News Links – 2021

Columbia, South Carolina, WLTX(TV), October 19, 2021: Bring out your Bradfords! Bounty on invasive pear tree can get you up to 5 new replacement trees

No one likes Bradford pear trees. Once upon a time, landscapers and homeowners planted Bradford pear trees because of the tree’s pretty spring blossoms but the pungent odor and frail trunks — the trees can easily break in a storm — have caused them to fall out of favor. Worse, according to Clemson Extension Services, Bradford pear trees contribute to the spread of one of the most invasive plant species in the Southeast, the callery pear. So, what to do? Clemson Extension has put a bounty on the Bradford pear tree. Property owners can take advantage of the bounty and exchange up to five Bradford pear trees for an equal number of young native replacement trees — for FREE — during a tree swap Saturday, Oct. 23. The event, 1-4 p.m. at Sandhill REC located at 900 Clemson Rd. in Columbia, does have some rules… Replacement trees will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. If your preferred replacement tree is not available at time of distribution, you will be provided with a healthy alternative. Specific tree species cannot be reserved ahead of the event. Learn more about the Bradford pear and about the bounty on the trees at clemson.edu/extension/bradford-pear

Albany, Georgia, Herald, October 19, 2021: Many popular landscape trees are often short-lived

Some trees naturally live longer than others but, ironically, many of the most popular landscape trees tend to be relatively short-lived. Although their flowers are quite attractive, Bradford or Callery pears are generally considered short-lived trees, and they are also highly invasive. As a group, these flowering pears tend to have a very weak, vertical branching structure that is notorious for splitting and breaking. On average, Bradford pear trees live around 10 to 15 years, 20 with luck, and will literally begin to self-destruct when storm winds blow through. Most of the popular cultivars of Japanese flowering cherry trees (Kwanzan and Yoshino types) are also short-lived. They are grafted, which means the upper part (scion) of the tree is grown on the root system (rootstock) of a related tree. This process allows growers to replicate (clone) unique traits such as certain flower colors, weeping branches or larger flowers. These traits would not be expressed consistently if these trees were grown from seed…

Littleton, Colorado, Patch, October 18, 2021: Main Street Tree Project: Honey Locusts To Be Removed

Work on the Main Street Tree Project is set to begin Oct. 25 in Downtown Littleton. The Littleton Public Works Department aims to replace most of the Honey Locust trees inside the sidewalk grid, which were planted more than three decades ago, according to the Littleton Report. Honey Locusts have an average life of around 120 years in the wild, but only 20 years in urban environments, city officials said. Urban trees are under constant stress and they’re often surrounded by asphalt or concrete. Several trees along Main Street have already been removed. The first part of the project, which is expected to take several days, will begin Oct. 25 with crews filling empty grates with concrete, according to the Littleton Report. After the holiday season, eight trees are set for removal, some of which are almost completely dead, the city said…

Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch, October 18, 2021: Woman struck by falling tree branch while hiking in Mohican State Park dies at scene

A Columbus woman is dead after a tree branch fell on her as she was hiking in Mohican State Park Sunday afternoon. The Ashland County Coroner’s Office has identified the woman as Shelley Miller, 57. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident. ODNR reports show officers from the state Department of Natural Resources and the Ashland County Coroner’s Office responded to the call Sunday afternoon. Miller was pronounced dead at the scene. She was hiking on the Hemlock Gorge Trail, which follows the north bank of the Clear Fork through the park, and was struck by a falling branch at about 3 p.m…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, October 18, 2021: How do trees get their fall color?

It’s fall, and there’s a nip in the air. Besides time spent on football, school activities and holidays approaching, it’s time to enjoy a little fall color from our trees before full-fledged leaf management kicks into gear and I have to continue to remind homeowners and businesses to mulch the leaves rather than send them to the landfill. What causes and controls fall color, anyway? Temperature? Soil moisture? Shorter days? Sunny days? It’s all of those factors, actually, but here’s what technically happens. Green chlorophyll is present in leaves in large quantities during the growing season. As the days shorten, chlorophyll production slows to a stop. As chlorophyll breaks down in the leaves, two compounds called anthocyanins and carotenoids take over. Carotenoids are leaf pigments responsible for yellow and orange colors. They are present in leaves during the growing season but are masked by the green chlorophyll, except in plants that are stressed or with naturally yellow leaves. Carotenoids are helpful in that they absorb wavelengths of light that chlorophyll doesn’t accept — mainly blue-green and green. They also use excess energy produced in leaves, as happens in high-light conditions. In fall, with no chlorophyll left, they can act as a sunscreen to help protect foliage…

Austin, Texas, KXAN-TV, October 18, 2021: Austin trees are going bald; UT arborist explains why autumn isn’t to blame

With autumn here, you may be looking at Central Texas’ trees a little more often than you usually do. If you’re anything like us, you may have noticed something peculiar — a bunch of trees have bald patches all over them. These bald patches aren’t because of the seasonal change, according to the University of Texas’ Urban Forestry Supervisor Jennifer Hrobar. Instead, they’re damage leftover from February winter storm. “This was a very off event in that there haven’t been any real defined patterns,” Hrobar said about some of the stranger damage she’s seen over the years. “Maybe the upper crown was sticking out more exposed to (the) winds and the cold temperatures that killed that tissue, where as the main stems were more protected,” Hrobar said. Essentially, as the temperature plummeted, the cells inside the trees froze. This meant that some limbs, but “trees don’t heal, they seal.” Instead of letting that creeping cold take their lives, the trees sealed off frozen limbs. This meant the limb died while the tree survived. “That’s called compartmentalization,” Hrobar said. Hrobar says which trees survived depended less on species and more on where the tree is located and what protection it had. “Live oaks, which we tend to think of as a very great tree for urban areas … some came through with flying colors, others we completely lost…”

Ann Arbor, Michigan, WUOM Radio, October 15, 2021: Federal court rules against tree protection ordinance

Environmentalists are concerned a federal court ruling this week could limit tree protection ordinances. The ruling by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dealt with landowners’ private property rights and Canton Township’s tree ordinance. The ordinance requires landowners who remove trees to plant new trees or pay into a fund to ensure there’s not a net loss of trees. Canton Township ordered a property owner who cleared more than 150 trees from his property to plant replacement trees or deposit more than $47,000 into a township tree fund. The owner sued. The court ruled the township didn’t show that it properly assessed the burden to the landowners. Sean Hammond is policy director at the Michigan Environmental Council which filed a brief supporting the ordinance. “The court basically ruled that Canton Township did not prove that it was going to benefit the city as much as it burdened the owner.” He says the ruling could affect other municipalities. “It really only impacts this one company in terms of direct scope. But, it sends a message to a lot of other places about how valid their tree ordinances are…”

Greenbiz, October 18, 2021: Wildfires redraw the landscape for corporate tree planting

… I love trees. So when wildfires rip through my home state of California or my favorite travel destinations in the Pacific Northwest or Colorado, I feel the most climate grief. Wildfire isn’t just sad for nature lovers, but it’s also a huge problem for the planet. Forests are some of our best carbon sequesters, and over the past five years hundreds of thousands of acres in the U.S. have literally gone up in smoke, pouring carbon back into the atmosphere. The only way to directly reverse the effects is to wait for new trees to take the place of the old ones. Given the greater number and intensity of wildfires that have become the norm due to climate change, coupled with insufficient forest management practices, the forests need help to regenerate. So corporations are stepping up and expanding their tree-planting budgets to address the problem, but tree-planting after a forest fire is different from traditional reforestation projects. It takes a lot of management, care and infrastructure to plant trees. Without tree planting organizations and money, usually from corporate backers, once-forested areas would turn into blank landscapes dotted with shrubs that have out-competed the trees in the wake of fire…

Concord, New Hampshire, WCNH Radio, October 17, 2021: Eversource’s main cause of power outages? Trees. The company wants the N.H. public to plant shorter ones.

Energy company Eversource is encouraging municipalities and residents to make a plan for their trees. With an arboretum in Hooksett now open to the public, the company wants Granite Staters to tour a variety of vegetation that is friendlier to power lines. For Eversource, trees are the leading cause of power outages, especially during storms. But it’s important to keep planting them, said Bob Allen, an arborist who manages vegetation maintenance efforts at Eversource. New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the country. The company says it’s planning to spend $27 million across New Hampshire for tree-trimming and removal efforts this year, covering 2,500 of the 12,000 miles of overhead lines it maintains in the state. Some in Eversource’s New England service areas have pushed back on the company’s efforts to cut down trees, saying the removal would create environmental and safety concerns, and harm property values. Allen wants to introduce residents to the diversity of tree species that can thrive in New Hampshire and encourage people to start planting…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, October 14, 2021: PG&E, East Bay parks allowed to remove trees for safety, court rules

The state Supreme Court has rejected a challenge by environmental advocates in Lafayette to an agreement by local park officials that allowed Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to remove trees near an underground gas pipeline, one of several legal disputes over parkland trees in or near the East Bay community. The East Bay Regional Park District agreed in March 2017 to let PG&E uproot 245 trees that were within 14 feet of the pipeline in Briones Regional Park and the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail, in exchange for payments of $1,000 per tree, an additional $10,000 for safety maintenance, and PG&E’s promise to plant 31 replacement trees within city borders. The utility says it has removed all but 17 of the trees, which are the subject of a separate suit by Lafayette before a federal judge who is overseeing PG&E’s bankruptcy. The fate of about 200 more trees is still unsettled, however, and the Lafayette City Council and PG&E are discussing how many need to be removed to protect the pipeline. The environmental group Save Lafayette Trees won a 2019 ruling from a state appeals court allowing it to challenge the removal of those trees. But the state’s high court refused Wednesday to take up the environmental group’s appeal of a lower-court ruling dismissing its suit over the 2017 tree-downing agreement. That ruling, now final and binding on trial courts statewide, said California law authorizes a regional park district to manage its park lands, even if its decisions conflict with environmental laws of a city or county within the district’s territory…

Phoenix, Arizona, Patch, October 14, 2021: South Phoenix Residents Seek Preservation Of Historic Palm Trees Displaced By
Light Rail

On a late summer afternoon, Victor Vidales walked along the one-acre lot of his backyard that is temporarily housing more than two dozen palm trees. Dried weeds and rocky soil crunched under his flip flops. “If these trees could talk, what would they say?” Vidales said, as the tall and thin palm trees towered over him. Vidales, a South Phoenix resident who can proudly trace back his roots to the neighborhood for generations, is temporary steward of these palm trees, some with healthy green fronds, others bare at top. “They saw all the killings, all the murders, but they also saw all the quinceañeras, all the weddings,” Vidales said, imagining the stories the trees would tell. The palm trees housed at Vidales’ property were once a landmark of south Central Avenue. The trees were planted along the median and, residents say, had been there for about 60 years. The future of the iconic trees was endangered when plans for a $1.3 billion South Central/Downtown Hub project that will bring the light rail to south Phoenix were drawn up. To make way for the light rail tracks and system, the median and the trees would be gone…

Walla Walla, Washington, Union-Bulletin, October 14, 2021: New Walla Walla tree plan calls for planting 300 trees per year

A new plan for planting and maintaining trees in Walla Walla was approved unanimously at a Wednesday, Oct. 14 City Council meeting after a long, and at times, controversial process. The plan, which calls for $315,454 over five years for planting new trees and over $2.6 million for pruning and maintenance of the city’s nearly 8,000 trees, replaces the city’s 2003 Urban Forestry Management Plan. The plan calls for the city to plant nearly 300 new trees annually, or four new trees for every tree that needs to be removed every year on average. Pruning and maintenance is more costly than planting new trees, according to city staff, hence the larger budget for the former. New tree plantings would be concentrated in the city’s West and East wards, according to city staff, which have historically not had as many plantings. Several updates were made to the plan since it was last seen by the City Council in July, including a sample five-year budget for planting and plans to encourage community buy-in, as most land in the city where trees can be planted is privately owned, according to Parks and Recreation Director Andy Coleman. These updates came after weeks of review and community input, including vocal opposition from activist group Tree People of Walla Walla, who had criticized the lack of a planting budget in the draft plan presented in July. The inclusion of this budget in the plan approved Wednesday did not assuage their concerns, said Tree People co-founder Gayle Bodorff, who called the plan inadequate…

Farm Progress, October 13, 2021: My love-hate relationship with black walnut trees

On a mid-September day, I could hear the wind howling as I tapped away on my laptop keyboard. Sitting at the kitchen table, which is next to the back door to the porch, a loud thud grabbed my attention. It was followed by two more booming thuds and then a tap on the door. I thought it was strange someone would be visiting using the back door. From the racket, I was half expecting the Jolly Green Giant. But there were no visitors, unless you count the bushy-tailed kind, standing upright balancing on his back legs while his tiny paws clutched a nut covered with a lime-green husk. The thuds were black walnuts dropping on the porch from several of the 60-foot-plus-tall walnut trees in my backyard. One rolled to the door mimicking a knock. It’s been a banner year for walnuts. Some say that’s a sign of a long, cold winter ahead. I think it has more to do with the cycling of the tree, but believe what you will. Like a lot of people, I have a love-hate relationship with black walnut trees. In the summer — there’s more than a dozen in my yard — they provide great shade, and in the fall the leaves turn golden. But black walnut trees are very selfish. The roots, which may extend 50 feet or more from the trunk, exude a natural herbicide known as juglone, which is also found in the tree’s leaves and husks…

San Antonio, Texas, KSAT-TV, October 14, 2021: General Sherman tree still standing, but it’s not out of the figurative woods yet, as California wildfires rage on

General Sherman is still standing, but it’s not out of the figurative woods just yet, as it still towers in one of the county’s most famous stretch of woods. The biggest and most famous of all the sequoia trees in California’s Sequoia National Park, General Sherman, has yet to be affected by the surrounding wildfires plaguing the area and destroying other trees and acreage. There are concerns it might, given the tree’s base was wrapped in aluminum-based, burn-resistant material back in September. At 275 feet tall and more than 36 feet in diameter at its base, General Sherman is larger than the Statue of Liberty. It is estimated to be more than 2,000 years old, and was named after Civil War General William Sherman. Ever since lightning ignited the KNP Complex fires on Sept. 9, there have been more than 184,000 acres and at least 26 groves of giant sequoias that have been charred, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times…

San Jose, California, Mercury News, October 13, 2021: Why PG&E’s wildfire safety triggers are sparking controversy instead of deadly blazes

During this tinder-dry wildfire season, a change to Pacific Gas & Electric’s power lines has dramatically reduced the risk of sparking calamitous and killer blazes. But every time a rogue squirrel gets zapped, hundreds of rural residents are suddenly plunged into darkness – for hours, sometimes days. Computer screens go blank. Stoves don’t work. WiFi goes dead. Refrigerators stop cooling. “It’s like camping,” said Barbara Melchin, a 71-year-old widow who was forced to haul water in buckets during one recent outage in the Santa Cruz Mountains, because her well quit working. “Life is controlled by this thought: ‘Am I going to have power?’ These unplanned outages are different than the now-familiar Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPSs), like the one Monday that pre-emptively shut off power for 24,000 customers in 23 counties because of windy weather and high fire risks. In contrast, the new shutoffs are spontaneous and surprising, often on calm days…

South Bend, Indiana, WBND-TV, October 13, 2021: Tree removal companies busy after Monday’s severe weather

The cleanup continues two days after storms slammed Michiana. Torrential downpours and severe wind gusts sent many trees toppling. Tree removal crews were at a house in Granger Wednesday afternoon, armed with chainsaws, cranes, and woodchippers. A large tree crashed through the roof of a garage on Monday and needed to be cleared. The damage was caused by the combo of wet ground and strong winds. However, Michiana’s lack of fall weather so far means that most of the leaves are still on the trees. This can weigh things down and making it easier for trees to fall during storms, according to experts. “When there are leaves on the trees and they are wet, it’s like a sailboat,” Walt Temple, owner of Temple Tree Service explained. “The wind will catch onto those leaves and will add stress. If the tree is sitting in an area where the root-ball, the ground is so wet and you get that kind of leverage, it’ll tip right over, which is what we had here…”

South Windsor, Connecticut, Patch, October 13, 2021: Good Deed Shows No Tree Is Too Big For South Windsor Arborists

A South Windsor-based tree contractor had a chance to show off just what a new piece of equipment could do recently while also performing a good deed. Jason Yerke, a Vernon native and the owner of Distinctive Tree Care in South Windsor, recently purchased a new piece of equipment to take down dead and dying trees along roads and highways. He was looking for a place to get his crews practice time on the machine. Yerke and his company do a lot of work for the state Department of Transportation and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection removing dead and dying trees from along state highways and from state parks. The machines Jason has purchased enable his crews to do in a day what a traditional tree crew, using a bucket truck, would take weeks to achieve. The new one takes it to a new level…

Washington, Missouri, eMissourian.com, October 13, 2021: ‘Resilient’ trees taking root at Marthasville trailhead

A 200-yard stretch of the 240-mile Katy Trail got a bit nicer Saturday. Around 20 people, working with nonprofits Forest ReLeaf of Missouri and Magnificent Missouri along with the Missouri Parks Department, planted 65 trees along the trail near its trailhead in Marthasville. The trees included Kentucky coffeetrees, hackberries and a variety of oaks. The project, which started in March with a planting a few miles away in Dutzow, is part of a three-year quest to plant 300 trees on the trail using a $28,000 annual grant from the Robert J. Trulaske Jr. Family Foundation. “We’ve been scrambling to get it all done,” Meridith Perkins, executive director of Forest ReLeaf, said about three hours into Saturday’s planting. The groups plan to plant another 100 trees next year, starting in the spring. The grant also includes money for staff time…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KHON-TV, October 12, 2021: Christmas without a Christmas tree? Experts urging consumers to buy earlier due to possible shortages

Extreme weather along the west coast, including fires and heat waves, have impacted Christmas tree crop. Some Oregon farmers have lost up to 90% of their trees this summer, and a few local carriers rely on those farms and are pivoting to be able to provide this Christmas. Habilitat is already making adjustments to its Christmas tree order. “There was some damage created by the high heat that happened this year, especially some of the grand furs are going to be in short supply and some of the noble furs might be a little bit smaller than people are used to seeing,” said Becky Harrison, Habilitat marketing director. The nonprofit organization is still expecting to bring in 5,000 trees for its annual sale. Meanwhile, Paula Tajiri, owner of Christmas Hawaii, is relieved after checking on her crop in Washington. “Luckily our contracted farm has little damage so it didn’t really affect us too much,” said Tajiri. For local growers like Hamakua Christmas Tree Forest on Hawaii Island, they’re already selling to accommodate the impacts from mainland farms. “You can tag a tree, you can pay for it and put a tag on it, and then come back and get it in a month or so when you actually want it,” said Richard Bradwell, owner of Hamakua Christmas Tree Forest. “That way you can guarantee getting a tree without having to worry about it later. That seems to be where everybody’s worried about, that the trees wouldn’t be available…”

Denver, Colorado, Colorado Sun, October 13, 2021: Trout (and anglers) love Colorado’s Dream Stream — and transported trees could keep it thriving

On a brilliant October late afternoon, Jerry Backes casts a long shadow into the steady current of the South Platte River, in roughly the same direction he casts a fly to entice the teeming life below. The water carries his line for a few seconds but soon snags on vegetation coursing downstream. But for Backes, a 68-year-old retired electrical engineer from Missouri who ventures to Colorado a couple of times each year to experience what anglers call the Dream Stream, hope resides in the next cast. And soon he’ll feel the telltale tug that reminds him why he came here. “It’s a good time every time I come out,” he says. Situated at 8,700-feet elevation in one of the largest plateau basins in North America, cradled by hills with snow-dusted peaks in the distance, this stretch of the South Platte owes its reputation to a combination of circumstances that create ideal habitat for fish — largely brown and rainbow trout but also species like kokanee salmon. They not only breed in sustainable numbers but also live long and grow to eye-popping sizes…

The Architectural Review, October 13, 2021: Urban lumber: timelines of street trees

In cities across the United States and the world, street trees have, for centuries, been a crucial agent of urban beautification and identity. These trees have offered their own kind of spatial definition, extending the sense of enclosure and protection offered by buildings into spaces of public movement, rest and gathering. They define edges of urban thoroughfares, implying tunnels or partitions with their regularly spaced trunks. They form rooms and halls in the city, creating a verdant commons. Street trees make space and take up space through their physical form, but they also create dappled shade – extending Lisa Heschong’s enduring call for attention to ‘thermal delight’ in architecture, proposing an enhanced attention to the range of thermal experience offered by the built environment to the outdoors. Simultaneously, at the ends of their lives, these urban space- and shade-makers have frequently been unceremoniously chopped, chipped and hauled away. Their wood is often gnarly and wildly figured, and is commonly of unfamiliar species (in the context of lumber, not trees) that would confound all but the most versatile artisans and craftworkers. Over the past century and a half, street trees in many major cities have had to become resilient on terms that are very specific to the ways that the underground and overhead space of the street itself has modernized…

Jackson Hole, Wyoming, News & Guide, October 12, 2021: My failed, transformational fight for whitebark pine

At 3:45 a.m. I climb on my bike at the Elkhart Park trailhead, one of the many gateways into Wyoming’s mighty Wind River Range, and ride away from the mountains. I’m not entering the Winds here. Instead, I’ll pedal 65 miles to the Green River Lakes trailhead, then walk, climb and swim through the Winds until I’m back at Elkhart Park. Yes, swim. This is my third attempt at the Winds Picnic, a ludicrous adventure I’ve created that entails swimming five lakes on the way to the top of Gannett Peak, Wyoming’s highest point, then swimming five lakes on the way down, and linking both ends of this watery alpine traverse with a bike ride… This will be the adventure of my life, so far. But why? For the experience, the challenge, and to assuage the demons remaining from my brief time leading a small nonprofit advocacy group that championed a species of high-elevation pine tree. I founded TreeFight in 2009 to bring awareness to the devastation pine beetles caused whitebark pine due to the effects of climate change. After years of not noticing these distinctive, candelabra-shaped pines while skiing and climbing, I learned of this cataclysm to their numbers (50% of mature whitebark would eventually die in a five-year period) and was floored by what we were losing…

Phys.org, October 11, 2021: Moose appetite for deciduous trees counteracts warming effects

Fast-growing deciduous trees can respond more quickly to a warmer climate than conifers, so climate change will influence the composition of forests through increased deciduous tree growth. But deciduous species are also the most vulnerable to browsing. “We studied how moose modify the climatic effect on boreal trees on two continents,” says biologist Katariina Vuorinen, who defended her dissertation earlier this year. Vuorinen took her doctorate at NTNU, focusing on herbivore browsing in 47 demarcated sites in Norway and 15 sites in Canada. Many assistants supported her in taking the annual spring measurements in the relevant areas. Vegetation growth in fenced areas where moose were excluded was compared with the surrounding vegetation. The researcher modeled causal relationships that took into account different climatic factors, various tree species, competition between tree species, tree height, time, food availability and presence of herbivores as well as browsing intensity.Moose browsing led to less growth in rowan and birch trees in Canada and in birch and pine in Norway. In Canada, rowan grew 12 cm less and birch 13 cm less than in the fenced-in plots. In Norway, birch grew 8 cm less and pine 3 cm less than in similar exclusion plots. Vuorinen concluded that moose browsing counteracts the effect of a warmer climate on forest growth. But her research also shows that the foraging impact varies depending on other factors in each ecosystem, such as snow, which protected the trees from browsing moose…

Hyperallergic, October 10, 2021: Mourning a Tree That Has Lain Down

The story behind the piece “Fallen” (2021) by Jean Shin is that a hemlock tree, now horizontal, cut from its roots, and suspended above the ground by two boulders, was going to die anyway. The groundskeeping team at the Olana State Historic Site couldn’t heal it. Because of the tree’s size it was feared that in the upcoming winter storms it might fall and damage the nearby main house. Shin determined to commemorate this one death that stands in for many. The ongoing pandemic has felled hundreds of thousands of people, their lungs ravaged by a virus they couldn’t see, borne on the air we must breathe. Many of these people (including my grandfather) were buried hurriedly, without the presence of family to wave them on with loving rituals from this shore to the next. They did not have the benefit of being properly mourned, held, and released. So Shin gave this ritual gentleness to a tree. She coordinated with the state’s parks department to salvage the trunk and bark after they had cut it down. Working with William Coleman, the director of collections and exhibitions, Shin reenacted the stripping of the bark and then, using leather (which they term “dead stock”) sourced from fashion houses and the upholstery industry, she clothed it in that animal skin riveted together to form a funeral shroud…”

Albany, New York, Times Union, October 11, 2021: Watervliet launches program for public support to plant trees

The city owns 3,400 trees and is pushing its new Memorial Tree Program to let residents sponsor a tree in an attempt to create a sustaining effort to plant more trees on municipal property. All a person has to do is write the city a check for $150 to claim sponsorship for a tree, which will be numbered and include a small plaque with the name of the person for whom the tree is dedicated. “This way we’ll raise more money for more trees. It won’t cost the taxpayers anything,” said Bill Fahr, a member of the Watervliet Tree Committee. The flowering trees help brighten up the city when they bloom in the spring and when their leaves change colors in the fall. Crabapple, Callery pear and cherry trees are some of the types planted by the city, said Dan McGrath, an arborist and chairman of the Watervliet Tree Committee. “We try to go with the small trees,” McGrath said pointing out the difference between the trees considered appropriate for planting in street rights-of-way so they fit into the urban landscape and larger maple trees found in residential backyards which are bigger…

Palm Beach, Florida, Post, October 11, 2021: West Palm’s tree survey: It’s time to start planting more shade trees to combat climate change

A tally of West Palm Beach’s trees is underway, with a surveyor documenting the species, size and health of every shade-maker in neighborhood rights-of-way and medians. The count is part of the city’s effort to fight climate change and work toward its goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That means encouraging people to walk or bike instead of drive, and to do that in South Florida shade is a necessity. “You don’t want to be biking or walking in the full sunshine, and because of climate change we are having more and more days that are hotter and hotter,” said Penni Redford, West Palm Beach’s resilience and climate change manager. “We have a focus on trees as a city and you can’t really manage and improve something that you don’t have a good metric on.” Palm Beach County’s average daily temperature has increased nearly 4 degrees since 1900, from 73 degrees to 2020’s average of 76.9, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information…

Washington, D.C., The Hill, October 7, 2021: Who is going to plant all those trees? Thune’s
bill addresses multi-year tree planting backlog

Trees have been getting a lot of attention as a natural carbon storage solution, and rightfully so. Trees are truly amazing; they act as sponges pulling in carbon dioxide from the air, absorbing the carbon, and then releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. The carbon is then stored in the trees and forest soils. Even sustainable harvesting of trees converted to wood products like lumber, engineered wood products, and paper continue to store carbon. And trees are a renewable and sustainable resource — through growth, carbon storage, and harvest, the cycle of forest renewal can continue indefinitely for centuries. Congress has recognized the value of planting trees to mitigate and reverse the effects of a changing climate. Several bills introduced in this Congress call for increased tree planting and tree seedling production. These include the Trillion Trees Act (H.R.2693), the REPLANT Act (S.866), and most recently, America’s Revegetation and Carbon Sequestration Act (S.2836). The REPLANT Act provisions are included within the Senate Bipartisan Infrastructure bill that passed in August 2021. Each of these bills recognize the need to produce more tree seedlings and plant trees. But what is missing is a way to ensure there is labor available to plant the trees…

Las Vegas, Nevada, Sun, October 7, 2021: California fires may have killed hundreds of giant sequoias

Northern California wildfires may have killed hundreds of giant sequoias as they swept through groves of the majestic monarchs in the Sierra Nevada, an official said Wednesday. “It’s heartbreaking,” said Christy Brigham, head of resource management and science for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. The lightning-caused KNP Complex that erupted on Sept. 9 has burned into 15 giant sequoia groves in the park, Brigham said. More than 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze in sometimes treacherous terrain. On Wednesday afternoon, four people working on the fire were injured when a tree fell on them, the National Park Service reported. The four were airlifted to hospitals and “while the injuries are serious, they are in stable condition,” the report said. It didn’t provide other details. The KNP Complex was only 11% contained after burning 134 square miles (347 square kilometers) of forest. Cooler weather has helped slow the flames and the area could see some slight rain on Friday, forecasters said. The fire’s impact on giant sequoia groves was mixed. Most saw low- to medium-intensity fire behavior that the sequoias have evolved to survive, Brigham said…

International Business Times, October 7, 2021: Tree Unidentified For Decades Now Declared New Species

For decades, scientists have been baffled by a mysterious tree in the Amazon rainforest. Now, it has finally been declared a new species. Samples of the mysterious tree were first collected by scientist Robin Foster on a forest trail in Peru’s Manu National Park in 1973, Field Museum noted in a news release. It was about 20 feet tall and had small orange fruits that looked like orange Chinese lanterns. “I didn’t really think it was special, except for the fact that it had characteristics of plants in several different plant families, and didn’t fall neatly into any family,” Foster, now of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, said in the news release. “Usually I can tell the family by a quick glance, but damned if I could place this one.” Other scientists were also stumped by the mysterious tree that remained unidentified for many years. In their new study, published in the journal Taxon, a team of researchers finally identified the tree as a new species. “Preliminary molecular analysis indicated that it belonged to the Picramniaceae, even though the vegetative features were discordant,” the researchers wrote…

Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, October 7, 2021: Experienced arborists can help you keep your trees vigorous for many more decades

My good friend, the late Benny Simpson, was once describing growing up in the Texas Panhandle. Benny was one of Texas’ most noted tree experts, and trees were a love of his from the time he was a child until the day that he died. He once told me, “When I was a kid on Sunday afternoons, my dad would take me down to the river to see the tree.” We all need to have that same level of appreciation for trees here in Texas. They shade us and they protect us. They make our recreational spaces enjoyable many months of the year. And, as if all that weren’t enough, a properly chosen, placed and cared for shade tree can be worth thousands of dollars in the resale value of a Texas home. That’s been especially noticeable in the frenzied housing market of the past couple of years. It only stands to reason then, that you’d want to protect that investment by hiring only highly qualified professionals to work on your trees. How do you find such a company?…

Chicago, Illinois, WBEZ Radio, October 7, 2021: Chicago has only 50,000 ash trees left. Should we spend millions to keep them alive?

