The Monitor, January 3, 2021: McAllen forms committee tasked with achieving ‘Tree City’ status

Residents can expect a greener McAllen in 2021. On Tuesday, the city announced via a news release the creation of the Keep McAllen Beautiful Tree Advisory Committee, which will coordinate Arbor Day activities, create a five-year plan to plant and maintain trees on municipal-owned properties, and promote public awareness and education programs. Established by Keep McAllen Beautiful and the city of McAllen Parks & Recreation Department, the committee will also be tasked with reviewing city department concerns relating to tree care. According to the release, the committee will submit an annual report to the McAllen City Commission, apply annually for a Tree City USA designation and develop a list of recommended native trees for planting on city properties…