Chicago has tried for more than a decade to slow the declining health of ash trees, some of the city’s oldest and most mature trees that provide communities benefits like shade and flood mitigation, as the trees have been overcome by a small but mighty green pest. Starting in 2008, the city began inoculating the ash trees, which numbered about 96,000 at the time, against the invasive emerald ash borer beetle. But by 2018, with almost half of the ash population dead and removed, the city decided to stop inoculations and let the remaining 50,000 ash trees die off. Now with a flush of federal money in the city’s coffers, some activists and aldermen are pushing for the city to bring that inoculation program back, arguing it could save Chicago’s most populous tree, a key part of the overall tree canopy. That’s in part because of the type of trees ash are — featuring larger, wider leaves…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, October 6, 2021: Eversource appealing Darien tree warden’s decision to not remove trees

Eversource is appealing the town tree warden’s decision that keeps it from removing dozens of trees in the Little Brook Road area as part of the power company’s vegetation management plan. The proposal to cut the trees has sparked controversy in town with many residents speaking out against the proposal citing environmental, safety and quality of life concerns. Eversource maintains that the clear-cutting is needed to ensure the safety and reliability of the power grid. Darien Tree Warden Michael Cotta issued a decision on Sept. 22, saying 21 of the tagged trees could come down because they are “diseased, defective or dead and provide little or no environmental benefit.” The decision came a day after a virtual public hearing drew 100 people, with most of the speakers opposing the proposal. His decision only concerns the trees in the town right-of-way adjacent to Little Brook Road and Raymond Street. The bulk of Eversource’s plan — which spans 18 miles along the company’s transmission lines, including 3.5 miles in Darien — involves clear-cutting on the state Department of Transportation property along the railroad tracks…

U.S. News and World Report, October 6, 2021: A Chilean Tree Holds Hope for New Vaccines – if Supplies Last

Down a dusty farm track in Chilean wine country, behind a wooden gate wrapped in chains, forestry experts are nursing a plantation of saplings whose bark holds the promise of potent vaccines. Quillay trees, technically known as Quillaja saponaria, are rare evergreens native to Chile that have long been used by the indigenous Mapuche people to make soap and medicine. In recent years, they have also been used to make a highly successful vaccine against shingles and the world’s first malaria vaccine, as well as foaming agents for products in the food, beverage and mining industries. Now two saponin molecules, made from the bark of branches pruned from older trees in Chile’s forests, are being used for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by drugmaker Novavax Inc. The chemicals are used to make adjuvant, a substance that boosts the immune system. Over the next two years, Maryland-based Novavax plans to produce billions of doses of the vaccine, mostly for low- and middle-income countries, which would make it one of the largest COVID-19 vaccine suppliers in the world. With no reliable data on how many healthy quillay trees are left in Chile, experts and industry officials are divided on how quickly the supply of older trees will be depleted by rising demand. But nearly everyone agrees that industries relying on quillay extracts will at some point need to switch to plantation-grown trees or a lab-grown alternative…

Stuart, Florida, Treasure Coast Palm, October 7, 2021: Florida gardening: Is it illegal to grow Brazilian pepper?

Q: I have just read an article about the Brazilian pepper tree and wanted to know if it is illegal to have one in my garden. My neighbor has been complaining about it and wanted to know if I am legally obligated to cut it down.
A: Such a loaded question! Brazilian pepper was brought to Florida from South America in the 1840s as an ornamental plant that bears red berries around the winter holidays. It was soon found to be spreading over much of Florida without help from humans, and it now is considered one of the most aggressive and invasive species found in Florida. Brazilian pepper is classified with poison ivy, cashews, and mangos. Named Schinus terebinthifolius by scientists and horticulturists, it is easy to recognize by its form and fruit. Brazilian pepper is an evergreen tree that can reach over 40 feet in height and width… Brazilian pepper is classified by the state of Florida as a noxious weed. This means it is unlawful to introduce, possess, move or release any part of the plant in Florida. Also, the live plants are not protected by any local or state laws or ordinances. Ordinances or rules requiring the removal of Brazilian pepper trees vary by municipality. Many entities such as counties, cities or villages do not have requirements to remove them from private property unless the property undergoes development and a permit of any type is required…

Madison, Wisconsin, Badger-Herald, October 5, 2021: UW lab discovers trees can change genetic structure to compete for resources

Change is happening everywhere, but it’s how living things adapt that counts — a perfect example of this is aspen forests. A new decade-long study by University of Wisconsin researchers reveals how aspen trees can change their genetic structure to compete for sunlight and defend themselves against pests like ants, moths and other tree-eating insects. Ecology professor Rick Lindroth and the Lindroth lab led the study — in their research, the lab primarily focuses on plant functional traits and how they influence plant ecology. “Functional traits are things like photosynthesis rates, growth rates, phonology and chemistry,” Lindroth said. “How do those different functions influence their ability to compete with other organisms?” The Lindroth Lab also researched the trade-offs among some of these traits in different genetic strains of aspens — those that grow well defend poorly and those that defend well grow poorly in a competition amongst themselves. Lindroth said he had previously tested this in the short term with potted plants, but he wanted to know what happens in a more natural environment when these trees are growing for long periods of time…

Popular Science, October 5, 2021: 300 years of tree rings show just how badly hurricanes have soaked the Carolinas

Sluggish hurricanes are dumping more rain over the coastal Southeast than in centuries past thanks to climate change, scientists reported this week. The researchers examined over 300 years of tree ring data to determine how rainfall from hurricanes has changed over time in the Carolinas. They found that extremes in tropical cyclone precipitation have increased between 64 to 128 millimeters (2.52 to 5.04 inches) compared with the early 1700s, mostly in the last six decades. The team published the findings on October 4 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The wettest years are getting even wetter,” says Justin Maxwell, a climatologist at Indiana University Bloomington and coauthor of the study. “We’re truly in uncharted territory with this amount of rainfall.” Storm surges and high winds cause plenty of destruction during a hurricane. However, one of the deadliest and most costly hazards is inland flooding, which is determined by how much rainfall the hurricane produces. Two striking recent examples are Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Florence, which pummeled parts of Texas and the Carolinas with record-breaking amounts of rain in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The storms caused tens of billions of dollars of damage, took dozens of lives, and ruptured lagoons filled with animal waste…

Los Angeles, California, Daily News, October 4, 2021: LA’s ‘Cool Streets’ program to add 60 miles of cool pavement, 2,000 trees

Los Angeles officials on Monday, Oct. 4, announced a second phase of the “Cool Streets L.A.” program aimed at lowering the temperatures in L.A.’s warmest neighborhoods by planting trees and adding cool pavement. The new phase, called “Cool Neighborhoods,” will add 60 miles of cool pavement and nearly 2,000 trees to Pico Union, Westlake South, North Hollywood, Canoga Park, Sylmar, Vermont Square, South Central and Boyle Heights. “The skyrocketing temperatures on our streets is an equity issue that puts local communities on the front line of the climate crisis,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Our hottest and most vulnerable neighborhoods are our top priority when it comes to climate action, and this program is about taking action in ways that will make a direct impact on people’s daily lives.” Garcetti announced the new program alongside Councilmen Bob Blumenfield and Paul Krekorian on Monday morning in North Hollywood, which received 13.4 lane miles of cool pavement — the largest single application in Los Angeles’ history. The cool pavement reduces ambient temperatures by reflecting more sunlight and absorbing less heat…

Boulder, Colorado, Daily Camera, October 5, 2021: Sharon Bokan: Planning a windbreak

As we head into the windier and hopefully snowy time of the year, now is the time to make plans to plant a windbreak on your small acreage next spring. Windbreaks make your yard less windy, prevent snowdrifts across the driveway and in corrals, prevent soil erosion, provide protection and shade for your livestock and provide wildlife habitat. In our area, windbreaks should be planted on the north and west sides of a property to block our winter winds. The principle behind windbreaks is the trees and shrubs are a barrier for the wind, slowing it down and allowing soil or snow to drop out. By slowing the wind velocity, they also protect soil from erosion. Windbreaks should not be planted directly next to the area you are trying to protect. They must be planted a distance away, allowing for the dust or snow to drop out prior to the driveway or building. The windbreak needs to be placed back two to five times the tree height at 20 years of age (usually from 20 to 50 feet tall) away from the driveway or structure. Windbreaks need to be 10 times the height of your tallest plant (mature height, not planted height) in length and continuous to be effective…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, October 4, 2021: Years-Long Tree Removal Dispute
Between PG&E, Lafayette Residents May Soon Be Resolved

After the San Bruno pipeline explosion in 2010, PG&E began an aggressive tree-cutting program near its pipelines. They told Lafayette they wanted to cut down 1,200 trees, many along the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail. To the people who live there, the trees are essential. “We absolutely love the trees,” said neighbor Dinesh Gomes. “There’s lots of beautiful oak trees and a lot of other trees in this neighborhood, which is why we also moved into this neighborhood.” Residents then formed a group called “Save Lafayette Trees” which filed a lawsuit against PG&E. Facing opposition, the utility cut its request down to 900 trees, then 272, and it now stands at 207. Michael Dawson, who co-founded Save Lafayette Trees, said he thinks it was always about convenience, not safety. “The only trees that should be removed,” Dawson told KPIX 5, “is a tree that is an immediate safety concern, an immediate risk to public health. That should be removed, and we support that. Outside of that, we will continue to fight for all the trees…”

USA Today, October 4, 2021: Are you seeing more acorns falling? You could be in the middle of a ‘mast year’

Are you hearing more taps on your roof than normal? Or maybe a few extra crunches as you pull the car out of your driveway? Some Americans are seeing more acorns drop than usual this year. If you’re in the same boat, then you could be in the middle of what’s called a “mast year” for oak trees, which is when they produce an abundance of nuts. In Michigan, one resident said the two “epic oaks” outside her house started dropping acorns in bunches this year after not producing any for years. In Connecticut, parts of the state are seeing a sparse output while others see “a lot.” If acorn mast years seem a bit random, that’s because they are – in some ways, at least. They can happen on varying scales and don’t occur on a set schedule. They come around as often as once every year or two and can be spurred by winter weather, experts say…

London, UK, Daily Mail, October 4, 2021: Old oaks learn new tricks! Mature trees can boost the amount of carbon dioxide they absorb, study finds – in breakthrough that could buy humanity ‘extra headroom’ to fight climate change

Mature trees can boost the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) they absorb, a new study shows, which is ‘good news’ in the fight against climate change. Scientists in Birmingham conducted a giant outdoor experiment on oak trees in rural England that had reached ‘middle age’, meaning they’d stopped growing upwards. The trees increased their rate of photosynthesis by up to a third when exposed to elevated levels of CO2 from the air, they found. The fact that mature trees are so abundant around the world might give humanity ‘extra headroom’ to fight climate change. Forests are widely recognised as important ‘carbon sinks’ – ecosystems that are capable of capturing and storing large amounts of CO2. The research was conducted on trees in Staffordshire at the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) and published in Tree Physiology. ‘We are sure now that the old trees are responding to future carbon dioxide levels,’ said Professor Rob MacKenzie, founding Director of BIFoR…

Indianapolis, Indiana, Star, October 5, 2021: Scrub Hub: Are trees in Central Indiana bypassing fall and dropping their leaves early?

Anyone else head outside in the morning and scratch their head at where all the leaves came from? Did anyone else spend this past weekend raking leaves, feeling like you had to break out the garden tools a little earlier than last year? Just two weeks into fall and nearly a month before the city of Indianapolis usually begins its fall leaf collection, Central Indiana is seeing leaves drop all over the place. As Hoosiers anxiously await for fall colors of red, orange and yellow to take over the canopy, the only hues many are seeing are shades of dull green and brown. On the ground. With that said, the question on many people’s minds becomes: Am I going crazy or are the leaves dropping early — and, if so, why? We spoke to a couple tree experts to figure out what is going on and what, if anything, residents should know about how to address it. So keep reading to get to the bottom of it. First things first, you are not going crazy. The leaves are dropping early this year — plain and simple. “We are not in the appropriate scope of natural fall color,” said Carrie Tauscher, state urban forestry coordinator with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. “Not even for early fall color, this is too early for the normal healthy range” to change color and drop leaves…

Staten Island, New York, Advance, October 2, 2021: ‘They are everywhere’ — Hundreds of spotted lanternflies infest tree of heaven in Tottenville

A tree of heaven outside a Tottenville family’s home has become a living hell for area residents now that hundreds of spotted lanternflies have infested its trunk. “They are everywhere. You can’t miss them,” said the Rev. Bette Sohm, pastor of Bethel United Methodist Church, who lives on Bethel Avenue with her husband, Glenn. The Sohms first noticed the lanternflies on their property and inside the church’s cemetery over the past month. “I’ve seen them on my walks through the cemetery to the church and around the neighborhood,” Rev. Sohm said. “I took my daughter to Arthur Kill train station and it looked like there were a lot of them near there, but as though someone had killed them all.” She added that it was her daughter who first noticed them on the Ailanthus tree, aka tree of heaven, in their front yard. Lanternflies are known to feed on Ailanthus trees as well as poplar, maple and willow trees. When the Advance/SILive.com visited the home Saturday, the tree was covered with the speedy insects from the roots up to the branches. Swarms of them were on top of each other…

Austin, Texas, KXAN-TV, October 3, 2021: Fall foliage guide: Here are the autumn tree colors you could see soon

Spooky season is upon us in Central Texas — and so is fall foliage! While it may seem that Texas’ long summers turn directly into winter, we do see a small stretch of autumn. Much of Central Texas has native trees that are evergreen (like our infamous cedar trees), but that doesn’t mean we don’t experience our own taste of beautiful fall colors. Maple trees put on a great show in the autumn across the Lone Star State. You can recognize these by their bright red, yellow and orange leaves that tend to peak in late October or early November, according to Trips to Discover. Using this data, in addition to The Spruce, here’s a look at the colors you may see this fall. The Texas Ash tree is a common tree that changes colors from green to reds, yellows and oranges…

Wilmington, Delaware, WDEL Radio, October 3, 2021: Arborist offers tips to keep your trees healthy

Fall is here, the trees in your yard need looking after, and an expert has some tips to keep them healthy. One big problem is lanternflies, which “mob” their favorite trees and can destroy them, said Jason Gaskill with Davey Tree Expert Company. “They’re entering into the tree bacteria and fungus and things like that, they’re also opening the tree to wounds that the tree has a hard time compartmentalizing because they got so much insect pressure,” said Gaskill. Gaskill added at this time of year, you should start thinking about composting dead leaves and including them in mulch piles and landscape beds, which gives trees needed nutrients, but that’s not all. “It’s also going to help some of the matrix of bionomes, like beneficial bacteria and beneficial fungus and things like that that are also gonna help the tree by breaking down compost and helping the tree be able to absorb nutrients and so forth,” said Gaskill. During the winter, Gaskill suggests checking your trees for any defects, which should be easier to see while most trees are without their leaves…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, October 3, 2021: Bruce Kreitler: Trees taking blame for contractors’ troubles

While I might really enjoy knowing a fair amount about trees and working on them, at the end of the day I’m simply another contractor, such as a plumber, yard maintenance person, roofer or cement worker. In fact, in my world, we contractors run across each other all the time, and sometimes our work — of whatever flavor — impinges on other contractors’ work. Or it could something that needs to be accomplished so that other contractors can get in and get their work taken care of. Mostly, as far as trees go, when somebody else needs me to do something first, it involves getting something out of the way. In some cases, it’s a roofing crew that needs trees cut back so they have room to work. Other times, it might be a pool contractor that needs a tree removed so they can dig up the area. Of course, let’s not forget about the house painters that need room between the house and large shrubs so they can get in there and paint. Not to mention that these days, I’m starting to get calls about cutting back, or removing, trees that are in the way of light for solar panels…

The Hill, September 30, 2021: Canadian firm seeks to make tree planting programs more accountable

A Canadian apparel company that focuses on sustainability is expanding its efforts by trying to solve a key problem at the heart of tree-planting programs worldwide: accountability. In launching a blockchain-based forestry management tool, the clothing maker known as tentree hopes to release a flood of investment cash by helping companies ensure that the trees they are sponsoring have actually been planted; that they are still growing years after the fact; and that they haven’t been sold to someone else. One of the biggest challenges in global tree planting efforts – along with carbon offsetting programs more broadly – has been establishing a standardized certification process to determine which projects are reliable. The major hurdle now facing tentree is getting sufficient buy-in from companies in the sustainability sector…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, October 1, 2021: Your guide to apple picking in the Chicago area, from pick-your-own orchards to an apple tree maze

There’s a cozy quietness to the beginning of fall that even those of us woefully zipping up jackets and already missing summer can appreciate. And as far as Midwest autumns go, nothing beats a stroll through an apple orchard and that first bite of a perfectly tart, just-picked Honeycrisp. The Chicago suburbs and surrounding countryside are full of pick-your-own apple orchards for that quintessential fall day trip, and many have adapted their business in response to the pandemic. For some, that means hand-washing stations and reminders to keep masks on, or extra staff on standby to get crowds in and out of line quicker. Others, lacking the space to spread out safely, have had to close up shop early. But orchard staff are not the only ones feeling a bit of strain this season. “The warm winter prior to February and a couple of timely freeze events did put some significant pressure on apples throughout the state,” said Trent Ford, Illinois state climatologist. “Most orchards made it through without tremendous loss, but a few — especially some of the smaller ones who may not have as many adaptive resources to deal with late freeze — did unfortunately lose quite a bit of their crop…”

Portland, Oregon, KOIN-TV, September 30, 2021: ‘Dangerous’ Tree of Heaven puts Portland man through ordeal

Reggie Williams had a Tree of Heaven in his Northeast Portland yard. But the City of Portland actually says it’s “an alien plant invader” that has “cracked foundations, shifted pipe and caused an untold amount of damage” in many local neighborhoods. Williams’ battle with the Tree of Heaven has been extreme over the past few years. He first noticed something was wrong in the basement of his Northeast Portland home in 2017. Two years later he shared his story with KOIN 6 News, and now four years into his ordeal experts are saying his home may need to be torn down. “I’m going through a bunch of crazy,” he said. “I’m on medication. I’m going through counseling behind this. I never thought this would ever happen to me. This should never happen to anybody in America.” According to the original engineer’s report in 2019, two foundation walls had “cracking that is likely causing the structure to become unstable.” The engineer said it was the Tree of Heaven between Williams’ house and his neighbors. One early estimate showed the damage to his home would cost $36,000 to $38,000 to repair…

Dallas, Texas, WFAA-TV, September 30, 2021: What’s that tree in your backyard? How to identify it by its leaves

The winter freeze this February was a tough test for trees across North Texas, and we’re still seeing the impact months later. If your trees appear to be dying now, there’s a good chance it might be an after-effect from the February freeze. But before you start looking for warning signs in your trees, you might have a common question: What tree do I have anyway? North Texas covers two main ecoregions, divided east and west: Cross Timbers on the west and Blackland Prairie on the east. But both regions feature similar trees. In North Texas, some of our most common trees are oaks, pecans and elm trees include • Live oaks, post oaks and blackjack oaks are among the most common oak trees in Texas. All three types of oak trees can grow to more than 50 feet tall. Live oaks are notable for a low, dense crown that can spread more than 100 feet. Oak leaves are typically oval or elliptical and 2-4 inches long. • Pecans: Another large tree, some pecan trees can grow to 120 feet tall with a truck of four feet in diameter. The most obvious indicator? Yep, you guessed it: It produces pecans, which ripen in the fall…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Herald, September 29, 2021: Storm damage, emerald ash borer add urgency for group hoping to expand Omaha’s tree cover

When Michelle Foss would talk to people about a community forest plan, they’d often ask, “What do we need that for? We’re doing just fine.’’ Then came the relentless march of the emerald ash borer and this summer’s violent windstorm that decimated parts of the city’s tree canopy. So far, 6,663 ash trees have been removed across the city of Omaha because of the borer, with more than twice that still scheduled for removal. Tree losses from the July windstorm aren’t quite so clear cut because no one compiles damage estimates for private property. But Matthew Kalcevich, Omaha’s director of parks, recreation and public property, said his staff compares this year’s damage to the tornado and windstorm that struck parts of the Omaha area in 2008. To paint a picture, he said the City of Omaha has removed more than 800 trees from parks and golf courses because of the storm…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 29, 2021: Southern Sierra wildfires wiping out giant sequoia trees for 2nd year in a row

More than a dozen groves of giant sequoias may lose significant numbers of trees in the wildfires now raging in the southern Sierra Nevada, even as fire crews succeed, sometimes dramatically, in keeping flames at bay in the most popular stands. Scientists surveying the damage of two active fires say the biggest losses will likely be at the south end of Giant Sequoia National Monument, where already 29 large trees have been listed as dead and many more are expected to follow. The Windy Fire there has exploded to 87,901 acres, and it’s burning out of control through several less-known, but still-towering sequoia stands, including the stately Packsaddle Grove. The fire was just 25% contained on Wednesday…

Panama City, Florida, WMBB-TV, September 29, 2021: Panama City moving forward with plans to plant 30,000 oak trees

The City of Panama City is continuing to move forward with plans to plant trees throughout Panama City. By 2025, the city hopes to plant more than 30,000 trees, which would replace the trees lost on city property, due to Hurricane Michael. “Tree canopies bring an ecosystem-type service, which is pollution control,” Sean DePalma, Panama City Quality of Life Director said. “It’s a natural air filter, and also stormwater management. It helps absorb a lot of stormwater so that will help us out.” Overall the city lost more than a million trees from the hurricane. Soon DePalma said the city will start planting oak trees downtown along Harrison Ave., from Government Ave. to Fourth Street. “It also adds a quality of life,” DePalma said. “Aesthetics, it brings up the value of the property, it brings shade to patrons. You know families and individuals underneath it so there’s a lot of value to a healthy tree canopy. And that’s what we’re going to strive to work towards.” Downtown business owners are excited for the downtown area to return to its look, before Hurricane Michael. “What that’s gonna provide for our public is shade, beauty,” Nate Taylor, operating partner of C&G Sporting Goods said. “Who doesn’t love an oak? And I believe the size of the trees are at 15 feet because they’ve got to be ADA compliant as well…”

Bakersfield, California, KERO-TV, September 28, 2021: Joshua trees found cut down near Tehachapi

It’s a piece of nature that goes hand in hand with California: the Joshua tree. They only grow in a small handful of places across the world, and one of those spots is not far from Tehachapi in the Mojave Desert. That’s why when one local woman says she found a bunch of them cut down in eastern Kern County, she wanted answers and reached out to 23ABC. What’s usually a place of joy, is now the opposite for Julie Weigel. “This is not normal for the dirt to look like this. It’s really sad and it angers me,” said Weigel. “As you can see, they’re pretty good-sized tracks. They’re not a little tractor. It’s a big bulldozer.” Bulldozer tracks and leftover debris now cover the area she goes hiking at. “Who’s doing this, and why? It’s not right.” Those are questions she continues to ask in a location just southwest of Mojave off of Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road, where it’s common to see Joshua trees. But in one place that you can only get to by a dirt road, those unique tree-like plants are visibly absent…

Joplin, Missouri, KSNF-TV, September 29, 2021: City of Goodman to receive free tulip trees from “Forest ReLeaf of Missouri”

In tonight’s dose of good news… A southwest Missouri city will soon have more life in the local park. The City of Goodman will get 15 free tulip trees from the “Forest ReLeaf of Missouri,” out of St. Louis. The trees will be planted around the park on East Garner Avenue. Mayor J.R. Fisher sent in an application explaining that the city is rebuilding after the 2017 tornado — and they were officially chosen as a recipient. “The park, there’s constantly people, now that it’s out there, you know so we’re just wanting to pretty it up some, and I’m looking forward thinking. Looking ahead next generations to have some place to go, and how it’s gonna look,” said J.R. Fisher — Goodman Mayor. The trees will be planted sometime this weekend…

Newport News, Virginia, Daily Press, September 28, 2021: Virginia’s best fall colors are likely to peak around Oct. 23, tree expert says

Heading west to spot Virginia’s best fall colors? You may want to err on the early side this year, one tree expert says. John Seiler, professor and tree physiology specialist at Virginia Tech, is predicting peak leaves in the fourth weekend of October, or around Saturday the 23rd. That’s due to a significant dry period in August that caused trees to start shutting down, followed by a cooler September including rain, he said. “Things are looking pretty good for a good year,” he said. Seiler looks at the same few individual trees each year, on the same dates, for his classes. This year, he’s noticed them starting to turn early. The end of October is always the rough peak period for western Virginia, but it can range within a week or so on either side. Being early is nothing negative, he noted. In Hampton Roads, fall colors come about a week later and are more muted compared to the mountains due to the region’s species. Early November is usually our peak, but the early shift will make it the last weekend of October, Seiler said. The main reason why trees change color and drop their leaves is the same each year — daylight. They’re genetically programmed to turn when the days start getting shorter. If you put the trees in a greenhouse with all other factors controlled, they’d still change the exact same day every year because of the day length, he said…

Phys.org, September 28, 2021: Mexican communities manage their local forests, generating benefits for humans, trees and wildlife

The United Nations is preparing to host pivotal conferences in the coming months on two global crises: climate change and biodiversity loss. As experts have pointed out, these issues are fundamentally, inescapably intertwined. In both cases, human activities are harming nature and the support it provides to people. But that connection also is an opportunity. Protecting places that are both carbon- and species-rich can help slow climate change and biodiversity loss at the same time. For example, in a June 2021 report, U.N. biodiversity experts urged nations to establish strict protected areas and govern forests through “locally adjusted sustainable management practices.” I study Mexican community forests, and believe they are the world’s best model of local sustainable management. My research over 30 years has shown that when Indigenous and local communities control their forests for commercial timber production, both humans and the land benefit…

Fairfax, Virginia, Patch, September 29, 2021: Threatened Trees Saved As City Council Denies Funding Endorsement

Fairfax City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to not endorse the funding request to pay for the John Mason Trail. With this action, the project, which has face a great deal of criticism in recent weeks from city residents, has been placed on hold. The city had an Oct. 1 deadline to endorse its application to receive 70 percent funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority for Fiscal Year 2027. By not endorsing the application, the city would not receive the $6.8 million needed to pay for the project. After the meeting, Judy Fraser, who was one of the citizens who opposed the current trail proposal, said she was elated by the decision to pause the project. “Many of us who raised the concerns are bicyclists too and are looking forward to being involved in a more holistic take on building a bikeable transportation network in the city, definitely one that doesn’t treat publicly owned forests and stream valleys as mere ‘right of ways,'” she said…

Vancouver, British Columbia, North Shore News, September 28, 2021: Heat dome hit these Vancouver neighbourhoods hardest — could planting more trees save lives?

Under the heat dome, Vanessa Csurbi measured survival in the spaces between shade and water. Fifty metres to the women’s shelter for a cold bottle. A hundred metres to the volunteers handing out Freezies. As the temperature soared past 40 C, Csurbi would tuck herself into the lee of a building with her dog, searching for relief and fighting back dizziness. Concrete everywhere. “I would move around to different spots. I’d soak myself at the different water stations,” she remembers. “You don’t have these big, lush trees.” “If you’re homeless and you’re down in the Downtown Eastside, it’s really, really hot.” Vancouver is no Montreal or Toronto. Summertime temperatures are usually buffered by the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean, and the city rarely faces the vicious heat waves of other North American cities. That respite took a deadly turn at the end of June when a one-in-a-thousand-year slab of high pressure roasted British Columbia, shattering all-time temperature records and leading to at least 569 deaths. By the time the ambulance and fire truck sirens waned, it became clear death hit B.C.’s biggest cities hardest, where the amplifying effects of a concrete jungle create a notorious “urban heat island effect…”

Woodland Park, Colorado, Pikes Peak Courier, September 27, 2021: The aspen connection: A meditation of Colorado’s favorite fall tree

Paul Rogers may go far, all the way to central Europe from his northern Utah home, but he’s never far from his muse. After all, aspens are among the world’s most widespread tree. This month in Czechia, aspens were indeed Rogers’ focus — as they have been for other scholarly retreats over his 20-plus years of research. Rogers is director of Utah State University’s Western Aspen Alliance, an informational clearinghouse for the tree garnering admiration every fall. For the start of the shimmering show in the American West, Rogers found himself abroad, studying a species different from the “quaking” one known here. But many things were the same. For one: “I never meet anyone, public or professional, who doesn’t say this is their favorite tree,” Rogers said in a Zoom call. “You know, for centuries, both in this continent where I’m sitting and where you’re sitting, people have gone to aspen forests for meditative or healing purposes…”

Memphis, Tennessee, WREG-TV, September 27, 2021: Tree trimming turning into a dangerous business in Memphis, and not for the reason you think

Memphis police are looking for a robber caught on camera after holding up a tree trimming crew at gunpoint in East Memphis. It happened outside a home in the 4100 block of Tuckahoe Lane at around 11:30 a.m. September 17. The four victims told officers a man got out of a silver Mercury Milan with a semi-automatic handgun, told them not to move, and took multiple chainsaws and other landscaping equipment. In a picture released by police, you can see the suspect walking toward a silver car carrying what appears to be a chainsaw. MPD said investigators believe the suspect is responsible for several other robberies…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Advocate, September 27, 2021: Did Ida blow down a tree in your yard? These fast-growing trees are good replacements

Storms and hurricanes, combined with the torrential rains of late, have wreaked havoc on our trees. To many, losing a tree is akin to losing a member of the family. In recent weeks, massive oaks and willows, pines and sycamores have come crashing down. Many of those trees may have taken 20 to 30 years to reach a mature size, and now there are gaping holes in the landscape. Some homeowners want to fill those gaps but don’t have the time for new trees to reach full maturity. So they turn to fast-growing trees and shrubs. Although the landscape will look better sooner, one of the trade-offs for fast-growing trees can be weak wood, and you could find yourself back where you started when the next storm blows through…

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, KELO-TV, September 27, 2021: Replacing your ash tree: Which trees will look best on your lawn

If you live in Sioux Falls, chances are you’ve seen some of the trees in parks and along city streets disappear. More often than not, the reason for this removal is a little pest called the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The EAB is a tiny green beetle that arrived as an invasive species from China and has so far killed more than 100 million ash trees in the United States. In 2018, due to the threat of the EAB, the City of Sioux Falls began a preemptive process to removing ash trees in city parks and properties, as well as those in the public right of way, such as in the boulevard in front of houses and apartments. According to Kelby Mieras, the city’s Park Operations Manager, there were around 22,000 ash street trees in the community when the city began it’s process, which is expected to be completed in 2028. While trees in the boulevard are removed by the city, the work and cost of replanting is up to the property owner. When it comes time to replant, the city has a recommended list of ‘street trees’ that you can plant between your sidewalk and the street…

Honolulu, Hawaii, Star-Advertiser, September 25, 2021: Hawaii makes pledge to conserve, restore or grow 100 million trees by 2030

Hawaii has pledged to conserve, restore or grow 100 million trees by 2030 as part of a global one-trillion-tree effort. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources in a news release said Gov. David Ige revealed Hawaii’s pledge in a video message during virtual or in-person Global Citizen Live events, which are being held in cities around the world. The One Trillion Trees Pledge is part of the 24-hour Global Citizen Live event today to “defend the planet and defeat poverty” and is meant to achieve net-negative carbon goals and combat climate change. The DLNR is leading the state’s pledge, which has also been supported by the state Department of Transportation and Department of Defense. The state will plant, conserve or restore 10 million trees each year this decade. “Forest carbon projects withdraw carbon dioxide (CO2), the greenhouse gas largely responsible for global climate change, and stores it in trees or other biomass,” DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said in a statement. ‘The actions planned until the end of this decade will contribute to our net-negative carbon goal…”

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Herald, September 26, 2021: Need to replace a tree lost during Omaha’s storms? Fall can be the best time to plant

Even though it seems like planting season is over, fall is a great time to replace a tree you may have lost in the July wind storm or just add a new one. The tree will get one more beneficial season (spring) before it has to deal with the stress of heat and limited precipitation during the summer. It will be ready to take off at the first signs of warmth, when its spring-planted counterparts haven’t even left the nursery. “All of this increases the likelihood of the tree surviving the critical establishment period in its first year after replanting and developing a healthy root system,” said Chris Stratman, executive director of Keep Omaha Beautiful…

Jackson, Michigan, MLive.com, September 25, 2021: 100-year-old Jackson tree cut down for safety concerns after recent storms

After standing for 100 years, a silver maple tree in Jackson was cut down due to safety concerns from the homeowner and surrounding houses in the wake of recent storms. The tree grew in Sharon Cabage’s front yard. It was approximately 164 inches in girth and 70 feet tall, taking up a large section of the property she moved onto 63 years ago. “I always thought it was a big tree then,” Cabage said. “It’s too, you know, enormous.” The Jackson Audubon Society has estimated the tree is more than 100 years old and likely is the third largest silver maple in the county, Cabage said. Cabage decided to finally remove the tree from her property due to storms with heavy wind and rain that Jackson County has experienced the last few weeks. With the tree so old, Cabage said she was worried it or its limbs would fall onto nearby homes, she said. “This was such a danger to our house and our neighbor’s house, it just had to come down,” she said. “With the storms we’ve had, we don’t want it to come down on our neighbor’s house…”

Columbia, Oregon, The Columbian, September 26, 2021: Delayed mortality expected for Pacific Northwest trees

The effects of the drought and heat on trees won’t be fully known until next spring, tree experts in Oregon say. Oregon State University professor and forest health specialist Dave Shaw told The Oregonian/OregonLive that there’s typically delayed mortality associated with drought. But rain is predicted this weekend. “It will definitely be a good thing for the forests,” Shaw said. “But we won’t really know how the trees did this year until next spring, as we often see delayed mortality associated with drought.” All of Oregon is experiencing drought ranging from severe to exceptional, the worst category. Leaves on some trees are turning brown instead of the traditional fall colors before falling to the ground. Extreme conditions like these are often from a combination of unusual random, short-term and natural weather patterns heightened by long-term, human-caused climate change. Scientists have long warned that the weather will get wilder as the world warms…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 23, 2021: That tree blocks my view, so it’s got to go.  Pacific Heights resident wins dispute over neighbor’s pine

Trees are among nature’s wonders — but a neighbor’s growing arbor can also eliminate a resident’s treasured scenic views. Now a state appeals court, relying on a San Francisco ordinance that seeks to resolve treetop feuds, has ordered a Pacific Heights couple to take down a sprouting Monterey pine that stands between their next-door neighbor’s home and the bay. The neighbor, now 81, moved into the San Francisco home with her now-deceased husband in 1976 and testified that they chose the site largely because of its unobstructed view of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and lands to the north. The pine was planted next door by a prior resident in 1999 and, by the time the case went to trial in 2019, had grown to 30 to 32 feet, with widening, thickly growing branches. “The tree’s rapid growth in both height and breadth obstructs the views of landmarks and vistas that could once be seen” from the neighbor’s ground floor, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ross, who had visited the site during the non-jury trial, said in a December 2019 order to remove the pine under San Francisco’s 1988 Tree Dispute Resolution Ordinance…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, KRQE-TV, September 23, 2021: “I’ve never seen anything like it”: Cibola Co. residents concerned about number of dying trees

Trees are dying off fast in a New Mexico forest. Now, neighbors are worried it’s creating a more than 50,000-acre fire hazard. ine Meadow Ranches in Cibola County is a remote subdivision a few miles away from the El Morro National Monument. “See the little ones are getting it now, that’s only happened in the last few weeks,” said resident Danny Heim while pointing out the trees. Heim keeps an eye out on the trees. “See those that are light,” Heim said. “Those are going to be dead in a few days just like these.” Heim is concerned their trees are dying at an alarming rate. He said at least half of the pinon trees within a 5,000-acre radius are dead or dying. “Last year, you wouldn’t have seen nothing, anything like this,” said Heim. “I mean you would’ve seen a dead one here and there, more typical you’ll see a dead pinon every now and but like this no I’ve never seen anything like it. Most all of this happened this summer…”

St. Cloud, Minnesota, Times, September 23, 2031: Your trees were stressed this summer. Don’t expect them to perform for you this fall

You think you’re stressed this fall? Try being a tree. Central Minnesota’s significant summer drought means Central Minnesota’s peak fall colors are expected to shine less brightly than usual and leave faster, DNR Cooperative Forest Management Outreach Specialist Jennifer Teegarden said this week. Most of Minnesota experienced extreme drought this summer, and St. Cloud clocked its 13th driest summer on record. “Healthy leaves produce the best fall colors,” Teegarden said. A mild drought can actually help produce better fall color, Teegarden said. But this year, trees had “a double whammy” — the trees themselves were water-stressed, and their leaves were stressed, too. Central Minnesota typically experiences peak fall color in late September through early October. Teegarden said peak color might not last as long as early October. The DNR’s fall colors map, updated Sept. 22, shows the St. Cloud area at about 25-50% of fall color. Leaves release water vapor through small pores called stomates. When a tree is thirsty, it can conserve water by shedding leaves early. It can also essentially shut the leaf down so it is no longer functioning properly (and not releasing water). But “in the process of shutting the leaf down, the leaf no longer has the ability to go through photosynthesis,” Teegarden said…

San Jose, California, Mercury News, September 23, 2021: Sequoia National Park fire: First photos show park’s most famous trees have so far survived

Fires have been burning for two weeks in Sequoia National Park and Sequoia National Forest, two of California’s iconic landmarks. Late Wednesday, National Park Service officials finally allowed press photographers into the Giant Forest, a spectacular grove that contains five of the largest trees in the world by volume, including the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest, which is 275 feet tall, at least 2,300 years old, and 102 feet around at the base. The photos — the first since the flames entered the Giant Forest last Friday — show that the General Sherman Tree and several others, known as the Four Guardsmen, have so far survived. Fire crews wrapped the massive trees in fireproof blankets and cleared flammable vegetation from around them. The grove also has benefitted from 50 years of thinning projects and prescribed fires done by park service crews so that if a major wildfire broke out, flames would stay close to the ground. Other groves of giant sequoias in the park and in Sequoia National Forest have not had that work done and are at greater risk in the two fires, known as the KNP Complex and the Windy Fire…

Los Angeles, California, KNBC-TV, September 22, 2021: One Tree at a Time: LA Cooling Underprivileged Urban Areas

The goal is to plant 90,000 trees across Los Angeles by the end of this year and increase the tree canopy in areas of greatest need 50% by 2028. It is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Green New Plan. It is an ambitious multi-pronged strategy to fight climate change. The city hired its first Forest Officer, Rachel Malarich, to oversee the process that involves non-profit organizations, universities, and volunteers. “Our goal is to have trees providing benefits to all of our residents,” Malarich said. So far more than 52,000 trees have been planted, the city admittedly behind. The COVID-19 pandemic put a pause to shovels in the ground. The work is now picking up, planting and educating people in areas like Boyle Heights on how to care for trees planted in their neighborhoods. “Whenever we come and give water to it, it will continue to grow more and more,” one volunteer told NBC4. “If it’s a house, if it’s an apartment to give shade, you don’t have to use your air conditioning as much,” another volunteer at a recent planting event in Koreatown said…

Huffington Post, September 22, 2021: Trump Administration Broke The Law In Refusing To Protect Joshua Trees, Court Rules

A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration violated the law when it declined to grant Endangered Species Act protections to the iconic Joshua tree. In 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a petition from WildEarth Guardians to list the desert trees as threatened under the landmark 1972 conservation law. The agency said at the time that it analyzed a number of potential impacts, including drought, wildfire and climate change, and found that neither of the two species of Joshua trees, Yucca brevifolia or Yucca jaegeriana, warranted federal protection. U.S. District Judge Otis Wright, an appointee of President George W. Bush, slammed the federal agency in his Wednesday opinion and sided with WildEarth Guardians, which argued that the federal agency disregarded science showing the myriad ways in which climate impacts threaten the trees’ long-term survival…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, September 22, 2021: Darien residents pan Eversource’s tree plan, say it will cause more flooding

Residents repeatedly said they supported the need for a safe and reliable power grid, but they publicly questioned Eversource’s approach with its plan to clear-cut trees. “While I share the critical importance of Eversource’s goal of a resilient and reliable electric grid, as Darien’s first selectman I wish to be on the record as objecting to clear-cutting vegetation as an effective utility resilience measure,” Jayme Stevenson said at a virtual public hearing on Tuesday. “Electric utility resilience measures must be balanced against impacts to the natural environment and impacts to residential property values.” The hearing dealt with Eversource’s vegetation management plan in Darien and drew about 100 people. None of the nearly 20 residents who spoke supported the plan. The tree warden has three days to make a decision about the trees slated for removal in the town right-of-way on Little Brook Road and Raymond Street…

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sun-Sentinel, September 17, 2021: Regal rain tree is priceless. But if old giant dies in move, developer owes city $1 million.

Long before skyscrapers came to town, a majestic rain tree has grown tall and proud for nearly a century, bringing beauty and a touch of controversy to a quiet spot in downtown Fort Lauderdale destined for development. Soon enough, the same ground where the tree now stands will become home to twin 30-story towers, shiny and modern with 771 luxury apartments along with boutique shops and fancy restaurants. The tree, planted nearly 100 years ago and now soaring 70 feet into the air, will need to be moved to a new spot to make way for the project — and some worry it won’t survive. Over the years, the prospect of losing the evergreen to yet another high-rise has sent neighbors into a frenzy. Now they’re atwitter all over again in what for many is a déjà vu moment. For some, the rain tree has become a symbol of the ongoing conflict between the old and the new, between developers driving downtown’s fast-paced growth and preservationists compelled to save a tree they say can never be replaced…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, September 21, 2021: 4 famous giant trees unharmed by Sequoia National Park fire

Four famous giant sequoias were not harmed by a wildfire that reached the edge of Giant Forest in California’s Sequoia National Park, authorities said. The Four Guardsmen, a group of trees that form a natural entryway on the road to the forest, were successfully protected from the KNP Complex fire by the removal of nearby vegetation and by wrapping fire-resistant material around the bases of the trees, the firefighting management team said in a statement Sunday. The KNP Complex began as two lightning-sparked fires that eventually merged and has scorched more than 37 square miles (96 square kilometers) in the heart of sequoia country on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. There was no immediate word, however, on the full extent of damage in several other sequoia groves reached by a separate blaze, the Windy Fire, in the Giant Sequoia National Monument area of Sequoia National Forest and the Tule River Indian Reservation. The Windy Fire has burned through the Peyrone and Red Hill groves, as well as a portion of the Long Meadow Grove along the Trail of 100 Giants. A portion of one giant sequoia along the trail was confirmed to have burned, said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the fire command. Fire crews with hoses and water-dropping helicopters were working to limit damage to the giant sequoias in the groves, where there are also other types of trees…

Pensacola, Florida, News Journal, September 21, 2021: Appeal to save Escambia County’s largest ‘heritage tree’ fails

Environmental advocates lost their fight to try to save an 85-inch diameter live oak Monday when the Escambia County Board of Adjustment ruled unanimously that they lacked standing to appeal the county’s decision allowing the protected tree to be cut down. During a four-hour, quasi-judicial hearing Monday that was at times chaotic and contentious, the Board of Adjustment ruled that neither Emerald Coastkeeper nor tree advocate Margaret Hostetter had standing to appeal the county’s decision. Because of the decision over the lack of standing, the Board of Adjustment did not get to hear any arguments challenging the Development Review Committee’s decision in August to approve a development order for a self-storage building that required the removal of the protected tree. The owners of A+ Mini-Storage, W. M. Bell Co. of Santa Rosa County LLC, are planning to expand the A+ Mini-Storage location in Brent on Palafox Street and bought the neighboring property…

Horticulture, September 21, 2021: Why Tree Leaves Change Color in Autumn

For deciduous trees and shrubs, the warmth and abundant sunshine of summer is the time to be productive. Leaves come out in the spring with the job of absorbing sunlight. They use the sun’s energy to produce food, glucose sugar. But these leaves are relatively fragile. They could never withstand the below-freezing temperatures of winter, so the plant “knows” to shed them in the fall. (Evergreens, on the other hand, have stronger leaves, even with their own antifreeze inside, so they can withstand the winter cold.) The green we see in leaves is chlorophyll, the pigment that absorbs sunlight. But there are other pigments in leaves, with different colors. Carotenoids are always present in plant leaves, but their colors are masked by the chlorophyll green. When chlorophyll production slows and eventually stops in autumn, the yellow, orange or brown of the carotenoids can shine through. Anthocyanin is another pigment, one that is primarily produced in the fall by only some plants. Those that have it display brilliant red and purple leaves. Pigmentation varies by species, as does the timing of the color change, thus we can get a varying panorama of colors in the autumn. Deciduous trees and shrubs have two cues they use to stop producing chlorophyll and shed their leaves. When the days become shorter and the nights longer in fall, it’s a sure sign of colder temperatures to come. This is the prime cue plants use, because it is consistent year after year. The other signal is the actual decrease in overnight temperatures. This is a secondary cue, since temperature is dependent on weather patterns that can vary…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, September 21, 2021: ‘Torture Orchard’ At UC Davis Stresses Trees To Find Which Ones Are Drought Tolerant

It’s come to be known as a “torture orchard” – researchers stressing trees to determine which are drought tolerant and design varieties for commercial food production. “When it comes to overhead irrigation, there’s a lot of water on the plants – a lot of water on the roots – and this is going to encourage disease,” said Thomas Gradziel, a plant breeder. Gradziel goes with the flow when it comes to water and what it does to plants and trees. “With drip irrigation with smaller trees, we’re getting that water directly to the roots,” Gradziel said. He walked us through an almond orchard outside Winters part of a research facility for UC Davis. On the 80 acres they have 20 different varieties of trees and 30,000 seedling trees and they test those and pick the best ones based on production, quality and tolerance to adversity – things like drought and pests. “Our goal in terms of breeding new varieties is a future variety that can produce consistently 2000 pounds per two acre feet of water,” Gradziel said…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 20, 2021: What likely saved the General Sherman Tree from the KNP Complex Fire

California’s iconic General Sherman Tree and many other behemoth trees in Sequoia National Park were still standing Monday morning, authorities said. The KNP Complex wildfire threatened the park’s so-called Giant Forest in recent days, especially Saturday when the blaze exploded, but the trees, which are a popular tourist attraction, escaped flames. Garret said activity on the KNP Complex escalated Saturday when an inversion layer lifted and winds picked up. “The flame lengths went from 20 feet to 100 feet down to a couple feet when they hit the prescribed burn area,” he said. “The fire skirted all around the west side of the Giant Forest up there, went up past Lodge Pole and the Wuksachi Lodge.” It seemed like a miracle of sorts, but Mark Garrett, a fire information officer for the National Park Service, said there’s an explanation for why these trees survived — and that’s prescribed burns. More than 400 acres around the General Sherman Tree underwent a prescribed burn as recently as 2019, Garrett said. Prescribed burns, in which fires are set intentionally and monitored closely, can maintain the health of a forest and prevent overgrowth of vegetation that can intensify fires…

NPR, September 20, 2021: Climate Change Is Killing Trees And Causing Power Outages

On a hill in Oakland, CA, Igor Lacan looks out from under his Stetson hat at the neighborhood below and begins listing trees. “Maples to birches to plums to liquid amber,” says Lacan, horticulture advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension. “A cedar. I see some palms, and then you’ve got a monkey puzzle up here!” In between the trees is a criss-crossing web of power lines, delivering electricity to the houses below. Lacan works as an advisor for California utilities like PG&E, and he says while most of the trees seem to be flourishing, that’s not true for some nearby acacias. He points upwards to a spiral of dead bark hanging off an acacia branch. “If you can see the wood underneath, which in this case you can, that’s typically a sign that that part of the tree is dead. Which is why we didn’t stand under that branch…”

Business Insider, September 20, 2021: Heatwaves and droughts have decimated some Christmas tree crops, and industry groups are warning of impending shortages: ‘Find and buy your Christmas tree early’

You may have a harder time than usual finding a live Christmas tree this holiday season. Christmas-tree-growers in the Pacific Northwest have seen their crops decimated this year due to drought and heat waves. One grower, Mark Wonser, recently told The Oregonian that he estimates he’s lost 90% of his Christmas tree crop this year due to extreme heat. He said he planted 13,500 trees this past May, only to see nine acres scorched in the heat. Christmas trees typically take between eight and 12 years to reach maturity, meaning that the decimation of this year’s seedlings could be felt as late as 2029 and beyond. Jacob Hemphill, a grower based in Oregon City, Oregon, told The New York Times in July that his seedlings were wiped out by heat waves and that many of his mature trees were damaged too – he estimated the destruction could cost him upwards for $100,000. “The second day of the heat, it was 116. I came in the driveway that night and seen the trees were basically cooking. Burnt down to nothing,” Hemphill told Reuters…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KITV, September 20, 2021: How common is tree failure in Hawaii?

Several people are still recovering from serious injuries after a huge tree branch fell on them this weekend. The accident happened in Waikiki, but what is the likelihood of it happening elsewhere? A big tree is great for providing shade on a sunny day, but if not properly cared for and monitored, trees can also do serious damage to those underneath or around them. Along with trees losing leaves, branches will also sometimes come down naturally. “Trees they will drop branches. They do self pruning. They will have branches that die and they will drop,” said Oahu arborist Kevin Eckert. Strong winds can also suddenly bring down branches. Heavy rains can wash away soil and weaken the hold a tree has, leading to it toppling over. The collapse of a banyan branch in Waikiki was also a sudden damaging event, but the failure of the tree could have been a long time coming. according to Eckert. “Barring disease, pests, and digging – it takes time as trees grow they get larger, more exposed to wind, and their branches get longer…”

Los Angeles, California, Times, September 19, 2021: Sequoia National Park’s General Sherman tree, one of largest in the world, still safe amid growing wildfire

Firefighters battling a major wildfire in Sequoia National Park had some good news to report on Sunday: General Sherman — the giant sequoia and one of the largest living trees in the world — is still standing. The 21,777-acre lighting-sparked wildfire — dubbed the KNP Complex fire after the Colony and Paradise fires merged into one — grew by more than 3,900 acres overnight, but officials said Sunday that hundreds of firefighters have valiantly kept key areas of the forest under control. The park is east of Fresno. In an upbeat report Sunday, fire officials said they were feeling fairly confident about protecting the Giant Forest, home to thousands of towering sequoias. Numerous well-established walking trails meander through this iconic part of the park, so firefighters have been able to move around and work from multiple locations. In addition, the museum and all the infrastructure around the General Sherman tree are equipped with sprinklers, which firefighters have been running nonstop to ensure that the area stays wet. The ancient sequoia, a major tourist draw for the park, is 275 feet tall and over 2,000 years old. It is considered the largest known tree in the world by volume…

Youngstown, Ohio, Vindicator, September 19, 2021: Prune but keep your tree safe

Q: I have a large maple with a very low branch that needs pruning. The branch is about 14 inches in diameter. Can I cut it off without harming the tree?
A: Well, it depends. It depends on what tools you have to remove the branch and how you go about the pruning. A branch of this size requires the use of a chainsaw for proper removal. But, that’s just the start of planning to make the pruning cut since the branch is so large. Consider leaving the branch. Is it really in the way of something else you need the area for? Are there ways to landscape or mulch under the branch as to avoid removal? The only things to avoid is planting flowers close to the trunk and piling up topsoil or mulch around the trunk. Think of all the reasons you want to get rid of the branch compared to the possibilities of leaving it alone. Then, if the branch still requires removal, think about your ability to cut such a large branch. Pruning incorrectly can be detrimental to the tree…

Northampton, Massachusetts, Daily Hampshire Gazette, September 19, 2021: A tree worth preserving: UMass students get close-up lesson in the battle against Dutch elm disease

The patient stood approximately 80 feet high and somewhere over 17 feet in circumference at its base, depending on where you placed a tape measure. Its age? Probably close to 100 years, maybe more. To the untrained eye, this stately elm tree — known as the Grayson elm — at 111 Sunset Ave. in Amherst, looked reasonably healthy, with a full canopy of branches and leaves, though perhaps its lower bark was a little ragged. But this elm, just like so many others across the country, is battling Dutch elm disease, a plague that arrived in the U.S. in the late 1920s/early 1930s and within about five decades proceeded to destroy over 80% of the nation’s elm trees, according to some sources. The disease is caused by a fungus, spread by bark beetles that burrow into the trees; the fungus blocks water movement in a tree, causing its foliage to wilt and eventually die. The whole elm can then follow. But there are ways to fight the disease and to preserve elms, as an arborist explained last week to a group of University of Massachusetts students who gathered at the Amherst tree for a demonstration of one of the treatment methods…

Colorado Springs, Colorado, Gazette, September 20, 2021: The aspen connection: A meditation of Colorado’s favorite fall tree

Paul Rogers may go far, all the way to central Europe from his northern Utah home, but he’s never far from his muse. After all, aspens are among the world’s most widespread tree. This month in Czechia, aspens were indeed Rogers’ focus — as they have been for other scholarly retreats over his 20-plus years of research. Rogers is director of Utah State University’s Western Aspen Alliance, an informational clearinghouse for the tree garnering admiration every fall. For the start of the shimmering show in the American West, Rogers found himself abroad, studying a species different from the “quaking” one known here. But many things were the same. For one: “I never meet anyone, public or professional, who doesn’t say this is their favorite tree,” Rogers said in a Zoom call. “You know, for centuries, both in this continent where I’m sitting and where you’re sitting, people have gone to aspen forests for meditative or healing purposes…”

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2021: Fires in Sequoia National Forest Close Park, Threatens Giant Trees

A pair of wildfires burning in the Sequoia National Forest in California ballooned in size this week, threatening famous giant sequoia trees and prompting new evacuation advisories for the area. More than 300 firefighters were working to control the KNP Complex Fire, which includes the Paradise and Colony fires. The blazes, sparked by a lightning storm late last week, grew to 7,039 acres by Wednesday with no containment. Firefighters struggled to contain flames burning in hard-to-reach areas, and had to predominantly rely on aircraft to spread fire retardant. The Colony, the smaller of the two fires, has burned within a mile of the Giant Forest, said Rebecca Paterson, a fire information specialist for the KNP Complex Fire. The forest—home to the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest tree—is the most famous and well-traveled of the giant sequoia groves across this part of the state. The fire could burn at least partially into the grove, which includes 2,000 giant sequoias, Ms. Paterson said. But decades of prescribed burning in the area may moderate any potential devastation. “There’s definitely reason for optimism that those treatments are going to have really good positive effects in the Giant Forest, if the Colony Fire does reach that area,” she said…

Seattle, Washington, KUOW Radio, September 16, 2021: Seattle voters back stronger tree protections in recent poll

Supporters of stronger tree protection regulations in Seattle say most voters are on their side, according to newly released poll results. They’re hoping the findings help spur a long-awaited city ordinance. In July, the Northwest Progressive Institute surveyed 617 likely Seattle voters about issues in the primary election. They also asked voters about tree canopy. Of the people surveyed, 81% said they support stronger rules requiring developers to keep more existing trees, and 82% want increased tree planting in low-income neighborhoods (82%). Institute Director Andrew Villeneuve said these questions got the most favorable response of any issue in the survey. “Those are really robust findings – anytime you have a poll finding up in the 80s in total, which we do in this case, it really shows that voters have reached an accord in terms of where they are on the issue.” A slightly smaller majority supported specific proposals like adding tree replacement requirements, and creating a city tree planting and preservation fund. Creation of a permitting process for removal of significant trees had the narrowest support, at 57%…

Boulder, Colorado, Weekly, September 16, 2021: Core values—Boulder’s unique apple corps IDs heirloom trees, harvests backyard fruit and turns fruit into hard cider

If you haven’t noticed it yet in the heat and haze of our prolonged summer, Boulder’s apple trees are in their ninth month. They are limb-breaking-ly heavy with fruit and the black bears are loving it. Early rain, prolonged heat and lack of a killer freeze means an epic year for apples, and this is the big apple week in Boulder. This week, the Boulder Apple Tree Project is tagging hundreds of historic heirloom trees while Community Fruit Rescue is harvesting backyard trees to supply food banks, and if you bring your home-harvested apples to BOCO Cider, they’ll transform them into delicious hard cider. You could also bake a pie. How did Boulder end up so overloaded with apple trees? That simple question inspired Katharine Suding—a University of Colorado professor and scientist—to form a multi-disciplinary team to answer it, says Amy Dunbar-Wallace, project coordinator for the Boulder Apple Tree Project. Basically, if you now live in a neighborhood from North Boulder to south of Table Mesa, your front lawn used to be a fruit orchard…

Houston, Texas, KHOU-TV, September 16, 2021: World’s largest tree wrapped in fire-resistant blanket as California wildfires rage

Firefighters wrapped the base of the world’s largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket as they tried to save a famous grove of gigantic old-growth sequoias from wildfires burning Thursday in California’s rugged Sierra Nevada. The colossal General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest, some of the other sequoias, the Giant Forest Museum and other buildings were wrapped as protection against the possibility of intense flames, fire spokeswoman Rebecca Paterson said. The aluminum wrapping can withstand intensive heat for short periods. Federal officials say they have been using the material for several years throughout the U.S. West to protect sensitive structures from flames. Homes near Lake Tahoe that were wrapped in protective material survived while others nearby were destroyed. The Colony Fire, one of two burning in Sequoia National Park, was expected to reach the Giant Forest, a grove of 2,000 sequoias, at some point Thursday. It comes after a wildfire killed thousands of sequoias, some as tall as high-rises and thousands of years old, in the region last year…

Durango, Colorado, Herald, September 15, 2021: City of Durango cuts down cottonwood; residents hold ‘funeral’ for tree’s demise

Residents of the Animas City neighborhood gathered Wednesday in north Durango to hold a “funeral”/protest over the removal of a large cottonwood tree that was cut down Wednesday morning by the city. “My tax dollars are going toward bringing this beautiful tree down right now, and that breaks my heart,” said Jules Harris, a resident of the Animas City neighborhood. The tree, near the corner of 32nd Street and East Third Avenue, was removed to make way for the Animas River Trail underpass project. Several residents advocated on behalf of keeping the tree. About 20 people showed up Wednesday morning, many wearing black and holding “R.I.P.” signs as it was cut down. Some protesters shed tears…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2021: Christmas Tree Sellers Hit by Supply-Chain Disruptions

Supply-chain disruptions will make decking the halls more expensive than ever for consumers looking for artificial trees this Christmas.Some U.S. retailers are raising prices by 20% to 25% to keep pace with skyrocketing shipping costs and they are warning that certain trees could sell out early because deliveries from overseas producers have been hit by the congestion that has tied up distribution networks from ports in China to freight yards in Chicago. Balsam Hill, a Redwood City, Calif., company that sells medium- to high-end trees online and in stores, is raising prices by 20% on average, with list prices for some of its trees pushing close to and beyond the $1,000 level it charges for its premium trees. “We’ve never raised prices anywhere close to that in our history and will make way less money,” said Mac Harman, the firm’s chief executive. The company’s 7 ½-foot tall Brewer Spruce with clear LED lights is listed at $999 this year, up from $899 last Christmas. Its 4½-foot tall Grand Canyon Cedar tree with clear fairy lights will list at $499, up from $300 last season, as soon as it is in stock…

Seattle, Washington, KING-TV, September 15, 2021: Montlake residents breathe sigh of relief after hazardous tree removal

Two large poplar trees that once stood in Seattle’s West Montlake Park are gone after one fell naturally and the other was removed by the city. “There was sort of a relatively minor wind storm and this tree just fell in the water,” Caleb Wilkinson said. Residents who live in the neighborhood, adjacent to the Seattle Yacht Club, urged the city to consider removing the trees that sit at the edge of the water overlooking Portage Bay. One of the trees overturned and fell into the water in early August, according Wilkinson, who along with fellow neighbors, discovered the fallen tree the next morning after they assumed it fell. The fallen tree barely missed a park bench. “I call it a dead body in the water, it’s a huge poplar tree,” said Caleb’s father, Rob Wilkinson, who said he has lived in the neighborhood for at least 40 years. Wilkinson guesses each poplar weighs at least a dozen tons and was concerned if children were near the water…

Houston, Texas, KPRC-TV, September 16, 2021: How to clean up tree debris after a storm

Removing a tree can be a very stressful process. Without insurance, the average price per tree costs between $700 to $1200. There are a few good reasons why experts say it’s best to leave it to them. On Wednesday, KPRC 2 tagged along with a company called Nature’s Tree Removal of Houston as they began day one of a three-day job removing seven pine trees from a yard. The homeowner said he was fearful that future storms could bring the trees down onto his house. Some homeowners left with dead trees after Hurricane Nicholas may not have a choice, but arborist Adrian Arechiga said it’s important to have an expert come out to be sure the tree is actually dead and not just in need of proper care. “You could inject the ground with fertilizer. There’s a lot of things you could do to make the tree come back to life,” Arechiga said. For those still needing to rid your yards of thin twigs and branches, there are some important steps to take…


Essex, Connecticut, Patch, September 13, 2021, Tree Controversy Ensues In Essex

According to long-time Essex Tree Warden Augie Pampel, if a formal complaint is received involving the removal of a tree in town, he must call a public hearing on the issue. That is exactly what has happened regarding a large tree set to come down at 36 Main Street in downtown Essex. One resident sent an email to Pampel contesting the removal of this tree. Others have taken to The People of Essex Facebook page to express concerns for and against the tree’s removal, questioning if the tree is healthy or diseased and if it is dangerous or not? One post reads, “Looks like they have some nice new ones planned on either side of the tree. I doubt they aren’t cutting the tree down without having a good reason…”

Los Angeles, California, KCBS-TV, September 13, 2021: Large Tree Falls Onto Woman’s Car As She Is Driving In Valley Village Neighborhood

A woman is recovering Monday after a huge tree came crashing down as she was driving in Valley Village. The accident happened Sunday near West Huston Street at about 11:40 a.m. The woman was approaching Huston when the giant tree fell over and landed on her car. The woman was able to get herself out of her car, and witnesses say she seemed OK – but she was taken to a hospital as a precaution. The tree’s fall ripped its roots out of one side of the street and left it sprawled across the roadway, on top of the car, and its branches in the bed of of a parked pick-up truck that was unoccupied at the time. Neighbors were stunned by the tree’s collapse, but some were not…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, September 14, 2021: Dogwood, tupelo, ironwood: Meet the best native trees for Chicago-area yards, with biodiversity in mind

Removing a tree, whether because of storm damage, disease, pests or decay, is a loss — but it’s also an opportunity. “When you replace a tree, you have a chance to choose a species that will diversify your neighborhood,” said Julie Janoski, Plant Clinic manager at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. In the past, communities and homeowners have planted too many of the same kinds of trees — especially elms, ashes and maples. “That made our elms and ashes sitting ducks for disease and pests,” she said. “Now we know that planting many different species can prevent one single problem from killing off so many of our trees.” Janoski recommends that before selecting a new tree, homeowners take a walk and note the species that are already growing along nearby streets and in neighbors’ yards. “You’ll probably notice a high concentration of some kinds of trees, such as honey locusts and maples,” she said. “For your own yard, mix it up by choosing a kind of tree you don’t see growing nearby…”

Lincoln, Nebraska, Journal Star, September 11, 2021: Sarah Browning: Fall is best time to plant new trees

Fall is the best time of year to plant new trees, from early September through late October. Fall’s cooler temperatures and increased rain allow trees to establish their root systems quickly, giving them a jump-start on spring growth. Tree root growth continues late in fall, until soil temperatures drop below 40 degrees. But growing healthy trees that will provide beauty, shade and wind protection for your property long-term, means getting them off to a good start by avoiding common problems at planting. More than ever before, tree experts know that half the battle in long-term tree success is addressing potential problems before the tree is in the ground. What problems, you ask? Isn’t the tree I bought in perfect condition to be planted? Maybe. But increasingly the horticulture industry recognizes that production methods we use to grow trees in containers or in the field can cause problems for trees down the road…

Denver, Colorado, KUSA-TV, September 7, 2021: Here’s how investigators found the tree that started the Black Mountain Fire

After determining that lightning ignited the Black Mountain Fire, investigators have shared photos of the tree where they think the fire began. Images shared Friday show a tree struck by lightning that investigators say caused the fire. The bark and wood had separated from the tree, and the tree was split at the bottom, common evidence of a lightning strike. With the Black Mountain Fire burning just a few miles away from the East Troublesome Fire burn scar, many have wondered why the cause of this new fire was found so much faster. The East Troublesome Fire, which ignited Oct. 14, 2020, was determined to be human-caused, but fire officials have not released any further information. Mike De Fries, spokesperson for the incident management team working the Black Mountain Fire, emphasized that he could not speak to the cause of the East Troublesome Fire. However, he explained that determining the cause of the Black Mountain Fire fire in less than a week was possible because of a number of specific circumstances…

Madison, Wisconsin, Capital Times, September 6, 2021: Must love trees: Arbor Systems thrives on teamwork and tree passion

When Jeff Olson met a guy in Hoyt Park and caught a ride with him to Texas in 1981, he was a 19-year-old Madison West High School graduate with a backpack in his lap and $150 in his pocket. When he returned 15 years later, he was a trained horticulturist and the founder of a successful Dallas tree care business that trimmed and removed trees for the likes of future president George W. Bush and business magnate Ross Perot. When he moved back to Wisconsin with his wife and kids, he’d sold the company. He planned to take a year off to consider his options; he liked working with trees, but the years he’d spent climbing had worn him out. After so long away, he was eager to spend a winter deer hunting. But on a hunting trip in Barneveld, on that first winter back home, he fell from a deer stand. The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down — and unsure what was next…

San Jose, California, Mercury News, September 7, 2021: Majestic sequoia trees can live for thousands of years. Climate change could wipe them out

Almost everything about a sequoia tree is giant: It can grow to more than 200 feet tall and live longer than 3,000 years. Yet the sequoia’s footprint is shrinking, as human-induced climate change threatens this ancient tree’s survival. Sequoias were once found across the Northern Hemisphere, but today, they only naturally grow across the western slopes of the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. So when the Castle Fire broke out in August 2020, and merged with another fire to tear through more than 174,000 acres over four months, the loss was something even experts didn’t think possible — somewhere between 7,500 to 10,600 mature giant sequoias were destroyed, according to a report by the National Park Service, published in June. That’s 10-14% of the entire world’s population of mature sequoias — a big chunk of history up in flames. “They stood for a couple of thousand years before ancient Rome, before Christ,” Clay Jordan, superintendent of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, told CNN. “I mean, these trees were mature.” There are only around 48,000 acres of sequoia groves left in the world, and the trees are now facing threats from human-made climate change in several ways…

Chicago, Illinois, WBBM-TV, September 7, 2021: Logan Square Woman Fights To Save 100-Year-Old Catalpa Tree Set To Be Cut Down For Water Pipe Replacement, And Other Trees Like It

This story is about one tree, but a tree that represents a bigger problem. A Logan Square resident is fighting to save a catalpa tree on her street, even though the city says workers need to replace water pipes and thus, the tree has to go. As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, things may now be on pause – at least for the time being. The tree is about 100 years old. Emma Poelsterl is on a mission to save it, and her alderman is now helping the fight too. “Some people have stopped and looked up for quite a while,” Poelsterl said. People gaze skyward at the catalpa’s canopy because of a note that Poelsterl taped to its trunk about a week ago. The note informed neighbors and passersby that the tree was slated to be chopped down by Chicago’s Bureau of Forestry. Poelsterl put up the note after getting a notice from the city saying the tree was “hindering progress” and “must be removed” because of upcoming work on the water pipes below. “I started to get passionate about not only this tree – which I love dearly and is very personal to me – but also thinking about all the mature trees of Chicago,” she said…

Omaha, Nebraska, World, September 5, 2021: Mulhall’s, Keep Omaha Beautiful work together to encourage residents to plant trees

With the fall planting season approaching, the Omaha community is looking to replace trees that fell in the July 10 storm. One local garden center is supporting the effort and encouraging the community to do the same. In the weeks after the storm, for every tree sold at Mulhall’s Garden + Home, the company donated $10 to Keep Omaha Beautiful in support of the Trees for Omaha initiative. With more than $4,100 toward the effort, that’s enough to support the supplies, labor and other costs to plant roughly 20 additional trees in public parks and right-of-ways across the community and maintain them during their critical first year of establishment. Keep Omaha Beautiful estimates that over their lifetime, the additional trees will sequester 185,715 pounds of CO2, prevent 333,835 gallons of storm-water runoff and remove 600 pounds of air pollutants…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat Gazette, September 4, 2021: Large tree shedding leaves could benefit from extra water, but is not cause for concern

Q: Our very large post oak is dropping brown leaves. How much water is enough?
A: Large trees can use copious amounts of water. Some parts of our state have had little rainfall the past month. Starting to water now to make up for dry conditions will help but not stop early leaf shed. The fact that the tree is dropping leaves is a good thing. It just means it is shutting down its season a tad early. Post oaks are usually pretty tough. We are definitely seeing signs of drought stress in landscapes across Central Arkansas, especially in yards that have had no supplemental watering…

Miami, Florida, WSVN-TV, September 5, 2021: Tree planted in pothole to protest road conditions on Fort Myers street

Someone in Fort Myers took matters into their own hands when they planted a tree in a pothole to protest the roadway’s poor conditions. Area residents were surprised to find the outlandish sight in the middle of the road earlier this weekend. “They literally put a whole tree in the middle of the road,” said a resident. “I pulled up, and I’m like, ‘Is that really a tree in the middle of the road?’” said Fort Myers resident John Hulker. “I took two takes. I was like, ‘What? What? What is this?’” said local business owner Scott Shine. “Me and my wife started instantly laughing,” said area resident Nicholas Angus. But the tree is no laughing matter, and neither is the pothole where it’s growing. Cars driving down this road have to either veer left or right to get around the tree — just like they have to do if they see the pothole in time. “The tree is actually kind of making it harder to get around the next pothole that’s right next to it,” said Angus, “because I usually just drive over the pothole, but now that there’s a big tree, you can’t drive through a big tree…”

Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch, September 5, 2021: Plant Primer: Bur oak trees boast acorns that mature in autumn

The bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is a noble native tree. This oak has large (5- to 9-inch-long), dark-green leaves. The base fiddle-shaped leaves have deep, rounded sinuses. The acorns are most notable for the deep-fringed cups, with only a small portion of the nut showing. The acorns mature in one season, ripening in early- to mid-autumn. The common name is due to the acorns’ resemblance to the spiny bur (or husk) of the chestnut. The bark is a grayish-brown color, with deep ridges and vertical fissures. Bur oaks have an open canopy with a large trunk that supports horizontal limbs. This tree will often be wider than it is tall, making it a great tree for large spaces and less suitable for a small garden. The bur oak is tolerant of many soil conditions, even the occasional drought or flood…

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times, September 2, 2021: What is the fall foliage forecast for Western North Carolina’s mountains? Experts weigh in

Local experts say the leaves in Western North Carolina are on track to reach their peak yellows and oranges that draw tourists to Western North Carolina in mid-October. “The trees are in good shape, and the leaves look nice. It depends now what the weather does through September and early October,” said Howard Neufeld, professor of plant eco-physiology at Appalachian State University in Boone, who also runs the “Fall Color Guy” Facebook page. The National Weather Service predicts slightly above-average temperatures during the week of Sept. 5 with highs in the low 80s and lows in the high 50s, low 60s. Asheville’s average temperatures in September are about 79 degrees at the highest and 58 degrees at the lowest, according to a National Centers for Environmental Information weather analysis from 1991-2020. Climatologist Rebecca Ward with the State Climate Office, said temperatures should be to their average point by mid-September. But if warm weather persists through the month, not only would WNC’s fall colors be delayed, but the tones could also be less vibrant, Ward said…

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, September 2, 2021: Huge tree growing in kitchen didn’t stump Gulfport buyers

“Keep Gulfport Weird” is practically a town motto, found on bumper stickers all over, so it’s fitting that a home listing there landed on the “Zillow Gone Wild” Facebook page. Look past the marble countertops and waterfront view, and there is a giant tree growing in the kitchen with its top sprouting through the roof. Now that tree has new owners, Greg and Linda Simek, who bought the 2,874 square-foot waterfront house for $899,000. Questions like “How did this happen?” and “What are you going to do with that thing in your kitchen?” can finally be answered. The family of Michelle Pillucere Clark, 53, a hair stylist in downtown St. Petersburg, lived in the home from 1963 until 1983. She was not happy with snotty comments online about a house her father thought of as a piece of art…

Denver, Colorado, Colorado Public Radio, September 2, 2021: The Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project Preserves History Of Apples For The Future

The Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project can be described as many things: an agricultural project, an economic development project, a history project — even an apple scavenger hunt. Jude and Addie Schuenemeyer founded MORP in 2014. It has several orchards in Montezuma County. The Schuenemeyers’ own orchard and nursery in McElmo Canyon grows more than 200 different apple varieties. One of their main goals is to preserve every kind of apple grown in Colorado. Sometimes that involves a treasure hunt — like the Schuenemeyers when he set out to find the Thunderbolt apple. Jude Schuenemeyer said he’d originally seen it in a real estate guide for the Montezuma Valley from the early 1900s. The guide said it grew well on the land and was beloved by the people who lived there. So he did some digging, talking to people who live in the area where it was grown. He eventually found the Thunderbolt in the remnant of an old orchard, but it still took a while before they were able to confirm it was the real deal. “We went and took cuttings and grafted all of them and then started growing them out here,” Schuenemeyer said, gesturing to his orchard where heritage apple trees are spaced far apart to give their root systems room to grow. “And over time we recognized one of those apples matched a Thunderbolt that we had gotten from a place north of Cortez…”

Knoxville, Tennessee, WBIR-TV, September 1, 2021: Historic white oak tree in South Knoxville toppled by storms

A family in South Knoxville is cleaning up after storms knocked over a massive and historic white oak tree dating back to the early roots of the United States of America. Leigh Ann Dickert said the tree fell after powerful storms from Ida’s remnants moved through Knoxville Monday night, and it nearly fell on top of her and her husband. “In the storms two days ago, we heard a little crack, and my husband stepped outside and saw the big shadow start to fall and started running and yelled to me to get away. It all happened so quickly that I couldn’t move,” she said. “It grabbed the power lines and fell… and he was able to move far enough away… it brushed the back of his leg and fell six feet from me.” Dickert said the white oak was one of the oldest trees in Tennessee, dating back to 1787 when it was planted in honor of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. “It is the second-oldest white oak in the state,” Dickert said. “This tree is very near and dear to us…”

Kitchener, Ontario, Daily Record, September 1, 2021: More care for our old trees, please!

Our trees and forests have had a punishing year: wildfires in the west, thawing Arctic permafrost that creates “drunken forests” of dead trees, and an exploding gypsy moth caterpillar population stripping trees bare. Land speculators and private owners chop down “inconvenient” trees that stand in the way of human construction. Vancouver Island’s Fairy Creek has become the latest threatened old growth forest facing clear-cutting despite very vocal and active blockades trying to protect them. Inspiring stories keep popping up about people around the world taking on mass tree-planting and restoration projects to rehabilitate disturbed land. Even though they bring back wildlife and lower the ambient temperature of the area, new forests do not provide equal eco-services as old growth forests. Because trees both emit and store carbon, NASA is mapping forest cover around the globe to try and understand the net carbon budget. A study published in Science Advances this year found “gross emissions and removals in the tropics were four times larger than temperate and boreal ecosystems combined,” indicating global differences…

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press, September 1, 2021: DTE Energy to spend another $70 million on tree trimming to prevent outages

DTE Energy — which is under fire from customers, consumer groups, municipal leaders, the state attorney general, governor, and utility regulators — announced Wednesday it is spending $70 million more to remove trees and trim branches to curb power outages. In addition, DTE President and CEO Jerry Norcia vowed the power company “will do what it takes to protect Michiganders from power outages caused by catastrophic storms and extreme weather patterns.” The announcement comes nearly two weeks after DTE said it “voluntarily issued” $100 credits as a one-time courtesy to business and residential customers who lost power for several days. This summer, customers and consumer groups have been demanding better service from the utility, and sharply criticized what it considered high rates and executive compensation, and low reliability…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, August 31, 2021: Caldor Fire: Why Lake Tahoe’s forests face so much fire  danger

The Caldor Fire threatening communities and breathtakingly scenic landscapes around Lake Tahoe — a destination that Mark Twain once called “the fairest picture the whole earth affords” — is a dramatic, unfolding disaster. But the conditions that led to the evacuation of more than 50,000 people around the famed alpine lake’s south and western shores — where embers rain down on rustic communities and soot chokes the normally pristine mountain air — didn’t spring up this week, this month or this year. They are the culmination of more than 150 years of decisions that people made to unwittingly set the stage for today’s catastrophe, experts say. “We are in an emergency crisis throughout the Sierra,” said Susie Kocher, a forestry and natural resources adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension in South Lake Tahoe. Kocher, her husband, dog and cat evacuated their home in nearby Meyers on Monday to stay with relatives near Sacramento. Before she moved to the Tahoe area 15 years ago, she lived in Greenville, a small town in Plumas County. Nearly all of Greenville burned to the ground last month when the Dixie Fire raged through the northern Sierra Nevada’s forests…

Forbes, September 1, 2021: One In Three Tree Species Face Extinction, Study Finds

A third of the world’s trees are at risk of extinction as climate change and extreme weather events takes their toll, according to a new study. The State of the World’s Trees report by the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) warns that 17,500 tree species – around 30% of the 60,000 around the world – are currently at risk of extinction. It adds more than 440 tree species are right now on the brink of extinction, meaning they have fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild. These species are found all over the world, from the Mulanje cedar in Malawi, with only a few remaining individuals on Mulanje Mountain, to the Menai whitebeam found only in North Wales, which has only 30 trees remaining. The report comes after wildfires have recently destroyed forests in California, Greece and Canada. “This report is a wake-up call to everyone around the world that trees need help,” said BGCI secretary general, Paul Smith…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, August 30, 2021: These 10 trees promise beautiful fall color in Oregon

When trees get dressed with the colors of fall, it’s time to go shopping for a new addition to the garden. “If you’re specifically interested in fall color, it will soon be the time to start looking,” said Neil Bell, horticulturist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service. “Trees will start to display color in the next few weeks.” First, though, Bell recommends doing some research. Walk around neighborhoods, parks and public gardens to get ideas. If you can’t identify the trees you like, snap good photos, pick up several leaves or ask the owner for a cutting. Take them to the nursery or to your local OSU Extension office for identification. You can also cut out pictures from magazines and flip through garden books to find possibilities. But wait, you’re not done. After filtering down your favorites, be absolutely sure about size, soil and sun requirements, Bell said. You don’t want to be stuck with a 60-foot tree where a 30-foot tree should have gone…

Boston, Massachusetts, WBUR Radio, September 1, 2021: Tell Us About A Tree You Love. How Does It Benefit You And The Environment

Trees are among the planet’s strongest warriors in the fight against climate change. We walk by them, perhaps pausing in their shade or noticing their beauty. We rarely pause to calculate how much pollution they’re removing from our air, how much oxygen they produce, or how much carbon dioxide they are guzzling and storing away. There’s a growing body of research that suggests trees not only benefit our planet, but also our physical and mental well-being. We want to know about the trees you care about, why they’re special to you and how you think they benefit you or your neighborhood. We hope to share your stories at wbur.org and on social media. To participate, email WBUR multi-platform editor Meghan Kelly (meghan@bu.edu) a photo or two of your favorite tree along with a short explanation about how it helps you, your loved ones or your neighborhood. Note: Please include “tree project” in the subject line. We prefer horizontal images, if you can pull it off, but we get that trees are vertically shaped…

Vancouver, British Columbia, CTV, August 30, 2021: With ocean views at stake, B.C. man snuck onto neighbour’s multi-million dollar property to cut tops off trees

A West Vancouver homeowner has been ordered by a B.C. court to keep off his neighbour’s property and pay her $48,000 after he cut the tops off of her cedar trees. The ruling follows a multi-year spat between two families who lived next door to each other in newly-constructed homes with private outdoor swimming pools and ocean views, both located on multi-million dollar properties in one of Canada’s wealthiest postal codes. Erminia Minicucci had her home custom-built in a residential area of a West Vancouver hillside with plans to stay for the long term and retire there, read court documents. But with her neighbours, Yang Liu and Ying Liang, also building their home on the lot above hers, she worried about her privacy. So in July 2017, Minicucci paid landscapers $38,000 to plant 28 trees along the property line she shared with Liu and Liang. Nearly a year later, Liu complained to Minicucci and her husband that the trees, a mix of 10-foot tall and 25-foot tall cedars – which had by then grown by three feet – were interfering with the view from his three-storey home. Liu asked if he could trim the trees. The Minicucci’s said no… Liu didn’t take the Minicucci’s no for an answer. Instead, when his neighbours were on vacation in the summer of 2018, he snuck onto their property with a ladder and lobbed the tops off “numerous” trees, says the ruling…

Buffalo, New York, News, August 30, 2021: State Canal Corp. wants to hear from residents on tree-cutting policy

Three years after clear-cutting of trees on Erie Canal embankments was halted by court order, the New York State Canal Corp. is seeking public comment on a written policy on tree removal. The policy would cover 125 miles of embankments all over the state, including about 60 miles between Lockport and Rochester. Up for comment until Oct. 15 are a maintenance guidebook and a generic environmental impact statement that says the Canal Corp. will “remove trees and brush smaller than 3 inches in diameter at breast height that impede inspections, and trees larger than 3 inches that are dead, diseased, and imminently dangerous to property and people.” The impact statement said that the Canal Corp. decided against clear-cutting trees along the 524-mile canal system. The trees grew up wild since the original canal was upgraded to the Barge Canal a little more than 100 years ago, Canal Corp. spokesman Shane Mahar said. Tree removal plans may run afoul of habitat for endangered species or local zoning codes and comprehensive plans that may apply to the canal banks, said James Candiloro, director of environmental health and safety for the Canal Corp…

National Geographic, August 31, 2021: Why city trees can be good for kids’ brains

With three kids under eight years old, New York City parents Kimberly and Sam Leopold made proximity to nature the top must-have during their recent apartment search. “We spend time in a park two or three times a day,” says Kimberly, who lives in a 750-square-foot South Harlem apartment with her husband and daughters. “Honestly, it’s a matter of survival. The kids are just happier when they can play and explore outdoors.” And it turns out that a regular infusion of nature—in particular, seeing and being around trees—could help bolster kids’ thinking and reasoning skills, too. A recent British study of more than 3,500 city-dwelling children and teenagers from across London found that having a higher daily exposure to woodlands (basically, places with trees) can help kids’ cognitive development. The good news is that kids can—and should—get a daily dose of trees and other nature even if your family lives in a city or suburb, says Tim Beatley, founder and executive director of Biophilic Cities, which advocates for future cities in which residents are surrounded by nature…

Austin, Texas, KXAN-TV, August 30, 2021: People with nut allergies may really be sensitive to birch pollen, study finds

Nut allergies have led to food policy changes in schools, airplanes, and workplaces around the country. For some, allergic reactions can be potentially fatal. But are all nut allergies created equal? According to a new study, most people diagnosed with a nut allergy may actually only have a sensitivity to birch pollen. Tree nut allergies are among the most common food allergies in both children and adults. The six tree nut allergies most commonly reported are sensitivities to walnut, almond, hazelnut, pecan, cashew and pistachio. When a person with an allergy to a particular tree nut is exposed to that tree nut, proteins in the nut bind to specific antibodies made by the person’s immune system. This binding triggers the person’s immune defenses, leading to reaction symptoms that can be mild or very severe…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, August 26, 2021: Northampton residents sue city over alleged improper removal of cherry trees

On July 29, the city of Northampton cut down the row of Kwanzan Japanese cherry trees that lined Warfield Place, despite strong opposition from those who live on the street. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court, says that the city violated state law by refusing to hold a public hearing before the trees came down. In an interview with the Globe last month, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz said the city did not have to hold such a hearing as state law allows for an exemption from the requirement for a project like the one on Warfield Place. The tree removal is part of a multi-street paving program planned by the city. The lawsuit also claims that the city took down the trees “without any prior warning” despite previously informing neighbors that they would be notified of any times when parking is prohibited. Instead, residents say that members of the Northampton police department, fire department, and Department of Public Works arrived without any warning on the morning of July 29 with tow trucks to begin clearing the trees. That same day — and just hours after the city workers had arrived on the street — Warfield Place residents obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from cutting and removing the trees before an official hearing was held…

 

On the corner of Burrows and Allyn streets is a fortress of towering hedges and intertwining maple, oak and pine trees so thick, it’s easy to miss the small yellow house within when driving by. Daniel Sims, the owner, stopped mowing his lawn years ago to form what he calls his “bird sanctuary.” Following Tropical Storm Henri on Aug. 22, Sims discovered that one side of a large white pine in his backyard had split and fallen on top of neighboring trees and his shed. “I didn’t see or hear it fall,” he said. Sims, like most Connecticut residents, loves trees, which provide shade and privacy, but rarely thinks twice about trimming or removing them — that is, until severe weather is forecast. About 60% of the state is forested and 73% of that is owned by individuals, families, land trusts, Native American tribes and corporations, according to the state. Municipalities own an additional 9%, and the rest is state owned and includes forests in state parks and along highways. Ownership, however, is not always clear and maintenance is not always easy, especially when tree removal is costly and there has been a rising number of dying trees in the state due to widespread aging and pests…

Saranac Lake, New York, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 26, 2021: State of the tree

Edwin McGrath is walking around the village this week looking at trees. He’s an arborist with the urban forestry consulting company ArborPro Inc., which has been contracted by the village of Saranac Lake to take a census of all the leafy and piny growth within the 2.78-square-mile village limits. The data he collects will be used to create a forest management plan. The village will use this plan to care for its trees in the coming years as it looks to plant more in the downtown corridor and in village parks. The plan will also outline how the village will combat invasive species, remove and plant trees, and keep its streets green. “There’s a lot of benefits to an urban forest, the aesthetics of it, shade — it helps keeps things cooler — stormwater capture,” village Community Development Director Jamie Konkoski said. “It’s really valuable.” The village was awarded $12,800 by the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Urban and Community Forestry Program for this survey and plan. The $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant the village won in 2018 also includes some funding to increase the number of trees planted downtown…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, August 29, 2021: Be sure to expose root flare when planting tree

Q. I am planning on having some trees planted this fall, but I don’t know much about plants. How do I make sure that my trees are being planted properly?
A. One of the most common mistakes when planting a tree is planting it too deep and not exposing the root flare. This is the point where the tree’s trunk widens above the soil line and indicates where the trunk ends and the root system begins. To ensure the tree is planted at the proper depth, make sure that the flare is above the soil line or grade. Planting a tree too deep can cause problems such as poor root growth, reduced canopy growth or even premature death, which can occur weeks to years after planting. If your tree looks like a telephone pole growing straight out of the ground, carefully remove soil until you see the trunk taper out. Find a great diagram of how a tree should be planted according to industry standards at cityofaspen.com/DocumentCenter/View/4632/Tree-Planting-Detail-2021…

Everett, Washington, Herald, August 12, 2021: Lake Stevens neighbors mourn 1000s of trees at Costco site

The lush green backdrop residents on 93rd Drive SE once enjoyed has turned brown, hot and dusty. Costco construction is underway. “The trees are gone,” said Doug Turner, former owner of Turner’s Grocery and a member of Livable Lake Stevens. Environmental degradation is a byproduct of development, something that Livable Lake Stevens, a group that opposed the construction of Costco, attempted to prevent through a Land Use Petition Act lawsuit. Developers say they plan to plant three trees for every mature tree they cut. But not all of those will be on the Costco land off 20th Street SE. When all is said and done, nearly 2,000 will be planted on the nearly 40-acre lot. The rest, more than 3,000, will be planted elsewhere. The company, according to a memo from Costco’s wetland, stream, traffic, geotechnical and stormwater consultants, also will provide a monetary contribution to the city’s tree fund. In the meantime, the site will be canopy-deprived…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, August 9, 2021: Did you lose a tree in the June tornado? Morton Arboretum is giving away 300 replacements

When tornadoes swept through the western suburbs late on a Sunday this June, they flattened homes and buildings and also toppled or damaged uncounted trees in the leafy communities of Woodridge, Naperville, Darien and unincorporated Downers Grove Township. Soon after, the phone started to ring at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, which was just 5 miles north of where one tornado struck. The arboretum serves as a resource to give plant and tree advice in the Chicago area and homeowners were wondering what they should do, said Murphy Westwood, vice president of science and conservation. Should they replant? The Morton Arboretum announced Monday that it would give away up to 300 trees to private homeowners who lost trees in the June storms. Homeowners can request one tree per address on a first-come, first-served basis by completing a Tornado Recovery Tree Request Form set up by the arboretum. (Only those who lost a tree due to the June 20 tornadoes are eligible.) They will be notified of their selection at the end of October and trees will be delivered to communities for pickup in spring 2022. The arboretum was already on track to give away 1,000 trees next year to celebrate its 100th anniversary; 300 of those trees through the Centennial Tree Planting Initiative will now be used for tornado recovery for private homeowners, Westwood said…

Walla Walla, Washington, Union Bulletin, August 11, 2021: Public input sought on draft plan for managing city trees in Walla Walla

Would you like to weigh in on Walla Walla’s plan for managing the 7,000-plus trees in the city’s urban forest? You have until Aug. 30 to send city officials a note. Walla Walla City Council heard all about urban forest management at a recent public work session. It was here that an updated ArborPro Urban Forestry Management Plan was presented in draft state to city officials. Now the Parks and Recreation Department has opened an input period for the public to comment on the plan until Monday, Aug. 30. Input or questions can be submitted to Parks Director Andy Coleman or mailed to the department. “We’re doing the public input process right now for folks to have time to read the plan because it is 50-some pages, so it takes some time to dig into,” Coleman said. After that, the draft plan will be taken to the Parks and Recreation and Urban Forestry Advisory Board on Sept. 13. Walla Walla City Council is set to vote on the plan Sept. 22. Both meetings have opportunity for public comment…

Nature, August 12, 2021: Clouds plus trees equals cooler climes at mid-latitudes

Planting trees in the zone between the tropics and the poles creates more clouds, which help to cool the planet. Forests pull heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. In tropical regions, the trees are so dense that the resulting cooling outweighs warming from the heat absorbed by their dark foliage. But forests at higher latitudes, such as those in parts of Europe and North America, are sparser than forests in the tropics. Scientists have debated whether mid-latitude forests’ heat absorption outweighs the cooling from their CO2 absorption. Amilcare Porporato at Princeton University in New Jersey and his colleagues studied satellite data on global land cover and modelled cloud formation over various types of vegetation. They found that at latitudes between 30 and 45 degrees, clouds are more numerous, and form earlier in the day, above forests than above other types of vegetation. The extra clouds reflect additional light and mean that the forests have an overall cooling effect…

Santa Rosa, California, Press-Democrat, August 10, 2021: PG&E found no flaws with tree, power poles linked to Dixie fire

PG&E Corp. inspectors had found no problems with power lines, power poles or the tree linked to the Dixie fire raging in Northern California, according to a summary of inspection records the utility released Monday. Under investigation in connection with the fire, which has become the second largest in California history, PG&E said its crews conducted routine inspections May 13 of the two power poles located where the fire started and found nothing wrong. The last previous inspection was in December 2016. “These inspections did not result in any findings that required corrective action at or between poles 908 and 909,” the utility said. Similarly, PG&E said a Jan. 14 inspection of the tree that may have sparked the fire found no problems. The utility also released a picture from 2019 of one of the power poles “and the tree that PG&E believes to be the tree of interest.” The tree was due to be inspected again Sept. 21. The company has already reported to the California Public Utilities Commission that an employee spotted a “healthy green tree” leaning against a conductor on a pole July 13, and fire burning on the ground near the base of the tree. At 489,287 acres, the Dixie fire trails only last year’s August Complex fire, which burned just over 1 million acres. Last week, the Dixie fire destroyed most of downtown Greenville, a community of about 1,000 people in Plumas County. PG&E is under intense scrutiny over wildfires and is spending billions of dollars a year to trim tree limbs and take other corrective actions aimed at improving fire safety…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, August 10, 2021: Tree inventory helps Cedar Rapids know which trees to replant

Contractors hired after the derecho to mark damaged trees for removal put an orange X on the trunk of a Katsura tree on Blake Boulevard SE, but City Arborist Todd Fagan gave the tree a pardon. After all, it was one of only 38 Katsuras on city-owned property before the derecho and one of the biggest, with a 7-inch-diameter trunk at last measurement. Katsura trees come from Japan, but grow well in the Midwest and have peachy-gold leaves in the fall. And with subalternate buds — something only a “geeky tree guy” would know — Fagan couldn’t let the tree be cut down. “No, you’re not,” Fagan said, pointing to the orange circle he sprayed around the X last year to spare the Katsura from the chain saw. In 2015, Cedar Rapids created an inventory of all trees on city rights of way. Before the derecho, the inventory helped city employees maintain a pruning schedule, know which trees to treat for emerald ash borer and set a value of the urban forest. A city intern visits one-quarter of the trees each summer to make sure they still are standing, record new trunk size and note significant damage and disease. After the Aug. 10 storm destroyed nearly 20 percent of the city-owned trees, city staff are using the inventory to track which trees have been removed, which stumps still need grinding and which species to replant and where, Fagan said…

Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, University of Illinois Extension, August 10, 2021: After the storm: Repair and care for damaged trees

Summer storms have damaged trees, some more than 100 years old, in communities across the state. Homeowners in these communities, including Woodridge and Naperville which were hit by an EF-3 tornado this summer, are now struggling to find the best ways to clean up after a tree is damaged and the proper way to restore trees and woodlands. From watching the light flicker through a tree’s green canopy in summer to enjoying the falling cascade of red, yellow, and brown leaves in the fall, trees serve as a symbol for many homeowners. Storms can damage or destroy long-living trees and the memories they carry with them. What happens after a storm damages trees? When a tree becomes damaged by a storm, or another type of disturbance, it not only affects the immediate area, but also the surrounding trees. “Trees are usually very resilient to damage,” says University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Ryan Pankau. “But when a storm or disease takes out parts of a tree, it exposes the other trees in the area differently, and you may see damage to them years down the line.” After a disturbance, sunlight can now reach the understory, which exposes the soil and creates opportunities for new plants to fill those gaps. Those gaps can be filled by younger trees or plants, but also by less desirable plants, such as invasive weedy species. And, a thinning tree canopy from storm damage can reduce a tree’s capacity to filter wind. “Trees with thicker canopies act like a sail during high winds,” says Christopher Enroth, Illinois Extension horticulture educator. “But when topped, small, new branches have a very weak attachment to the tree itself, making it less stable overall…”

Euronews, August 10, 2021: Batteries made from trees could help transform the future of electric travel

A material found in the wood of our plants is being trialled as a way to produce sustainable battery power. Finnish designers Stora Enso have built a new production facility costing €10 million that will create renewable bio-based carbon by turning trees into batteries. This will be achieved by the use of a wood-based material called lignin. The plant is based beside the company’s Sunila Mill in Kotka, southern Finland, which employs over 150 people and specialises in producing softwood pulp, and biofuels like tall oil and turpentine. The company is responsible for developing a number of wood and biomaterial-based solutions for everyday problems that require eco-friendly solutions. Their innovative product offerings range from mouldable woods to formed fiber food packaging. Not to be confused with the Swedish berry, lignin is nature’s second most common macromolecule after cellulose, deposited in the cell wall of plants to make their structure firm and woody to prevent them from rotting. It makes up around a third of all wood’s total composition…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, August 9, 2021: Why Houston’s oldest tree needs a new identity

Houston is home to a centuries-old tree in search of a new identity. Located near the corner of Bagby and Capitol streets in downtown Houston, a massive, 400-year-old tree dubbed the “Old Hanging Oak” is believed to be the city’s longest-surviving tree. With a little luck and ingenuity, it will outlive us all. What we should let die, however, is the fake story of the oak’s morbid tenure as hanging gallows. As recently as the late 20th century, legend told of nearly a dozen men hanged from its boughs when Texas was just a republic. Unfortunately for perpetuators of the myth, the truth is much different than the tale. The case is stacked against any notion that the tree was used to hang anyone. Authors Louis F. Aulbach and Linda Gorski did the research and concluded no one was ever hanged from its branches. There were other trees nearby confirmed to have hosted hangings, according to a 2006 post in Bayou City History, but not our lovely oak. A city-funded plaque dedicated in the 1990s prolonged the lie, although even it admitted that the claim was disputed at the time it was erected…

Portland, Maine, WCSH-TV, August 9, 2021: Planting a tree this fall? Start planning now

The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago. It’s an old saying, but these days you really do need to plan ahead. It is no secret that there is a major labor shortage right now. All businesses seem to be struggling to find enough people to meet demand. Landscaping contractors are no different. There are also supply issues for garden centers depending on what you are trying to find. For those reasons Tom Estabrook of Estabrook’s in Yarmouth suggests starting early if you are planning to plant a tree this fall. If you are putting in a large tree you will likely need some help. Estabrook suggests finding a contractor now and lining them up for the fall. If you are going to plant the tree yourself great! We are actually in really good shape for that right now. July was a rainy month so the ground is well watered. Typically if you plant a tree in the summer you are worried about keeping it wet enough. That shouldn’t be a major issue right now. Trees are not going to grow a lot if you plant them now they will be focused instead on rooting. For that reason Estabrook suggests you add a root stimulant to tree you are planning to put in the ground. One of his favorites, Biotone, attaches to the roots and causes them to branch. That will establish a solid root system…

Los Angeles, California, Daily News, August 9, 2021: Why you need to trim palm trees and what you need to know before you do

With their towering heights and lush green canopies, palm trees are a beloved part of Southern California’s skyline. But if they are covered with dead material that gets ignited, sometimes they light up the sky. Gary Gragg, founder of Golden Gate Palms in Richmond, called them candles covered in gasoline. “The worst thing anybody could have is a giant, never-trimmed tree that has all this dead material in it. They’re probably the most flammable things on the landscape,” said Gragg, who also hosted an HGTV series called “Superscapes” in 2009. But before they tackle trimming issues, homeowners should know if palm trees should be in their yards in the first place, according to David Guzman, Vegetation Management and Forestry manager with Southern California Edison. “A lot of people like to grow palm trees in their backyards because they have pools and want a tropical landscape. We will stress the fact that you want to put the tree in the right place,” he said in a separate phone interview. “These palm trees should not be within 50 feet of our electrical facilities.” In March, the utility announced a two-year project to remove about 11,000 palms that are too close to power lines from properties throughout its coverage area. Communities included Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, La Cañada Flintridge, Malibu, Lake Elsinore and Santa Ana. Palms are tropical plants, and most aren’t native to Southern California. There are more than 2,500 species in many shapes and sizes. Some plants thought of as palm trees are actually cycads, which reproduce via flowers…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2021: The Scientific Thrill of the Charcoal Grill

The evening air here in London has acquired the distinctive signature of summer: the smell of barbecues. The sources are mostly out of sight, hidden in dozens of gardens and backyards, but on a warm evening the whiff of smoke fills entire neighborhoods. It’s distinctive because it’s the only time we burn charcoal, an ancient fuel that still has a place in a modern city. But you can burn lots of things to generate enough heat to cook food, so why is it always charcoal? It turns out that the key is the opposite of a magic ingredient—it’s more about what charcoal lacks. The starting point for most charcoal is wood, a useful fuel because it’s full of molecules that can react with oxygen and give out heat in the process. Wood is both the internal scaffolding that can hold a tree up for decades and also the tree’s plumbing and storage system. The strength comes from cellulose and lignin, long molecules with carbon backbones that form a thin wall around every cell in the tree. These molecules are what make wood useful as fuel. Each cell is a single brick in the structure of the tree, packed together tightly. The cell innards and the fluids stored in the narrow pipes that run up and down the trunk have less stored energy because they’re mostly water. When you start to heat wood to start a fire, the first thing that happens is that the water evaporates. As the temperature starts to rise further, toward 400-500°F, the lignin and cellulose start to break down, but don’t burn yet. The heat causes other molecules in the wood to escape as gases, and these burn in the air just above the wood surface. When you start a log fire, these are the flames you’re seeing: The bright flames are due to the mix of gases that are driven off the wood…

Longview, Washington, Daily News, August 7, 2021: To keep invasive insects at bay, participate in national tree check month

Before you squash that weird-looking bug, local scientists are asking people to check if it’s one of a handful of invasive species that may be on the move in Cowlitz County. Washington State University Master Gardener Alice Slusher said that “citizen scientists like you and me are the ones that have reported some of the problem ones before” they become widespread, so participating in the National Tree Check month is important. “The Invasive Species Council website is amazing, so get in there and look at all the priority insects,” Slusher said. “Some are here and we know they’re here, and some aren’t, but it’s a fun hobby.” State officials are asking people to check trees, lights, outdoor equipment and standing water in their yards for harmful bugs. Slusher said that water sources such as dog bowls, pans of water for chickens, or light fixtures are places bugs are attracted to and sometimes die in, making them good places to survey what insects are around…

Winnipeg, Manitoba, CBC, August 7, 2021: Man arrested, charged after trees on Winnipeg median cut down during house move

Police arrested a man they say was involved in cutting down or trimming about a dozen trees on the median of a Winnipeg street to make way for a large house that was being moved. At about 7 a.m. Saturday, police traffic units were facilitating the move of a large house on Roblin Boulevard, police said in a news release. The moving company had a permit to move the house out of the city, and officers confirmed the load dimensions were specified in the permit. However, police say the operator clearly hadn’t confirmed the accessibility of the route, as required in the permit. Officers in the area reported multiple trees along the route had been deliberately felled or trimmed without permission. A man associated with the move was arrested and charged with mischief over $5,000. The move was temporarily halted…

Sunbury, Pennsylvania, Daily Item, August 8, 2021: Tree Topics: ‘Topping’ breaks the rules, shortens life spans

“Topping” is the removal of a large portion of a tree’s crown to make it smaller and/or rounded. This misguided practice has reduced the life span and created hazardous situations of many shade trees throughout our community. There are three basic rules for pruning shade trees: 1. Never remove more than 25% of the leaf surface area at one given pruning (annually); 2. When reducing the size of a limb, make sure that the lateral branch (the one that you intend to leave as the new end) is at least one-third the size of the branch that you are removing; and 3. Never make a cut on a tree without a good reason (i.e. dead or rubbing limbs, branch level, house clearance, limbs with defects, etc). “Topping” breaks all of these rules. Let me explain. The physiological process of a tree’s response to a topping cut is rather simple. The leaf surface produces food through photosynthesis. The woody portions of a tree (i.e. trunk, limbs, roots) use what they need and store the surplus. When a tree is in relative good health (with adequate stored food) and it is topped, the tree will grow back rapidly (4-5 times its normal growth rate) until it recovers lost leaf surface. For example, silver maples grow between 12-16 inches each year. If you “top” it, the tree will respond by producing adventitious sprouts, commonly referred to as “suckers.” These suckers will grow 4 to 5 feet or more the next season and continue at that rate until it reaches the same size that it was before the damage. If the tree is not in good health when the damage is done, the tree may die outright. More frequently, the tree will begin a downward spiral of decline until its inevitable failure…

Open Access Government, August 9, 2021: Researchers to make trees more resilient to climate change

Six research teams across the UK will receive a share of £10.5 million to help trees adapt to climate change and capture greenhouse gas emissions. Expanding the UK’s trees, woodlands and forests will help the government to reach its net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, however, our treescapes need to become more resilient to pressures such as changing climate. The six projects, which will receive funding from UK Research and Innovation, aim to: (1) Understand how local authorities are meeting their tree planting targets, the cultural significance of trees to communities and how well they capture greenhouse gases; (2) Work creatively with young people to co-produce new approaches to creating and caring for treescapes that benefit the environment and society; (3) Investigate how trees respond to stress and pass on that memory to future generations; (4) Assess the potential of woodland restoration along over 200,000 km of England’s rivers and bodies of water; (5) Examine how community forests enable stakeholders to work in partnership to deliver multiple benefits from forests; and (6) Study whether trees can adapt effectively to climate change, pests and diseases…

Portland, Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting, August 5, 2021: Searching for the tree at the bottom of the world

For scientists, building a true understanding of how climate change is affecting the planet is complicated. A conversation in a Portland pub led to one solution — find the tree at the bottom of the world and see how it’s being affected by rising temperatures. The idea took root a few years ago when University of Colorado associate professor Brian Buma attended a landscape ecology conference in Portland. Afterward, he went out for a beer with Portland State University geography associate professor, Andrés Holz. Common interests had them chatting about everything from climate change to a study of the northernmost trees in Siberia. And that got them thinking. “The southern hemisphere is very understudied compared to the northern hemisphere,” Buma said. Climate change likely impacts trees at the top of the world differently from those at the bottom. The northern hemisphere is dominated by large, dry land masses, such as Russia and North America, whereas the southern hemisphere is dominated by oceans. The scientists pitched the idea of an expedition to find the southernmost tree to the National Geographic Society, which agreed to sponsor a team of a dozen scientists along with the Universidad des Magallanes in Chile. The researchers studied everything from the southernmost tree to invasive species, birds and possible ancient human settlement…

New York City, News 12, August 5, 2021: Tree in Eastchester neighborhood a dangerous hazard, neighbors say

Residents in Eastchester say a neighborhood tree is creating chaos every time a storm blows in. Denise Cox, who lives nearby, says the tree pulled down a wire last year. “As soon as it’s windy, branches come down,” she said. “A branch is going to break off and kill someone.” Neighbors say they’ve tried submitting 311 requests and calling the New York City Parks Department to remove the tree, but there’s been little progress over nearly two years. “What has to happen? Does it have to fall and kill somebody for someone to come out and take care of this tree?” Cox said. The Parks Department said in a statement, “We are sending one of our expert foresters to the site for inspection; noting, we have not directly received a request for this condition.”
An inspector checked the tree Thursday while News 12 was present. While he couldn’t speak on-camera, neighbors say he told them the department would likely come back within two days. Residents, however, remain skeptical…

<img Lihue, Hawaii, The Garden Island, July 28, 2021: Farmers tackle new threat to island coffee trees

The most-destructive disease known to the coffee plant has arrived on Kaua‘i, putting local growers on high alert. Less than one year after the state’s first reported case of coffee leaf rust occurred in Maui, the blight’s presence has now been established on all major Hawaiian islands. Coffee leaf rust, which is caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, can lead to defoliation, reduced fruit size and plant death. Local grower Ben Fitt of Outpost Coffee was the first to report the disease on Kaua‘i while tending to his one-acre orchard on the North Shore in late June. “I came across some interesting markings on some of the leaves and had a look, and I was pretty certain it was coffee leaf rust,” Fitt said. Fitt immediately contacted the state Department of Agriculture, which sent a field agent to collect laboratory samples. The results came back as CLR on July 9. However, the fungus had been on Kaua‘i for at least six months prior to Fitt’s discovery, according to a department announcement released last week. No one will ever know how the rust took hold in Fitt’s orchard, which follows stringent protocols intended to mitigate the risk of infection. In addition, the state has restricted the movement of affected islands’ coffee plants and other potential hosts since CLR’s first appearance in Hawai‘i last October. Coffee leaf rust was first documented in Africa in 1861, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which claims it was next spotted in Sri Lanka six years later, where it ruined that country’s coffee production within a decade. The disease has since been found in all major coffee-producing countries. “I can only speculate as to how it got over. We took every step we can to prevent it. It’s just so contagious,” said Fitt, who hopes to destigmatize growers dealing with rust and other agricultural ills…

Charleston, South Carolina, WCSC-TV, July 28, 2021: City of Charleston and county to review applications to cut down more than 70 grand trees

People across the Lowcountry are concerned about more than 70 grand trees that could be cut down if the City of Charleston and County of Charleston’s Boards of Zoning Appeals approve the applications. According to the agenda for the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Aug. 4, there are applications submitted to remove about 75 grand trees all across the area, including Johns Island, James Island, West Ashley and Cainhoy. The agenda for the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals shows they are considering applications for the removal of eight grand trees: two on Wigeon Lane and six on Stoney Road. According to city and county codes, grand trees are protected, so in many circumstances, a developer or property owner has to get special approval to cut them down. Franny Henty, who lives on James Island, said she is actively fighting this and wants the community to help. “Get involved and let your voice be heard,” she said. “Trees are a part of the infrastructure. They need to keep in mind they’re not just taking down a tree, they’re taking down something that holds water and is beautiful and provides shade. It also has an element there that it helps with pollution and the air…”

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 27, 2021: Toronto agreed to buy a home to save a 250-year-old tree. Now, the seller wants a higher price

A legal battle is brewing between the City of Toronto and the property owner of a 250-year-old heritage tree refusing to sell — the latest snag in a years-long community push to protect the famous red oak. The city entered an agreement with the home’s owner, Ali Simaga, in December 2019 to purchase the North York house for $780,000 with certain conditions, including that the community raise $400,000 within a year to go toward the purchase and maintenance of the tree, according to the city’s court application filed this May. The plan was to demolish the house and transform the property into a parkette to showcase the gigantic tree, the last remnant of the ancient oak forest that once spanned the area. But that plan may now be in jeopardy, with Simaga changing his mind about the agreement after watching house prices soar throughout the pandemic. He’s now looking for the city to match the current market value of other homes in the area. “I’m afraid I’m going to be homeless with my family with this price,” Simaga told CBC News. He acknowledged they currently don’t live in the house, but rent it out, and own another house elsewhere in the city. This spring, the city requested the Superior Court of Justice to order the purchase complete and put the property title in its name. The case will be heard in October…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, KYW-TV, July 27, 2021: ‘Everyone Keeps Passing The Buck’: Tree Threatens Philadelphia Family’s Home With No Help In Sight

A tree, which looks like it could fall on a house at any moment, is causing one South Philadelphia family many sleepless nights. They say their calls for help are falling on deaf ears. Every night this family goes to bed they pray that their home is not destroyed by a tree in their backyard that’s just barely hanging on. This mother-daughter duo reached out to CBS3 in hopes that someone will see their story and help. Right now, they say they are running out of options. Due to physical limitations, Ginny Bowen is restricted to the first floor of her home, a place she’s lived in for more than 20 years. “As long as I can take care of myself, I will. I want to stay,” she said. But is it safe? Bowen’s daughter, Cindy Candelore, shows us what they use to call their backyard. “There’s actually wires hanging in between those branches as well,” she said…

Chicago, Illinois, WBEZ Radio, July 27, 2021: A New City Agency May Try To Save Chicago’s 4 Million Trees — And Plant More

Everybody has a tree story. That’s the mantra of Michael Dugan, the Director of Forestry at Openlands, one of the main organizations that helps the city of Chicago plant hundreds of trees a year. As he walked through Douglass Park, an expansive city park on the Southwest Side of Chicago, Dugan rejoiced about the benefits of green space, and the attachments to which Chicagoans place the trees within them. “Everybody talks about a tree as they’re growing up,” he said through a smile. “… Interacting with a tree, climbing a tree, having a picnic under a tree, planting a tree with family members.” But Dugan and other environmental advocates in Chicago want residents — and the aldermen who represent them — to think more consciously about the trees they walk past in their everyday adult lives. They say that if so-called “tree inequity” — how some neighborhoods that lack resources also are lacking in tree canopies — is fixed, that could lead to better health and community outcomes. In Chicago, there are nearly 4 million trees to consider. But, until now, there hasn’t been a single city agency to oversee them in a unified way. Instead, the departments of Streets and Sanitation, Transportation, the Park District, aldermen typically field individual requests for tree trimming or tree planting by residents who need it. That’s opposed to an overall plan that looks at the environmental impacts of the trees the city plants…

New York City, The New York Times, July 26, 2021: A gnarly brown Christmas? Tree farms dry out in the Pacific Northwest.

When Jacob Hemphill pulled into the driveway at his 200-acre Christmas tree farm in Oregon City, Ore., on the second night of a record-breaking heat wave late last month, his stomach dropped. That morning, a vast field of about 250,000 green trees had adorned his property. But now, it was patched over with large swaths of singed brown. All of his seedlings were gone, and some of his mature trees, too — a tremendous loss that he estimates could cost him about $100,000. The deadly heat wave that scorched the Pacific Northwest in late June also upended Oregon’s typically prosperous Christmas tree market. More Christmas trees are grown there than anywhere else in the country, followed by North Carolina and Michigan. Farms like Mr. Hemphill’s dot the country roads southwest of Portland. But now, he said, “There’s nothing left.” Climate change was already having an impact, even before the most recent heat wave. A recent U.S. Agriculture Department report found that from 2015 to 2020, the amount of acreage in the state growing Christmas trees dropped by 24 percent as wildfires and drought reduced the harvest. Over the same time period, the average cost of Oregon trees — which are primarily sold on the West Coast — nearly doubled, the report said, from about $18 to $31 each…

Phys.org, July 27, 2021: Lack of species depth threatens mangroves

Marine ecologists have revealed mangroves might be threatened by a limited number of crustaceans, mollusks and other invertebrates for each ecological role. The international study found that low functional redundancy, or number of species performing similar roles in mangrove forests, suggests even a modest loss of invertebrates could have significant consequences. “Mangrove forests have been disappearing at alarming rates worldwide,” said Professor Shing Yip Lee from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Adjunct at Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University. “The ecological functions and services they provide depend upon the relationships between their individual plant and animal components. “There is no viable mangrove forest without a healthy community of invertebrates sustaining it.” Although mangrove ecosystems support a broad range of specialised invertebrates, little is known about the effect of deforestation and human impact on the functional diversity and resilience of these resident fauna…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, July 27, 2021: Mecosta County residents should plan now for next year’s gypsy moths

Mecosta County residents saw significant tree damage from an infestation of gypsy moth this summer, leaving many asking why county and city officials were not taking action to prevent or manage the infestation.
DNR forester Cheryl Nelson recently told Big Rapids city commissioners that large-scale spraying was not necessarily the best option when dealing with gypsy moths. “The gypsy moth became naturalized in the 1990s — it became part of our ecosystem,” Nelson said. “We deal with two- to four-year outbreaks every seven to 10 years. These populations are kept in check by natural predators — the NPV (Nucleoplyhedrosis) virus and the Entomophaga maimaiga fungal pathogen.” Spraying will not eliminate the gypsy moth from an area, and large-scale spraying can have a negative impact on the gypsy moth of denaturalizing them from an area, Nelson said. “Spraying is about 80% effective and can disrupt the naturally occurring predators that control the virus on their own,” she said. “With that cycle disruption, the outbreaks may not naturally correct.” Nelson said that without the caterpillars, the viruses and the fungus that control the populations cannot be maintained, and without those, there are no natural predators there when the new caterpillars hatch out…

Fort Wayne, Indiana, WANE-TV, July 26, 2021: Invasive insect known for damaging trees found for first time in Indiana

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is reporting that the Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) has been found in Indiana. The insect turned up recently in Switzerland County in extreme southern Indiana which is the farthest west the insect has been found. This federally regulated invasive species negatively impacts plant growth and fruit production, especially in vineyards and orchards. A homeowner in Vevay contacted DNR’s Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology (DEPP) with a picture that was taken outside his home of a fourth instar, or developmental stage, larvae. DEPP staff surveyed the site and discovered an infestation in the woodlot adjacent to a few homes in the area. The site is within 2 miles of the Ohio River and the Markland Dam. DEPP and USDA are conducting an investigation to determine exactly how large the infestation is and where it could have come from, as well as how to limit the spread and eradicate the population. Spotted lanternfly is a planthopper that originated in Asia. It was first discovered in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture tried to limit the spread of this pest, but it excels at being a hitchhiker and is often spread unknowingly by humans…

Toronto, Ontario, Star, July 27, 2021: Fairy Creek protesters defend felling small trees in order to impede police

A protest group is defending the actions of its members who cut down some small trees to impede police enforcing a court injunction against blockades that have been set up to prevent old-growth logging on southern Vancouver Island. The RCMP said in a news release Saturday that protesters had cut 18 trees with chainsaws and laid the trunks across a road in the Fairy Creek watershed area. The group, dubbed the Rainforest Flying Squad, responded in a statement on Monday, saying its members cut the small, second-growth trees in order to slow police progress in reaching other protesters who were chained to structures. They say Pacheedaht First Nation elder Bill Jones, who supports the protest group, does not disapprove of their felling of small trees to protect old growth. A statement from Jones released by the group says it’s common practice in logging to cut down young trees growing at the side of roadways and that’s not a threat to ecology. The Rainforest Flying Squad says very little of the best old-growth forest remains in B.C., and the province’s temporary deferral of old-growth logging across 2,000 hectares in the Fairy Creek and central Walbran areas falls short of what’s needed. The RCMP have made 494 arrests since they began enforcing the injunction in May…

drought210726Phys.org, July 26, 2021: Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado’s subalpine forests

Even in the absence of bark beetle outbreaks and wildfire, trees in Colorado subalpine forests are dying at increasing rates from warmer and drier summer conditions, found recent University of Colorado Boulder research. The study, published in the May print issue of the Journal of Ecology, also found that this trend is increasing. In fact, tree mortality in subalpine Colorado forests not affected by fire or bark beetle outbreaks in the last decade has more than tripled since the 1980s. “We have bark beetle outbreaks and wildfires that cause very obvious mortality of trees in Colorado. But we’re showing that even in the areas that people go hiking in and where the forest looks healthy, mortality is increasing due to heat and dry conditions alone,” said Robert Andrus, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at Washington State University. “It’s an early warning sign of climate change…”

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen Times, July 26, 2021: Answer Man: Downtown bathrooms MIA? Tree of Heaven downright evil?

Update on the ‘tree-of-heaven’: Last week I fielded a question about the nefarious and invasive “tree-of-heaven,” which apparently is even more evil than I suggested. Cooperative Extension Service Agent Alison Arnold gave a good rundown on the tree, encouraging homeowners and others not to plant them and to eliminate them where possible. Andy Tait, co-director for forestry at EcoForesters, an Asheville forestry nonprofit, reached out with some “even more alarming facts about tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima),” as well as a good tip. “1. It is allelopathic, which means it exudes a chemical which inhibits other plants from growing, giving it a competitive advantage,” Tait said via email. “2. If you just cut it down, it aggressively re-sprouts from all of it’s underground roots — so literally 100s of baby trees will spring up to take over if you just cut it down and don’t use herbicide on the freshly cut stump. I’ve seen pure monoculture stands of totally worthless (both to wildlife and as timber) tree-of-heaven after disturbances without trying to control the invasive tree-of-heaven first…”

moredrought210726Vancouver, Washington, The Columbian, July 25, 2021: Proper care can help stressed trees in Clark County weather dry times

As wildfires burn across the West, many are casting a wary eye toward sun-scorched trees right here. Vancouver’s urban forester, Charles Ray, said he has been answering worried calls from homeowners ever since last month’s record heat. “The heat dome in June was unprecedented, on the heels of the driest spring on record,” Ray said. “I don’t think we know all the impacts on trees because we really haven’t experienced it before.” Michael Laster is among those who have noticed trees that look distressed and dead, with desiccated needles cascading down every time the wind gusts. “It is especially noticeable on the western sides of evergreen trees, where the needles have turned brown. Many deciduous trees also show wilted, dried and falling leaves,” said Laster, a Felida resident and Vancouver’s fire code officer. Although his expertise is in fire-suppressing sprinkler systems, Laster said he’s getting terribly worried about heat waves, wildfires and the future of local trees. “I think the concept that climate change is not happening is foolish. It’s obvious that it is. Our temperatures hit an all-time high, three days in a row. After three days, we see damage to the trees — not just a few of them but all of them,” Laster said. “And dead trees tend to burn more than live trees do…”

Plattsburgh, New York, Press Republican, July 26, 2021: Emerald ash borer and ash trees – a new approach is being taken to protect and preserve the species

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a half-inch long, green buprestid or jewel beetle. It’s an invasive insect native to Asia, believed to have made its way to the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or on airplanes. EAB was first discovered in the United States in 2002, near Detroit, Michigan. Around that time, it was also found across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. In 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) initiated a domestic quarantine program for areas infested with the extremely destructive wood-boring pest of ash trees, but the insect still managed to progressively advance and expand its range. EAB is now present in 35 states, the District of Columbia, and 5 Canadian provinces and is responsible for the destruction of hundreds of millions of ash trees in forests, rural areas, and urban and suburban landscapes. It has become the most destructive and costly invasive forest insect in North America. States in the eastern U.S. produce nearly 114 million board feet of ash saw-timber annually, with a value of more than $25 billion. The compensatory value of the 8 billion ash trees on U.S. federal, state, and private forest land potentially infested with EAB is estimated to be $282 billion. EAB was first discovered in New York State in the spring of 2009, after two USDA Agricultural Research Service employees recognized damage to ash trees in the Town of Randolph, in Cattaraugus County…

drought210723North Bend, Oregon, KEZI-TV, July 22, 2021: Scientists Still Surveying Scope Of Tree Damage Following Heat Wave

Scientists are still trying to figure out the extent of the damage to western Oregon trees after a historic heat wave scorched leaves and needles across the state. Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Forestry are trying to map the damage, which they believe happened mostly in the Willamette Valley and coastal range west of the Cascades. Lauren Grand, OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension agent for Lane County, said the sun scorched some trees and damaged tissue during the heatwave, causing them to die. Other effects are less visible and happening inside the trees which are struggling to get water, Grand said. “You’re probably going to see this if you’re going hiking in the coast range or in the Cascade Mountains on the western side. If you notice something and you want to help report the damage that’s going on, reach out to your local extension office and let us know,” Grand said. There’s also the ongoing heat and drought across the state making matters worse. “Trees can also die just outright from drought and high-heat weather. We’re just going to see a lot more… tree mortality on the landscape,” Grand said. Even trees that are typically more tolerant of droughts, like Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar and Hemlock trees are starting to see issues from the conditions. Trees that manage to survive the heat and drought can in turn become more vulnerable to other ailments…

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sun Sentinel, July 22, 2021: Real estate Q&A: Can my HOA charge me $1,000 to have a tree removed?

Q: I would like to remove a tree on our homeowner association’s property in front of my house. My association wants to charge me around $1,000 for removing the tree, stump grinding and replacing the sod. My question is, can I be charged for this procedure?
A: Landscaping on your community’s common property belongs to the community as a whole, not just the member whose home it is in front of. Your association must maintain the common areas for the entire community’s benefit, not just one member. Each homeowner pays regular maintenance dues to their association to cover the costs of running the community. In your case, you are asking to have a change made to the landscaping that only benefits your property. Your board has determined this change is acceptable for the neighborhood’s look and feel. Even so, the board does not want the cost of making your requested change shared among the entire community. When I received your email, I was a bit surprised that the board approved this, even with you paying for it. Most calls I get on similar issues involve the board flat out refusing this type of request. Removing a tree is an expensive proposition that often involves getting a permit from your city’s building department. The removal, stump grinding, and sodding are necessary to keep your community looking nice and may even be required by your local building code. Fortunately, it seems that you are living in a community with a reasonable board willing to work with individual member’s requests. Now you need to decide if it is worth spending the money to have the tree removed…

treevandal210723Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat-Gazette, July 23, 2021: Author charged over felled trees set to surrender

A man accused of causing over $100,000 worth of damage to forestry on Central Arkansas Water land will surrender today on a warrant of arrest issued by the Pulaski County District Court. The warrant issued on Wednesday for Dennis Rainey, a Christian author, podcast host and co-founder of FamilyLife, charges him with felony first-degree criminal mischief regarding an tree-cutting incident. On May 12, Roland resident Rhonda Patton discovered the tops of some trees cut and others completely chopped down while walking along the Ouachita trail running alongside Lake Maumelle. When she asked those cutting down the trees, they told her they were working for Rainey, 73. “I was mad. My husband was shocked,” Patton told the Democrat-Gazette in May. After surveying the area, Central Arkansas Water initially determined between 75 and 100 trees were cut without knowing how many were completely chopped down. The warrant states Central Arkansas Water contact Raven Lawson, who also spoke to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, told investigators 111 trees were cut, with an approximate value of $109,899 and $12,000 being the cost for cleanup. Lawson said in an interview after the incident that many of the trees, which have taken years to grow to 20 foot heights, could die…

Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal, July 23, 2021: Why do trees grow so much better in the wild than in your yard?

Many years ago when I was a University of Illinois grad student, a local resident wrote to the department’s Cooperative Extension office with a question. After a bit of a preamble, the question emerged … “How long do I need to compost fresh cricket manure before using it to fertilize my plants?” Well, those of us self-appointed to the horticultural glitterati had a good laugh. I mean I had completed a four-year college curriculum in horticulture and a whole year of grad school. These silly people and their silly questions. … Obviously, the letter writer had spent too much time in the sun. Of course what she meant to ask about was chicken manure (not an uncommon organic fertilizer), not cricket manure. Who on earth would ever amass enough cricket manure to have to worry about composting it before using it as fertilizer? Turns out, the letter writer’s son was at the time owner of the largest live fishing bait company in the eastern USA. They grew and sold about a hundred zillion live crickets a year and, well, you can imagine how much cricket manure that number of Jimminys can produce … Our dear letter writer wanted to share her botanical booty with her fellow garden club members but wanted to make sure she properly processed it before sharing it with her friends. Laugh’s on us! Some questions just need to be asked, no matter how silly they might seem on the surface…

Biloxi, Mississippi, Sun Herald, July 14, 2021: ‘A tragedy.’ Ocean Springs cuts down Live oak tree after months of controversy.

The centuries-old tree that shaded an Ocean Springs playground is no more. On Wednesday morning, the streets around Fort Maurepas Park were blocked off as a crew started sawing off the Live oak’s massive branches. The scene marked the conclusion of a months-long battle over the tree. City officials believed it was damaged during Hurricane Zeta and hired an arborist to evaluate it. In his report, arborist Ben Kahlmus recommended it be removed because it could threaten the playground that sits in its shadow. After months of deliberation, and after paying for some of the tree’s branches over the playground to be cut off, the board of aldermen voted in June to remove it. But many Ocean Springs residents still held out hope that it might be saved. They argued there was little sign that Hurricane Zeta had significantly affected the tree, and that it appeared healthy enough that it was unlikely it would suddenly come crashing down while children were playing below it. At a board of aldermen meeting on July 6, several residents spoke during the public comment period to ask the board to save the tree, but the board took no action on the issue…

OSHA Online, July 14, 2021: Updated Enforcement Guidance for the Tree Care Industry is Implemented

OSHA issued a memorandum updating its enforcement guidance for compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) when inspecting tree care and tree removal operations, according to a trade release sent out by the U.S. Department of Labor. This memorandum highlights some of the hazards that workers face while working with trees regarding care and removal operations. It also provides CSHOs with guidance on OSHA standards that address dangerous situations as well as citations under the OSHA General Duty Clause (29 USC 654(a)(1)). Addressed in the memorandum, some issues include falls, use of PPE, occupational noise exposure, machine guarding and first-aid kits. nOSHA, however, does not have a specific standard for tree care operations. The administration currently applies some standards to address the serious hazards in the industry. The tree care industry petitioned in 2008 for its own rule-making. OSHA then completed a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel in May 2020. According to an article, the administration collected “information from affected small entities on a potential standard, including the scope of the standard, effective work practices, and arboricultural specific uses of equipment to guide OSHA in developing a rule that would best address industry safety and health concerns. Tree care continues to be a high-hazard industry…”

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, July 14, 2021: CMP denies lawmakers’ claim that it can’t meet tree-cutting requirements on corridor project

A $1 billion hydropower corridor continues to draw controversy as legislators who visited the first segment of the project in a remote part of Somerset County said Wednesday that the utility in charge of it cannot meet permit requirements, a claim the company denied. The legislators said the nature and age of the forest prevents a Central Maine Power Co. affiliate from being able to meet the tapering requirements in the permit, so tree-cutting should be stopped until protections are put into place. The New England Clean Energy Connect is one of the largest and most controversial projects in the state’s history, with many environmentalists and residents questioning its value to the state. The four lawmakers also asked the commissioner of Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection in a letter to have the board take jurisdiction over the project. The board is part of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, which issued a permit for the project, but it can enforce environmental protection laws independently. The permit requires the tree-cutting to be tapered to preserve the natural environment and wildlife, but the lawmakers said the cutting was in a straight line and wider than allowed in some areas, and that the state’s permit requirements are impossible for the project to meet…

Science News, July 14, 2021: Mixing trees and crops can help both farmers and the climate

Maxwell Ochoo’s first attempt at farming was a dismal failure. In Ochieng Odiere, a village near the shores of Kenya’s Lake Victoria, “getting a job is a challenge,” the 34-year-old says. To earn some money and help feed his family, he turned to farming. In 2017, he planted watermelon seeds on his 0.7-hectare plot. Right when the melons were set to burst from their buds and balloon into juicy orbs, a two-month dry spell hit, and Ochoo’s fledgling watermelons withered. He lost around 70,000 Kenyan shillings, or about $650. Ochoo blamed the region’s loss of tree cover for the long dry spells that had become more common. Unshielded from the sun, the soil baked, he says. In 2018, Ochoo and some neighbors decided to plant trees on public lands and small farms. With the help of nonprofit groups, the community planted hundreds of trees, turning some of the barren hillsides green. On his own farm, Ochoo now practices alley cropping, in which he plants millet, onions, sweet potatoes and cassava between rows of fruit and other trees. The trees provide shade and shelter to the crops, and their deeper root systems help the soil retain moisture. A few times a week in the growing season, Ochoo takes papayas, some as big as his head, to market, bringing home the equivalent of about $25 each time…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, July 13, 2021: ‘It made everybody cry’: Northampton residents push to save beloved cherry trees set to get axed in street project

Every neighbor who lives on or near Warfield Place, a quiet residential street in Northampton, seems to have a story about the cherry trees. The row of seven Kwanzan Japanese cherry trees sits right outside Lois Ahrens’s kitchen window. Ahrens, 74, said they have been an “integral” part of her life during the more than 23 years she’s lived on Warfield Place. Cecilia Shiner, 38, remembers introducing her newborn baby to her neighbors beneath the cherry trees eight years ago. Meg Robbins, 70, still has memories of taking her children to see the trees when they were young. Her kids would hug them as a sign of their appreciation. “They’re doing their beautiful leafy thing in the summer, they shade the entire side of that street, and when they bloom … they’re amazing,” Robbins said. “It’s just a pleasure.” Now, Northampton residents are rallying to save the trees, which the city is planning to cut down this year. Ruth Ozeki, who has lived on Warfield Place since 2015, said letters left on the doors of homes in April informed residents that a project to repave the street and reconstruct the sidewalk, part of a multi-street paving program in Northampton, would spell the end of the cherry trees. A groundskeeper from nearby Smith College planted the trees roughly 30 years ago when he lived on the street, according to Ozeki. Since then, they’ve become a beloved fixture of the neighborhood. After receiving the notice, a group of neighbors began a petition that now has more than 1,800 signatures. They’ve also penned editorials, met with the city’s mayor and Department of Public Works, and hosted the First Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in May to celebrate the trees…

Grand Junction, Colorado, Daily Sentinel, July 13, 2021: City responding to insect-damaged trees

The city of Grand Junction is taking action to combat several species of insects that are damaging the urban tree canopy. The primary tree species that has been impacted are ash trees, which makes up 23% of the public tree inventory. Grand Junction residents can expect to see city crews treating and removing public trees around the community at an increased pace this fall. Ash trees are particularly susceptible to pests such as the lilac ash borer and the ash bark beetle. Another even more damaging pest, the emerald ash borer, has caused severe damage Front Range communities, according to a city press release. The Parks and Recreation Department is taking steps to prepare for the emerald ash borer. It is injecting ash trees that are healthy and have a large enough trunk with a treatment to help them fight off the insects. Smaller ash trees will be sprayed to deter insects. Already infested ash trees must be removed, as no treatment will save the tree, according to the release. Trees will be planted in locations where there are signs of stewardship — mainly watering — to replace the lost trees. The city will plant a diverse group of species. It does not plant ash trees and suggests residents plant species other than ash…

National Geographic, July 13, 2021: What we can learn from Paris’s oldest tree

From the window of the apartment I’m staying in I can see the top of a not very tall but very remarkable tree, one that has occasionally been distracting me from the story I came to Paris for. I know the tree is remarkable because a plaque identifies it as the city’s oldest, planted in 1601. It’s a black locust, Robinia pseudoacacia, and it came originally from the Appalachians, in the United States… A wounded old soldier itself—its scarred trunk is kept upright by concrete braces—it turns out to have been the spearhead of an invading army: Since the 17th century, American black locusts have advanced across Europe and indeed the world. In Central Europe, especially, foresters soon fell in love with them. Black locusts grew quickly on land that had been denuded for firewood, protecting it from erosion. More recently, on the Loess Plateau in northwestern China, 25 million acres have been planted with black locusts over the last few decades to combat some of the worst soil erosion on Earth. Black locust wood is valuable too, and not just for burning; it’s hard and durable. Four centuries after Robin first planted the American import in his garden, Robinia is advertised here as the only “European” wood that can be used for garden furniture without pesticide treatment—a sustainable alternative to imported tropical teak. The trouble is, black locust doesn’t stay where it’s planted. It’s incredibly invasive, spreading by underground runners. In that it’s like another hardy pioneer, Ailanthus altissima, aka the tree of heaven, which in the 18th century traveled the world in the other direction, from China to America, with Paris botanists again offering a crucial assist…

Salt Lake City, Utah, KSL-TV, July 13, 2021: Monitor your trees during Utah’s drought, experts advise

As Utahns cut back on landscape watering during the intensity of the drought, experts said it’s still important to monitor the health of our trees. They said trees are pretty resilient, but some of them might need a little extra help to survive. “They, for the most part, can hang in there,” said Shaun Moser, manager of the Conservation Gardens at Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. “It depends on the type of tree, obviously, but most of them can go through summers and show minimal stress, with only having rain or (precipitation) every once in a while.” Gov. Spencer Cox asked all Utahns to cut back watering to twice a week and to prioritize trees and shrubs over turf. But with very little precipitation over the last two months, some trees are struggling, especially those that don’t get any irrigation. “It actually takes a pretty significant toll on the trees,” said Moser…

Phys.org, July 12, 2021: When a single tree makes a difference

A single tree along a city street or in a backyard can provide measurable cooling benefits, according to a new study from American University. The research shows that “distributed” trees, those that are stand-alone and scattered throughout urban neighborhoods, can help to reduce evening heat. The research suggests that planting individual trees can be a strategy to mitigate urban heat, particularly in areas where land for parks can be scarce. “There are plenty of good reasons to plant trees, but our study shows we shouldn’t underestimate the role that individual trees can play in mitigating heat in urban areas,” said Michael Alonzo, assistant professor of environmental science and lead author of the new study. “City planners can take advantage of the small spaces that abound in urban areas to plant individual trees.” The study is published in Environmental Research Letters. While urban parks provide important mid-day cooling for residents and visitors, the key to cooling from individual trees happens in the evening. In the new study, which was conducted in Washington, D.C., cooling benefits from distributed trees were found to occur around 6 or 7 p.m. and after sunset. The study revealed lower temperatures in neighborhoods where at least half the area was covered by canopy from distributed trees. Temperatures were 1.4 degrees Celsius cooler in the evening compared with areas with few trees. Even in the predawn hour, areas with only modest distributed canopy cover (about 20 percent of the area) were cooler than those with no trees, showing that on average, afternoon and evening cooling effects last well into the night, Alonzo added…

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, July 12, 2021:Tree tests positive for Dutch elm disease in Saskatoon park

One case of Dutch elm disease (DED) has been confirmed in a Saskatoon tree, according to the City of Saskatoon on Monday. Crews will start removing the infected tree located in the Westmount neighbourhood on Tuesday, read a press release. “(DED) is a serious disease of the American elm, and elm makes up about 25 per cent of Saskatoon’s urban forest,” entomologist Sydney Worthy said in a statement. “The disease was introduced into North America in the 1930s and has since spread mainly through the transport of firewood and lumber. It has wiped out millions of elms across Canada and the United States and has been present in Saskatchewan since the 1980s. “Saskatoon had a reposted case in September last year…”

London, UK, The Independent, July 12, 2021: Mysterious lonely apple tree on uninhabited Hebridean island baffles scientists

Hidden amongst mossy crags on an uninhabited outer-Hebridean island of Scotland’s west coast, a rare example of a pure European crab apple tree species has been surviving, likely since the end of the last ice age, scientists have suggested. The single lonely tree was first discovered by botanists in 2003 on a rocky outcrop on the island of Pabaigh Mor, which lies off the wild west coast of Lewis, and its highly remote location has baffled scientists. The tree is growing at what is believed to be the northwestern limit for the species, with only one other similar case known – another single apple tree found over 200 miles away on an inaccessible cliff in Shetland. Now, scientists have examined the tree’s DNA, and discovered it is a “pure” species of European crab apple, which has never been cross pollinated with modern species, and it represents a type of apple tree which colonised the British Isles and other parts of Europe after the last ice age. Crab apple trees have a lifespan of up to around 150 years, and the possibility of a seed reaching the outer hebrides by animal or human is unlikely, the scientists said, as neither birds nor humans consume crab apples. Dr Markus Ruhsam, molecular ecologist at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, told The Independent: “We’ve been looking at wild apple trees in Scotland for around three years, and the idea is to establish how pure the wild apple trees we find in the countryside are. “All over Europe there is a lot of hybridisation between the wild apple tree and the domesticated apple tree, and we wanted to establish how pure it is.” Other recent reports have suggested the tree itself may be 11,000 years old. Dr Ruhsam said this was not the case. “Dating back to the ice age is not quite correct. There must be a misunderstanding,” he said…

Omaha, Nebraska, July 12, 2021: Historic storm destroyed Omaha’s oldest trees

Hurricane force winds that blew through the Omaha metro over the weekend were not kind to our trees, especially the older ones. Hedi Lowe lost a tree in her yard that was more than 80 years old. She will miss the shade it provided in the summer but she’s grateful for the way her old friend went out. “Very fortunately, it fell away from the house and away from the cars and nobody was under it,” said Hedi. Things didn’t work out that way for homeowner Tod Nyquist. No one was hurt but the tree that belongs to his neighbor fell on his car and in his yard. “Everything past our property line, we have to pay to remove and he’s responsible for his side of it,” said Tod. All of these downed trees mean more work for tree service companies. John Simpson owns Nebraska Tree and Snow. He says his crew will give emergency calls priority. “It’s anything that on the house on power lines we get to those things first. Anything that’s an emergency, to try to get people’s power back on or get back inside their house or into their cars,” said Simpson. Officials with Nebraska Tree and Snow say most likely it will be next week before they will begin cutting up and removing the larger trees after they take care of customers with most urgent needs. John Fech is with the Douglas Sarpy County Extension Service. He says this storm taught us a lot about having too many weak wooded trees in the same place and we should think about replacing the old trees with a variety of different trees…

Boise, Idaho, Idaho Press, July 11, 2021: North Enders call for stronger penalties after illegal tree removal…

Late last year, a family renovating a North End property unwittingly demolished 10 mature trees without a necessary permit, writes Idaho Press reporter Ryan Suppe North Enders, and others, bent on maintaining the City of Trees’ historic character and natural amenities, say it was the latest example of a trending problem. Restoration and remodeling projects are threatening the appeal of Boise’s oldest neighborhoods, they say, and the city should take a more active role in enforcing guidelines to maintain historic districts. Kate Henwood co-chairs the North End Neighborhood Association’s bodies on issues that may impact the area’s historical integrity. When she’s not “sprinting from chainsaw noise to chainsaw noise” herself, Henwood acts as a sort of liaison between policymakers and North End residents, including those upset by the tree removals near 19th and Ada streets. Last year’s illegal tree removal is exactly the type of phenomenon she hopes to prevent. “The loss is just really disorienting and obviously upsetting to the folks who have been looking at them and enjoying them for years and years,” she said of the trees…

Centralia, Washington, Chronicle, July 9, 2021: Jury Convicts Olympic Forest Tree Thief Behind 2018 ‘Maple Fire’

A Washington tree thief who sparked national headlines after poaching prized maple trees on the Olympic National Forest — and ultimately causing the 2018 “Maple Fire” — has been convicted in U.S. District Court. After a six-day trial and seven-hour jury deliberation, Justin Andrew Wilke, 39, was convicted of conspiracy, theft of public property, depredation of public property, trafficking in unlawfully harvested timber and attempting to traffic in unlawfully harvested timber. Wilke, the main defendant in the case, will be sentenced this October. It was the first federal criminal trial to use tree DNA evidence. According to a news release from the Justice Department, Wilke, along with Shawn Edward Williams, 49, poached maple trees in the Elk Lake area. When a wasp’s nest posed an obstacle at the base of one tree, they used insecticide and gasoline to light it on fire, ultimately failing to extinguish it, causing a wildfire that burned more than 3,300 acres between August and November. Containment ran $4.2 million. The illegal logging operation was started with the goal of transporting the wood to a Tumwater mill. The kind of maple trees illegally cut down are used to make musical instruments…

Seattle, Washington, Times, July 11, 2021: Newly discovered fungus spores spurred by heat and drought are killing Seattle street trees

It looks burned, as if blasted with a blowtorch: blackened — and dead. This maple, in a row of trees along the parking strip at the driving range at the Jefferson Park Golf Course, is a victim of a disease killing Seattle’s street trees. First detected here in 2020, the disease is caused by a fungus that also can pose risks to human health. So-called sooty bark disease is named for the black, powdery patches that are the telltale marks on tree bark of the fungus Crypotostroma corticale. At least 46 street trees have been observed to be suffering or killed by the disease so far in the city, but many more trees may be infected, said Nicholas Johnson, an arborist for Seattle Parks and Recreation. The disease has emerged as a growing concern because it is expanding in the variety of trees it infects, including native Pacific dogwood and big leaf maple. Trees are critical for cooling in urban areas made warmer by climate change, and in Seattle, are grieved individually when lost to development. Greenbelts are cherished play places for kids and habitat for wildlife. Even with their sidewalk-busting ways, street trees are fiercely defended. The new disease further threatens the city’s canopy. The fungus’ spores also are allergenic and can cause a debilitating inflammation of the lungs in humans under prolonged contact with infected wood. Diseased trees in Europe are considered an occupational hazard, suffered by people with intensive job-related contact with wood, such as mill workers…

Salon, July 11, 2021: Trees are dying of thirst in the Western drought — here’s what’s going on inside their veins

Like humans, trees need water to survive on hot, dry days, and they can survive for only short times under extreme heat and dry conditions. During prolonged droughts and extreme heat waves like the Western U.S. is experiencing, even native trees that are accustomed to the local climate can start to die. Central and northern Arizona have been witnessing this in recent months. A long-running drought and resulting water stress have contributed to the die-off of as many as 30% of the junipers there, according to the U.S. Forest Service. In California, over 129 million trees died as a consequence of a severe drought in the last decade, leaving highly flammable dry wood that can fuel future wildfires. Firefighters are now closely watching these and other areas with dead or dying trees as another extremely dry year heightens the fire risk. Trees survive by moving water from their roots to their leaves, a process known as vascular water transport. Water moves through small cylindrical conduits, called tracheids or vessels, that are all connected. Drought disrupts the water transport by reducing the amount of water available for the tree. As moisture in the air and soil decline, air bubbles can form in the vascular system of plants, creating embolisms that block the water’s flow. The less water that is available for trees during dry and hot periods, the higher the chances of embolisms forming in those water conduits. If a tree can’t get water to its leaves, it can’t survive…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star Tribune, July 8, 2021: Report: When it comes to trees, St. Paul’s mostly covered

Just as St. Paul is ramping up efforts in its multiyear struggle to combat emerald ash borer by removing ash trees across the city, a national report is pointing out disparities in leafy canopies among neighborhoods nationwide, including locally. A new Tree Equity report by the nonprofit American Forests reveals tree cover disparities along race and class lines in many cities. The group gave St. Paul an equity score of 83, which indicates the city is performing well overall, but with some neighborhoods lacking suggested tree cover. The biggest disparities are on private property, not on city boulevards and parks, according to city officials. The importance of tree coverage has grown in recent years as concern for climate change and heat islands grows. Tree cover has become a point of concern particularly in St. Paul, where the emerald ash borer was first found in Minnesota, in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in 2009. Though many communities across the state have battled with the invasive species, it’s been a particular blight in St. Paul…

Washington, D.C., WUSA-TV, July 8, 2021: Yes, you get the bill if a neighbor’s tree hits your house, unless you do this one thing

With Tropical Storm Elsa expected to hit the Washington, D.C. region, homeowners are preparing for heavy rain and wind. That includes in St. Mary’s County where a State of Emergency has already been declared…The Verify team is getting ahead of the damage and looking into who is responsible for paying for damage caused by toppled trees. If a home is damaged by a toppled tree, from either a neighbor’s lawn or public property, who is responsible for paying for repairs? Generally speaking, the claim should be made by the homeowner, regardless of where the tree came from. This applies for trees located on a neighbor’s property and those on public land. Erin L. Webb, an insurance lawyer in the Washington, D.C. area, says there is a general rule when dealing with storm-related property damage caused by toppled trees. “The general approach is ‘your property, your problem,'” she says. “In other words, where the tree falls, that determines who will be financially responsible for removal.” That standard is supported by Michael Barry, the Senior Vice president at the Insurance Information Institute. “The claim starts wherever the tree fell,” he said. “So if the tree fell on your house, even if it wasn’t your tree, you should file a claim.” A situation where that advice might change is if a homeowner had previously warned the neighbor, in writing, that the tree was at risk of falling and they neglected to address it…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, July 8, 2021: Mainers should be on the lookout for a new threat to the state’s elm trees

If you see an elm tree leaf with an odd, zigzag-shaped missing section, Maine forestry officials want to hear about it. It could be evidence of a new and potentially destructive insect pest in the state called the elm zigzag sawfly. The elm zigzag sawfly was observed in Quebec a year ago and officials there this summer reached out to their counterparts in adjacent states in the United States and Canadian provinces asking for help determining if the insect is spreading — and, if so, how far. Native to Asia, the elm zigzag sawfly was observed in Eastern Europe in 2003. Since then it has spread to more than 15 other European countries where it is causing significant damage to elm trees. So far, it has not been seen outside of Quebec in North America. “This is a new and unfolding story in North America,” said Michael Parisio, forest entomologist with the Maine Forest Service. “It’s difficult to say at this point how bad of a problem it could be here.” Two weeks ago, at the request of his counterpart in Quebec, Parisio set out traps — squares of yellow plastic coated with a sticky material — on elm trees in Augusta and Hermon. Because the traps have only been out for a couple of weeks, Parisio said it’s too soon to give any updated information on whether the insect has made it to Maine. “Our first step is to determine if it’s even a problem here,” Parisio said. “Then figure out the extent of the problem and what to do about it…”

West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University Extension Service, July 8, 2021: Purdue Landscape Report: Summer Tree Care

Finally, spring has sprung and summer is on its way. The hot days and warm nights are welcome for us, but summer isn’t always so kind to our trees, especially in our urban forests and landscapes. Trees are dynamic living organisms that respond to external stimuli in very strategic ways and each season presents its own challenges and summer is no different. During the summer, growth slows as some resources become limited and typically, this is water. As the summer season progresses, the likelihood of less rain means potential drought conditions. The primary responses of a tree to heat and drought are a reduction in photosynthesis and carbon assimilation rates. This translates to a reduction in energy production and food reserves. This reduction can increase vulnerability to health issues and reduced defense mechanisms against pests. There are some key steps to summer tree care which can help trees through potentially challenging conditions in the summer. (1) Watch the water; be sure to supplement trees with additional watering when there isn’t adequate rainfall that measures at least an inch per week. Mature trees need supplemental watering just as the younger, newly established trees. Be sure to know the symptoms of dry conditions and how much to water with more information here…

Baltimore, Maryland, Patch, July 7, 2021: Maryland Says Goodbye To Cicadas, Welcomes Brown Tree Branches

In case you haven’t noticed, cicadas are officially gone. After eight weeks of the “bottomless supply” of droning insects in Maryland, the Brood X cicadas have left for another 17 years. But they wouldn’t be cicadas without leaving something behind to remember them by. The tips of tree branches are turning brown as a result of flagging from female cicadas. Before their departure, the female cicadas cut “train track like patterns” into tree branches to lay their remaining eggs. The branches are turning brown because the cuts stop sap and water from reaching the end of the branch, killing it. According to WTOP news, the cicadas seem to only lay their eggs in thin, small tree branches. The cicadas’ damage to the branch does not harm the rest of the tree. The laid eggs will remain in the branch for about a month before they hatch, fall from the tree, and go underground. They will reappear in 2038, 17 years from now, and the cicada mania will begin all over again…

Norfolk, Virginia, WTKR-TV, July 7, 2021: How to handle fallen trees after a major storm

With Tropical Storm Elsa on its way to Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina, Dominion Energy’s linemen are on the clock. “The good news is that we’re ready. We prepare for things like this all year long,” said Legislative Advisor/Sr. Communications Specialist Paula Miller. Continuing preps Wednesday afternoon, crews readied vehicles for strong winds and rain that could take down trees and limbs. “Usually when trees land on a power line, we’re going to be having to put a lot of wire backup, so we keep a good amount of wire on our truck,” said Walter Moore, a lineman for Dominion Energy. “It could be a twig that could lay across [it] and affect the whole power line.” It could also affect your relationship with your neighbor: Who’s responsibility is it to remove the tree? How far can branches be cut back? What if the tree root is encroaching on two properties? “For the most part, insurance covers when there’s damage. It’s when the tree falls and doesn’t damage anything. So, good news – [there’s] no property got damaged, but the not-so-good news is that somebody’s got a pay to remove it,” said John Tarley, managing attorney at Tarley Robinson in Williamsburg. Tree removal can be expensive if the tree is large enough. Tarley isn’t offering legal advice, but he hopes to clear up some confusion with Virginia’s “Tree Law.” “The general Tree Law in Virginia is if the tree limbs of your neighbors tree are hanging over your fence, you can cut them up to your property line,” he said. Tarley has also taken to the internet to answer some questions about Tree Law and neighbors’ disputes. In the event a storm does make a mess across yards, you may want to just talk it out with your neighbor before getting caught up in legal trouble. Tarley said one time, “A tree on my neighbor’s property fell on my land and we split the cost of removing the tree, which is people will find is substantial…”

Phys.org, July 7, 2021: Trees: The critical infrastructure low-income neighborhoods lack

As the Pacific Northwest sweltered through a record-breaking heat wave last week, many residents here in America’s least air-conditioned city sought relief under the shade of cedars and maples in city parks. But in some areas of Seattle, that shelter was hard to come by. “If you look at aerial photographs, north Seattle looks like a forest,” said Washington state Rep. Bill Ramos, a suburban Democrat who sponsored a bill the legislature recently passed to help cities improve their tree canopy. “On the south side, you see nothing but rooftops and asphalt and not a green thing anywhere. It’s strictly a matter of socioeconomics and race.” That disparity is not unique to Seattle. American Forests, a Washington, D.C.-based conservation nonprofit, released a nationwide analysis last month showing that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have significantly less tree canopy. Those areas also are more likely to suffer from the urban heat island effect caused by a lack of shade and an abundance of heat-absorbing asphalt. Heat islands can be as much as 10 degrees hotter than surrounding neighborhoods. “We found that the wealthiest neighborhoods have 65% more tree canopy cover than the highest poverty neighborhoods,” said Ian Leahy, the group’s vice president of urban forestry. “As cities are beginning to heat up due to climate change, people are realizing that trees are critical infrastructure. I’ve never seen as much momentum toward urban forestry across the board.” In many cities and states, policymakers and advocates say they’re aiming to correct decades of inequities in urban tree canopy. They acknowledge how racist policies such as redlining have had a stark effect on the presence of urban green space, and that trees are important for public health. Some leaders have even pledged to use American Forests’ “Tree Equity Score” to target their tree plantings in the neighborhoods that need it most…

NPR, July 7, 2021: What The Rise And Fall Of Lumber Prices Tell Us About The Pandemic Economy

It’s been a roller-coaster ride for lumber prices over the last year – and it’s drawn outsize attention from the aisles of Home Depot to the Federal Reserve. Lumber prices surged to record highs this year on the back of booming demand from home-builders and do-it-yourself-ers with plenty of time on their hands. The price surge was so big and sudden, it became a symbol of what some economists feared: rampant inflation. But over the past two months, lumber prices have been dropping equally fast, giving weight to the central bank’s argument that pandemic price spikes for many products are likely to be temporary. That’s not the end of the story, however. Lumber prices may have fallen but they are still elevated, creating new headaches for the critical housing sector. And companies in the lumber industry are wrestling with a new pandemic problem: a shortage of workers. Here are three things that the rise, fall, and now volatility of lumber prices tell us about the pandemic economy. The supply shock that sent lumber prices to record levels earlier this year did not come from a shortage of trees: The price of raw timber has barely budged. Instead, the lumber crunch was centered on sawmills, which cut round timber into square boards…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, July 6, 2021: Did your trees survive the harsh winter storm? These foresters discuss how to tell

It may be too early to tell if your trees have truly survived this winter’s storm, but a Plano forester is back to discuss the warning signs that a tree may be damaged beyond repair. Plano’s urban forester Marc Beaudoing and Mike Sills, a Dallas region urban forester for the Texas Urban Forest Service, outlined what to look for during a video presentation. Beaudoing had previously discussed what to look for immediately after this winter’s storms, and returned to discuss signs of damage or death in area trees. The types of trees that are showing damage from the storm include lacebark elm, Texas ash, Chinese tallow, and red oak. The full extent of damages throughout the city is not yet known, Beaudoing said. “We’ve been going through the neighborhoods and trying to figure out how many trees have been affected by the storm and we’ve been keeping track of all of the trees on public properties and private properties, as well,” Beaudoing said. Some of the warning signs of damage are brittle branches, leaves growing out of the base of the tree, and tips that have died back about five feet into the canopy. In addition to record-setting low temperatures of below 5 degrees in February, the storm brought more than 200 hours of below-freezing temperatures to Plano, Beaudoing said. Thankfully, the winter storm has been followed by a lot of rain, but trees that appear to be recovering are not out of the woods just yet, according to the foresters. A summer drought, for example, could prove too stressful for trees that are already damaged…

Orlando, Florida, WKMG-TV, July 6, 2021: Tree trimming companies busy ahead of Elsa’s arrival

Tree removal services are keeping busy ahead of Elsa’s potential to bring tropical force winds and heavy rain to parts of Central Florida and one of the major safety concerns are flying tree limbs and trees toppling over. “Usually, whenever they announce a storm especially if the trajectory is to come to Florida, the phones just go off the hook,” Iván Arocha, the owner of Forrest Stump Tree Services in Orlando said. “The biggest thing is to keep your trees pruned and properly pruned.” Pruning is another word for trimming. As the storm approaches, high winds are a concern because they cause flying debris like tree limbs and can even uproot trees. “It could be catastrophic. I mean it’s hard to say what level of damage a tree is gonna cause. Sometimes if the whole tree uproots it could come down very slow it could actually rest on a home and do very minimal damage,” Arocha said. Just hours before the storm hits his team removed a large tree from the backyard of a home in Orlando. A homeowner told Arocha they had a tree with limbs falling off. Arocha said that’s an indication that a tree could be weak…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, July 6, 2021: Drought Putting Bay Area Trees Under Stress; ‘Give Them Water’ Says Water District

It’s easy to see the beauty and benefits of large, mature trees. What’s harder to see is that the drought is already putting many of them under stress. “If you notice things that for this time of year look a little different,” said John Chapman, an arborist for the Santa Clara Valley Water District. “Like, a lot of our trees will start to turn color in the fall as just part of their natural progression. We’re seeing plants starting to do that already.” Chapman says other trees, which were probably stressed in the last drought, have now died. And more could follow in the yards of homeowners when people turn off their lawn sprinklers to save water. That’s why the Valley Water District is modifying its message when it comes to watering during the drought. “The messaging is to cut back on general use of water in your landscape, convert over to drought-tolerant landscaping, but if you have established trees, give them water.” Mature trees provide shade and natural cooling, which can cut down on home energy use. They also provide habitat for birds and wildlife, cut down on erosion and provide oxygen for us to breathe. “You can’t just replace a large mature tree like that. You need to plant the tree and wait and wait, 30 to even, like, hundreds of years,” said Sophia Saavedra with Our City Forest, which helps replenish San Jose’s tree population…

Country Living, July 6, 2021: What to Do about Gypsy Moths Devouring Your Trees

It all started when an entrepreneur in Massachusetts imported European gypsy moths in 1869 in hopes of finding an alternative insect for silk production; his effort failed miserably in more ways than one. Unfortunately, a few caterpillars escaped, reproduced, and spread. These destructive insects are now found throughout the Northeast, west to Wisconsin, and south to Virginia. “Gypsy moths can defoliate hundreds of acres and decimate a forest,” says entomologist Michael Skvarla, PhD, assistant research professor of arthropod identification at Penn State University. “They haven’t been an issue for the last 10 or 15 years, but in 2021, we’re seeing a significant outbreak.” Generally, population explosions eventually collapse due to natural predators such as mice or specialized wasps, or two naturally occurring diseases, a virus known as NPV and a fungus. In the meantime, it’s decidedly not so pleasant to watch them chowing down on your trees, covering the side of your house, or crashing the family picnic. Plus, a huge infestation may result in a lot of, well, caterpillar poo, on decks and patios. The good news is that gypsy moth caterpillars don’t bite, though if handled, their hairs can cause skin irritation—and their waste simply can be hosed off. While you can’t eliminate gypsy moths, you can take a few steps to try to reduce the population and feel a little less anxiety-ridden that your entire garden is their personal buffet. Here’s what you should know to help control gypsy moths in your garden. Fortunately, state and federal programs have slowed the spread in the last 20 years—but they’re still a big threat because they’ve defoliated 75 million acres in the U.S. since 1970. You may see the caterpillars, also called larvae, munching on your trees and shrubs; they feed on more than 300 species. Some of their favorites include oak, birch, cedar, and fruit trees—but they’ll even eat conifers if they get hungry enough, says Skvarla. Typically, you’ll see the tiny ¼-inch to ½-inch-long caterpillars hatch in early to mid-May; by June they’re 1 to 2 or more inches long, hairy, with two rows of little bumps down their backs. The first third of the dots are blue, the second 2/3 are red dots. No other caterpillar looks like this, says Skvarla…

newtree210706Jackson, Tennessee, Sun, July 5, 2021: An in-tree-guing discovery: Globally rare, endangered tree discovered in
Obion County

The rare and endangered Harbison’s Hawthorn tree—thought only to exist as a single stalk in Nashville’s Percy Warner Park—has been discovered in Obion County, thanks to the efforts of a number of very dedicated ecological scientists over a six-and-a-half year span. “I’m really rocked back on my heels over the interest this has gotten! This has been very shocking and encouraging,” said Barry Hart, ecological site inventory specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service of Tennessee, and the original discoverer of the tree. “I just stumbled upon this population—it’s the plant that warrants all of this attention, not me.” Hart made the seemingly impossible discovery while on a routine survey trip with a soil scientist back in October 2014, when he was cataloging plant specimens along a rural backroad in Obion County. “I was in the Loess Hills, in a very rural area in the southwest portion of Obion county, and I was just out walking along the road,” he said. “I did not have permission to go on the land along the road, so a soil scientist and myself were walking along the road, just jotting down species, trying to characterize the landscape as well as the plants growing on the trees.” That’s when Hart saw the first small hawthorn tree…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, July 4, 2021: Bruce Kreitler: Desperate trees call for desperate measures

June worked very hard to retain its reputation as our rainiest month, and seeing the nutlets that are growing on pecan trees, I think it’s safe to say we have over-weighted pecan limbs in our (near) future. I still am curious about the timing on our pecan crop this year; as I mentioned in an earlier column, this year’s cooler temperatures got pecans off to a later start, which makes me think the pecans will mature later than usual. Something else that I’ve recently noticed, and this is an entirely different kind of crop, is that I’m not seeing mesquite beans in mesquite trees. Granted, most of the mesquites I’m looking at are just ones I’m driving by, and maybe I’m just missing them. However, it’s July and normally at this time of year, mesquite beans are almost mature, or already falling out of trees. What brought my attention to the mesquites is that they currently are blooming, and I’m wondering if this second bloom actually will set a crop this year, since the primary spring crop seems to be mostly missing…

willow210706Popular Science, July 1, 2021: Willow trees could be a sustainable (and beautiful) way to treat wastewater

Just like most everything else in our day-to-day life, the climate crisis is stressing storm drainage systems and wastewater management—especially in large cities. As intense rainfall and flooding increase for many coastal areas, all that access water overwhelms municipal stormwater management systems. This can lead to backups where runoff of “contaminants such as trash, nutrients, sediment or bacteria into local waterways” which lowers water quality and even threatens drinking water supplies according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There’s a lot of water to process and clean up in North America alone. Canada treats and releases six trillion liters (more than 1.5 trillion gallons) of municipal wastewater into the environment every year. Another billion liters of untreated sewage is then discharged into pristine surface waters when storms overtax systems and facilities, leading to water contamination. Water treatment facilities in the United States process over 34 billion gallons (over 128 million liters) every single day, the EPA reports. But, the question remains, is the way we are currently treating wastewater the best way to go? A team of researchers from various universities in Canada and the United Kingdom may have found a sustainable solution—planting willow trees. The group investigated a plantation of willow trees in Quebec and found that the lovely, weepy trees were able to filter over 30 million liters of primary wastewater per hectare in the course of three years. They published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal Science of The Total Environment. “We’re still learning how these trees can tolerate and treat such high volumes of wastewater, but willows’ complex ‘phyto’-chemical toolkit is giving us exciting clues,” Eszter Sas, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. student at Université de Montréal said in a release. “It seems likely that we’re still only scratching the surface of these trees’ natural chemical complexity, which could be harnessed to tackle environmental problems…”

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star-Tribune, July 5, 2021: Oak wilt reaches Crow Wing County, putting Minnesota’s northern trees at risk

The edges of the leaves of an old oak tree near Brainerd turned brown last summer when they should have been at their healthiest. This spring, as everything around the tree was blooming, its leaves fell, creating a telltale carpet of dead leaves with brown edges and green centers. Samples sent to a lab in the Twin Cities recently confirmed what arborists suspected: Oak wilt has made it to Crow Wing County. It’s the farthest north the disease, always fatal to most oak species, has been found. The spread now covers about a third of the state, putting one of Minnesota’s most important trees at risk. One of the striking things about oak wilt, caused by an invasive fungus, is how quickly it attacks a tree once it’s there, said Rachael Dube, forest health specialist for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Most red oaks die within two months of infection, she said. Some are killed in just a couple of weeks. “While it’s devastating to individual trees, what we’re very concerned about over time is the ecological impact of losing oak trees,” Dube said. Oak wilt was found recently in Crow Wing County as the disease continues to creep across the state. Caused by an invasive fungus that can kill a healthy tree in just weeks, oak wilt has been here since 1945…

New York City, The New York Times, July 2, 2021: Trees Save Lives in Heat Waves. So Why Aren’t We Saving Trees?

The trees were supposed to stay. It didn’t matter that the owners of the squat building alongside were planning to redevelop the property. The four eastern red cedars stood on city land, where they had grown for the better part of a century. “There’s no way these trees are coming down,” Shane McQuillan, who manages the city’s trees, recalled thinking. “The default position for us is, you don’t take out big trees to put in small trees.” Here’s why: At a time when climate change is making heat waves more frequent and more severe, trees are stationary superheroes. Research shows that heat already kills more people in the United States than hurricanes, tornadoes and other weather events, perhaps contributing to 12,000 deaths per year. Extreme heat this week in the Pacific Northwest and Canada has killed hundreds. Trees can lower air temperature in city neighborhoods 10 lifesaving degrees, scientists have found. They also reduce electricity demand for air conditioning, not only sparing money and emissions, but helping avoid potentially catastrophic power failures during heat waves…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, July 1, 2021: Michael Potter: Questions to ask as you evaluate the health of your trees

Weather plays a big part in the overall health of our trees. The freeze in February of this year, along with more than adequate rainfall, are just examples of what trees encounter over their lifespan. The freeze event really did a number on many trees. Also keep in mind all the ups and downs that trees have to endure. We have been receiving questions regarding how to handle or what to do with a damaged tree. “Should I cut it down? What can I do to save the tree?” I ran across a publication that our Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) published. It was a publication called the “Tree Care Kit.” I hope the following information will help you assess a trees properly before writing off a damaged tree as a “goner.” Homeowners should evaluate their trees by asking the following questions: Other than the storm damage, is the tree basically healthy and vigorous? If the tree is basically healthy, is not creating a hazard, and did not suffer major structural damage, it will generally recover if first aid measures are applied immediately after the storm…

Palm Beach, Florida, Post, July 1, 2021: Hurricane preparation: Trim your trees now, before the storm

Trim trees before storms threaten. Many municipalities have “amnesty” weeks before storm season, when you can deposit more than the allowable limit of yard debris . Call municipalities for more information. Call a professional. Trees trimmed by a professional arborist are far less likely to fall. Thinning a tree allows wind to blow through its canopy, offering less wind resistance in a storm. Prune young trees to create a single leader, which will grow into a strong trunk. Minimize damage to mature trees by removing weak branches and reducing limb lengths. Hatracked trees become sails. Removing a tree’s canopy encourages bushy growth, making a tree top-heavy and wind-resistant. Hatracking is also illegal…

Farm Progress, July 2, 2021: Oak trees are mighty

Many years ago, as we were developing our community arboretum in my hometown, we planted a handful of bur oak seedlings in our parks. At the time, there were a few skeptics who mentioned that they would never live long enough to see these oaks amount to anything. Besides, their experiences with bur oak were in a wild, pasture setting, where the trees grew up gnarled and tough. They weren’t considered stately park trees. Now, about 30 years later, those little bur oak seedlings have grown to about 40 feet in height and are beautiful shade trees in our parks. Granted, they were planted next to a creek, so moisture was never a problem in their growth. Yet, this little bur oak experiment has proven to me that oaks are a tree that should be considered for plantings around the farm and ranch. On our farm, there are no native bur oak trees. Our creek valley grows plenty of native hackberry and cottonwood, but no oak. That’s why we planted a couple of bur oak seedings a few years back on the farm, because of their longevity and toughness under extreme conditions. Oaks thrive in zones 3 to 8, which covers most of the continental U.S. They are known for their slow growth rate, which is why they are considered survivors. They take their time and require a little patience, growing maybe a foot or more a year under normal conditions…

Sacramento, California, Bee, June 30, 2021: Hundreds of miles of blue oak tree cover exclusive to California have vanished. Why?

Sprinkled along the foothills of California’s Central Valley stand the iconic blue oak woodlands. Towering up to 80 feet tall and some reaching over 400 years old, the trees are home to one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the state. But extreme drought and wildfires are forcing the woodlands into an uncertain future. A new study conducted by U.S. Geological Survey researchers found that the historic drought of 2012-2016 alone caused nearly 490 square miles of tree cover loss — or the reduction of leaves and branches — in the blue oak woodlands. That’s about 37% of the entire tree cover loss in the study’s 32-year period… Blue oak cover loss in 2015 and 2016 was 5.2 and 3.2 times greater, respectively, than the average annual tree cover loss in the entire study period. Tree cover loss occurred even during periods without forest fires, with the greatest damage done during the driest and hottest years, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Frontiers in Climate

Charlotte, North Carolina, WCNC-TV, June 30, 2021: ‘Get McGinty’ helps neighborhood get trees trimmed that were sparking fires

A Charlotte neighborhood is breathing a sigh of relief after a potentially dangerous situation was resolved thanks to help from WCNC Charlotte. Linda Britton and several of her neighbors were concerned about some power lines that were buried in the trees in some backyards and common areas in their community. Neighbors said the lines even sparked a small fire at one point. Britton contacted Bill McGinty about getting the trees cut back, which is something all homeowners should consider now that it’s hurricane season. “And the tree branches are causing spark-ups and fires in the tree branches when they rub against the power lines,” Britton said. For some people, the trees don’t really look like they’d be a problem but they were, especially in strong winds. The neighborhood was having trouble getting this issue fixed, so Britton emailed WCNC Charlotte, who in turn contacted Duke Energy, which is responsible for those lines. This story serves as yet another reminder that trees near power lines, or your home for that matter, should be pruned back, especially in storm season…

Phys.org, June 30, 2021: Why an invasive caterpillar is munching its way through tree leaves, in the largest outbreak in decades

The past several weeks have seen a voracious moth caterpillar eat its way through tree leaves across southern Ontario and Québec, and from Michigan to Vermont. Since the 1980s, Lymantria dispar has led to enormous outbreaks, often lasting multiple years. The caterpillar has caused a great deal of damage, totaling more than 17,000 square kilometers across Canada. Efforts to manage the insect have cost billions of dollars in both Canada and the United States. The common name of this insect (gypsy moth) is problematic, so I’ll refer to it as L. dispar. You might also see it called “LDD moth” in some reports. They’re all the same species. L. dispar can be traced back to one man’s failed business venture, in this case, an attempt to launch a North American silk industry more than a century ago. Although it remains limited to a handful of provinces and U.S. states, the invasive species could spread further with global warming. Étienne Léopold Trouvelot, a French artist, astronomer and entomologist, was living in Medford, Mass., in the late 1800s when he decided to start breeding native North American moths in the trees near his house to create a silkworm colony. He was unsuccessful, probably because his caterpillars contracted viral diseases when they were kept in large numbers. Birds kept eating his caterpillars too…

Santa Barbara, California, Edhat, June 30, 2021: Two men face charges for illegally cutting down Eugena Trees in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that a felony complaint has been filed against James Allen Carr, 76, of Elk Grove, California and Enriquez Calles Vasquez, 51, of North Highlands, California. Mr. Carr and Mr. Vasquez have been charged with two felony violations; Conspiracy to Commit Vandalism, in violation of Penal Code section 182(a)(1), and Vandalism causing damage over $10,000, in violation of Penal Code section 594(a)(3). Additionally, Mr. Carr and Mr. Vasquez are charged with 3 misdemeanor violations of Santa Barbara Municipal Code section 15.20.115 (Unlawful Tree Removal from a Parkway), and 1 misdemeanor violation of Santa Barbara Municipal Code section 15.24.020 (Unlawful Tree Removal from a Setback). It is alleged that in December of 2020, Mr. Carr and Mr. Vasquez illegally cut down and removed 3 Eugena Trees owned by the City of Santa Barbara, and located on City of Santa Barbara property in front of a house on Paterna Road on the Riviera, owned by Mr. Carr. It is also alleged that Mr. Carr and Mr. Vasquez illegally removed a 4 th Eugena Tree located on Mr. Carr’s property. The Eugena Trees are estimated to have been over 50 years old, and the cost of replacing the 3 City of Santa Barbara-owned trees is estimated to be over $100,000…

Sacramento, California, Bee, June 29, 2021: Man ticketed in suburban Chicago dog park for tree treatment

A man who said he sprayed trees in a suburban Chicago park to protect them after an anxious dog chewed off the bark has been ticketed by authorities. Asher Thomas is accused of “altering flora” in a Naperville dog park. The ticket from the Will County Forest Preserve carries a $225 fine, the Aurora Beacon-News reported. “Just as you can’t go around doing things to other people’s property, even if intentions are good, you can’t allow your dogs to do damage or spray a foreign substance on trees,” said Forest Preserve Deputy Police Chief Dave Barrios. Thomas said he regularly takes his dog, Dixie, to Whalon Lake Dog Park and learned that another owner’s German shepherd had gnawed away the bark on more than a dozen trees. He said he used a can of tree pruning sealer to cover the wounds…

Portland, Oregon, Oregonian, June 29, 2021: ODOT fires a prime contractor on its controversial post-fire hazard tree and debris removal program

The Oregon Department of Transportation has fired its contractor responsible forremoving trees and clearing debris from last year’s Riverside and Beachie Creek fires after delays “caused us to lose confidence in ECC’s ability to complete this work timely and in accordance with the state’s expectations.” The agency told lawmakers in an email Monday afternoon that the decision to remove ECC Constructors LLC resulted in part due to oversight mechanisms and contract administration put in place after the Legislature held hearings on the hazard-tree removal program this spring after media reports that it was being mismanaged. Those changes gave the state more flexibility to move contractors from one fire to another. The email, from Lindsay Baker, ODOT’s assistant director of government relations, went to 23 senators and representatives. “I do have news to share that I expect you’d want to learn from me instead of seeing it in the papers,” she told them. Nicole Sherbert, a spokeswoman for the debris removal program, said Tuesday the state and ODOT had expected that hazard tree cutting and removal and private property ash and debris cleanup would be completed by the end of this year. “When comparing this contractor’s performance to others and their general lack of urgency, we do not feel that they are able to complete the work in a reasonable timeframe; thus find it in the best interest of the public to terminate all contracts with ECC for convenience on June 28, 2021,” she said in an email…

The Conversation, June 29, 2021: Trees are dying of thirst in the Western drought – here’s what’s going on inside their veins

Like humans, trees need water to survive on hot, dry days, and they can survive for only short times under extreme heat and dry conditions. During prolonged droughts and extreme heat waves like the Western U.S. is experiencing, even native trees that are accustomed to the local climate can start to die. Central and northern Arizona have been witnessing this in recent months. A long-running drought and resulting water stress have contributed to the die-off of as many as 30% of the junipers there, according to the U.S. Forest Service. In California, over 129 million trees died as a consequence of a severe drought in the last decade, leaving highly flammable dry wood that can fuel future wildfires. Firefighters are now closely watching these and other areas with dead or dying trees as another extremely dry year heightens the fire risk. Trees survive by moving water from their roots to their leaves, a process known as vascular water transport. Water moves through small cylindrical conduits, called tracheids or vessels, that are all connected. Drought disrupts the water transport by reducing the amount of water available for the tree. As moisture in the air and soil decline, air bubbles can form in the vascular system of plants, creating embolisms that block the water’s flow. The less water that is available for trees during dry and hot periods, the higher the chances of embolisms forming in those water conduits. If a tree can’t get water to its leaves, it can’t survive…

New York City, The New York Times, June 30, 2021: Since When Have Trees Existed Only for Rich Americans?

Access to clean air and outdoor activities seems like a basic right. But in cities across the country, lower-income communities and communities of color more often live in neighborhoods with a higher share of concrete surfaces such as roads, buildings and parking lots, and a very limited number of trees and parks. Neighborhoods with a majority of people in poverty have 25 percent less tree canopy on average than those with a minority of people in poverty, according to American Forests’ Tree Equity Score tool that analyzes income, employment, age, ethnicity, health and surface temperature with tree canopy data in 486 metro areas.
In the most extreme cases, wealthy areas have 65 percent more tree canopy than communities where nine out of 10 people live below the poverty line. Communities with too few trees are feeling the consequences this week, as a heat wave sweeps through much of the Pacific Northwest. The average temperature can vary to up to 10 degrees between places with trees and those without. And where there is more heat, there is more death: Heat kills more people in the United States than any other kind of extreme weather. We can expect up to a tenfold increase in heat-related deaths in the eastern United States by the latter half of the 2050s and at least a 70 percent increase in the largest cities nationwide by 2050…

Los Angeles, California, Times, June 28, 2021: Couple fined $18,000 for bulldozing dozens of Joshua trees to make
way for home

A couple who bulldozed and buried 36 Joshua trees to make way for a home were recently fined $18,000 — a punishment authorities hope will deter others from destroying the iconic trees. “I would hope that the person that would otherwise take, remove, bulldoze a Joshua tree would understand that they are facing fairly significant criminal liability for doing so,” said Douglas Poston, supervising deputy district attorney with the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office. An investigation into the destruction began Feb. 11, when a Morongo Basin resident saw his neighbors using a tractor to mow down dozens of the twisted, bristled trees and reported it to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife through a tip line, wildlife officials said. Not long before, the neighbor — who was not identified — noticed the trees were marked for removal and warned Jeffrey Walter and Jonetta Nordberg-Walter not to take them out. The western Joshua tree is a candidate for protection under the California Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to cut down, damage or remove the sensitive desert tree without a permit while they’re under review for more lasting protection. According to Poston, the couple believed that small trees, under a certain diameter, could legally be removed. The two own the land where the trees were and planned to build a home on the lot. “But that’s not accurate, obviously,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a foot tall or 20 feet tall, it’s under that protection…”

US News and World Report, June 28, 2021: How Much Do Trees Lower Urban Temperatures?

Could trees be the key to a cool summer in the city? Yes, claims new research that calculated just how much greenery can bring temperatures down. “We’ve long known that the shade of trees and buildings can provide cooling,” said study co-author Jean-Michel Guldmann. He is a professor emeritus of city and regional planning at Ohio State University, in Columbus. “But now we can more precisely measure exactly what that effect will be in specific instances, which can help us make better design choices and greening strategies to mitigate the urban heat island effect,” Guldmann said in a university news release. For the study, his team created a 3D digital model of a nearly 14-square-mile area of northern Columbus to assess the effect that shade from trees and buildings had on land surface temperatures over one hour on a summer day. The researchers found that the amount of tree canopy had a significant impact on what’s known as the urban heat island effect. For example, on a day when the temperature was 93.33 degrees Fahrenheit in one neighborhood, the temperature would have been 3.48 degrees lower (89.85 degrees) if all the current trees had been fully grown. And if the neighborhood had 20 more full-grown trees, the temperature would be another 1.39 degrees lower…

Wichita, Kansas, Eagle, June 26, 2021: Kansas shoe tree that had visitors from around the world reduced to stump after storm

It’s unclear whether it made any noise when it fell, but the famous shoe tree near Wetmore in Nemaha County, Kansas has definitely made some noise after it fell during a storm earlier this week. People from all over the world visited the large cottonwood tree that had hundreds of shoes, heels, boots, clogs and sneakers nailed to it. It fell during a storm Thursday night. A Facebook post showing a photo of the downed tree has been shared hundreds of times, including by the Big Kansas Road Trip’s Facebook page. One person replied to the road trip’s share that it was on their bucket list to visit the tree. “There’s a little bit of it left but it sure isn’t the same as seeing the huge majestic tree as it once was,” the BKRT replied. Jerry Kissel, whose father nailed the first shoe to the tree in the 1990s, said his father never thought the tree would be so popular. He said the tree knocked out the power at his fourth-generation farmstead a quarter-mile from the tree, which is on public land. “It came down hard,” Kissel said. “We knew it was going to come down. It was a matter of time.” The tree is believed to be more than 100 years old. Kissel said it had the circumference of a telephone pole when his great grandfather moved to the farmstead in 1909. His father would later play under its branches while he waited for the mail carrier to drop off letters at the corner…

Gulfport, Mississippi, WXXV-TV, June 28, 2021: 200-year-old oak tree in Ocean Springs causing issues

A 200-year-old live oak tree in Ocean Springs is causing controversy. The tree is presenting safety concerns leaving many stumped on whether the tree should be cut down. This morning, an arborist from New Orleans weighed in the debate. “Leave it. Absolutely 100 percent don’t cut it down. It’s just crazy what is happening to this tree that’s been here for 200 years.” For Ocean Springs resident Bob Smith, cutting down the oak tree at Fort Maurepas Park near Front Beach is absurd considering the big trees right down the road. “Everybody recognizes that if a tree falls, it’s a danger to whoever is under the tree. All the tees on Washington Avenue would crush somebody if they fall, but you don’t go whacking down trees in case they fall one day.” John Benton, an arborist for Bayou Tree Service, has a different view. He determined the city could place a brace on the tree and monitor it, but because of its location on the potential risk is too great. “From a professional standpoint, my recommendation would have to be removal because of the liability over a playground. It’s a public area. There’s a lot of potential for problems…”

New York City, The New York Times, June 26, 2021: The Unlikely Survival of the 1,081-Year-Old Tree That Gave Palo Alto Its Name

It could have toppled long ago. For one thing, it’s a loner, miles from kin that thrive in far wetter climates. Its massive roots are sandwiched between a concrete wall and railroad tracks. It has weathered coal and diesel smoke from passing trains for more than a century. It has survived earthquakes and record-breaking droughts, and a less destructive man-made force: graffiti. El Palo Alto — a 1,081-year-old redwood tree that has long served as the 120-foot-tall symbol of Palo Alto, the city that took its name — is arguably Silicon Valley’s original no-tech start-up. It still stands after nearly 11 centuries because it has been singled out for veneration, and people tend to have an emotional connection to charismatic megaflora with a story to tell, from the cedars of Lebanon in the Middle East to the major oak that supposedly housed Robin Hood and his men in Sherwood Forest. That’s El Palo Alto on the official emblem of the City of Palo Alto and the official seal of Stanford University. And that’s El Palo Alto, sort of, that dances around at Stanford games as the unofficial campus mascot, a googly-eyed oddball costumed tree with floppy branches. “It embodies the pioneer spirit of Palo Alto,” said Walter Passmore, the city’s former urban forester, who cared for the tree for nine years until he left the position in May. “Palo Alto has always prided itself on being home to innovators, leaders and creative thinking. That is what some people see in the tree…”

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, June 27, 2021: Bruce Kreitler: Don’t cut off your tree’s energy supply

As a tree guy, one of the things that I’m constantly thinking about when I’m looking at trees to prune, trying to establish new trees or working with trees that are in distress is how much energy they might have. And what is their ability to create more. When I say “energy,” I essentially mean stored photosynthate that the plant has created out of available nutrients, water, gases and sunlight (whew, that sure sounds like a complicated process). Generally, trees with full canopies and a vigorous appearance are going to have access to energy reserves which they can utilize in several different ways if the need arises. On the other hand, trees with visibly thin canopies, an excessive amount of dead/dying structure or missing large pieces probably are telling you that they don’t have a lot of extra energy available. The reason I bring this up is that there are a lot of trees and larger shrubs throughout our region that were heavily damaged by the February cold…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star-Tribune, June 26, 2021: Foresters brace for brutal fire season as drought adds to threat to Minnesota’s trees

Kindling is piling up on the forest floor. Beetles, pests and diseases that have been attacking Minnesota’s core tree species over the past several years have turned entire stands into the ready-made fuel of fallen branches and dead trunks. Now a hot and dry spring, with more abnormally dry weather expected well into summer, has foresters bracing for what could be a brutal wildfire season. And they’re worried about the impact a prolonged drought will have on Minnesota’s trees. More wildfires had already broken out across the state by mid-June than in all of last year. The state typically has fewer than 1,200 wildfires a year, burning roughly 25,000 acres. So far this spring, more than 1,425 fires have burned roughly 35,000 acres of forest and grassland, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “I don’t see it going anywhere or mitigating soon,” said William Glesener, DNR wildfire operations supervisor. “This is a period when we should be having very few fires, but we’re adding about 50 a week. We’re really going to be in it in a couple weeks when things really dry out…”

Santa Rosa, California, Press-Democrat, June 25, 2021: Sonoma County landscapers, nurseries find uptick in business with drought-tolerant plants, trees

The path up to Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards in the hills northeast of Windsor, through the years became one of the most scenic drives within Sonoma County. Its entrance, which gave way to nicely paved roads lined by tall eucalyptus trees, captivated visitors and provided them with the perfect setting to begin a day of wine tasting. But during the 2019 Kincade fire, those eucalyptus trees were identified as a potential hazard as the blaze burned its way closer and closer to Chalk Hill Road. Ultimately, though, while the wildfire did threaten the winery it only caused limited damage to nonessential buildings and equipment, as well as the outer portions of the vineyards. “After talking with the firefighters, we learned those things (eucalyptus trees) are just basically what they call ‘liquid kerosene.’ We were really worried, coming into another drought,” said Shaun Harder, chief of staff for Foley Family Wines, which owns the winery. Like many other local businesses and residents, the winery turned to Jeff Allen of Allen Land Design to redesign the landscape in an era of climate change, which this year means living with what has been classified as an exceptional drought…

Bloomberg Green, June 23, 2021: California’s Drought Is So Bad That Almond Farmers Are Ripping Out Trees

Christine Gemperle is about to do what almond farmers fear the most: rip out her trees early. Water is so scarce on her orchard in California’s Central Valley that she’s been forced to let a third of her acreage go dry. In the irrigated areas, the lush, supple trees are dewy in the early morning, providing some relief from the extreme heat. Walking over to the dry side, you can actually feel the temperature start to go up as you’re surrounded by the brittle, lifeless branches that look like they could crumble into dust. “Farming’s very risky,” said Gemperle, who will undertake the arduous process of pulling out all her trees on the orchard this fall, replacing them with younger ones that don’t need as much moisture. It’s a tough decision. Almond trees are typically a 25-year investment, and if it weren’t for the drought, these trees could’ve made it through at least another growing season, if not two. Now, they’ll be ground up into mulch. “I don’t think a lot of people understand just how risky this business is, and it’s a risk that’s associated with something you can’t control at all: The weather,” she said. It’s a stark reminder of the devastating toll that the drought gripping the West will take on U.S. agriculture, bringing with it the risk of food inflation…

Frederick, Maryland, News Post, June 24, 2021: Why are so many Frederick County residents turning to Tree Farming? Part IV: Wildlife

Depending on geographic and climate conditions, different trees grow in a tree farm or family forest. These differences define which ecological community may call it home. A forest with a diversity of canopy levels has more potential to attract a greater variety of wildlife, and unbroken sections of forest can also host a group of animals called Forest Interior Dwelling Species, or FIDS. In Frederick County, for example, a ridge-top forest such as Gambrill State Park is mostly composed of chestnut, oaks, red maple, black gum, and a variety of pines. These create favorable denning habitats for bear, bobcat, gray fox, rattlesnake and perhaps the Alleghany wood rat, an endangered species known to exist in Frederick County. In contrast, in marshy glade areas such as the floodplain around Jan and Dave Barrow’s Middle Creek tree farm, trees such as hazel alder, ninebark, silky dogwood, black willow, arrow wood viburnum, hazelnut and bladderwort dominate. These create attractive habitat for woodcock, red winged blackbird, waterfowl, beavers, muskrat, weasel and bear. Old fields, left fallow for five to 10 years, will grow herbaceous plants such as grasses, forbs, brambles and sedges, along with scattered woody plants like cedar, flowering dogwood, redbud, wild cherry and elm, to name a few. These “pioneer” species typically colonize their sites through wind- or wildlife-dispersed seed…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Phillyvoice, June 24, 2021: Police kick out group holding exorcism ‘for the dead trees’ at Pennsylvania Home Depot

There are places to hold an exorcism and places to maybe avoid holding an exorcism. Any guess where the lumber aisle of a Home Depot falls? A police report from Dickson City in Lackawanna County raised eyebrows this week for its bizarre description of an incident that happened Monday. “3:26pm: Commerce Blvd. @ Home Depot for disorderly people having an exorcism in the lumber isle (sic) for the dead trees,” authorities wrote. “They were escorted out of the building.” A call placed to Dickson City police elicited a chuckle from one officer. “There were two people hanging out in the lumber department doing their little exorcism thing,” the officer said. “Some people at the store started picking up that something was happening that was not necessarily normal. Police were called to the store and they were escorted out of the building.” The individuals involved will not be charged, the officer said. “It was a séance type of thing for the dead,” he said…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, KOKI-TV, June 24, 2021: Local tree service adapts to skilled labor shortage with technology

With workforce shortages, some businesses say they’re having to evolve and adapt to meet daily demands. Todd Rickert, owner of Rickert Landscaping and Tree Service, says it’s become a challenge to not just find workers but also skilled workers. He said the tree removal process requires specialty jobs where people need to have a proper driving record and the right capabilities to do the task safely. Rickert said, “It’s not like colleges are putting out a hundred new tree climbers every year.” He added, “It’s more of an apprenticeship type thing where we train or have other employees that work for other industries and cross over.” Rickert said there’s becoming less and less of these skilled workers. He said the pay is not the issue and said workers can make about $50 an hour while doing storm work on the weekends. Rickert believes it may just be a lack of interest in the job. He added, “It doesn’t matter how much we offer to pay. We may not attract new workers.” In order to make for the loss, Rickert says the business recently made a large investment that cuts down the number of people needed on a job and allows them to cut and remove a tree by simply using a remote control. Instead of needing four people for one job, Rickert says they can get the same job done with just two, and in less time. He said the truck makes their projects more efficient and safer for their employees. He said the truck is the first of its kind in Tulsa…

London, UK, Times, June 24, 2021: Battle over birdsong ends with tree being sliced in half

Hilarious photos circulating online show what happens when neighborly conflict is taken to the extreme. A tree, located on the very edge of one property, has been allegedly been sawed in half vertically by its next-door neighbor, and photos from the scene are prompting people to weigh in. The conflict between Mistry and his neighbors, Graham and Irene Lee, began about a year ago. “It has been there for 25 years and we’d trimmed [it] into a ball shape with an agreement with the [neighbor] and he has been fine about it,” Mistry explained. Recently, however, the Lees allegedly expressed that the birds living in the tree were too loud and created a mess. Mistry told WalesOnline that his neighbors “started off by putting black bin liners in the tree to stop the birds sitting there.” From there, things seemed to escalate: “Last weekend he said he was going to get a tree surgeon to cut it down and we asked him not to but they came on Friday and did it.” “We were absolutely distraught,” said Mistry. “We pleaded and pleaded with them not to do it, but their mind was made up. That tree was coming down.” A Reddit post documenting the bizarre feud gained traction on the platform, where it was described as “some traditional British pettiness on display.” Since then, it appears the photo’s owner has deleted the image, but hundreds of comments regarding the dispute still remain on the site. Many commenters used the forum to share their own experiences with neighborly, garden-related conflicts…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, June 23, 2021: Darien resident files PURA complaint over Eversource tree trimming

Eversource returned to Little Brook Road Wednesday to prune trees along its large power lines, prompting one neighbor to file a complaint with the state. The road has been at the center of a debate involving the power company’s plans to remove about 50 trees due to what it says are safety reasons. Last week during a meeting with residents, Eversource officials observed that there was electrical arcing taking place, due to branches being too close to the power lines. Two dozen workers, most of whom were contracted by Eversource through Davis Tree Service, came to trim back branches along a 200-yard stretch that runs adjacent to the railroad tracks, just south of Little Brook Road. While utility officials said it was an emergency operation to avert the potential danger of nearby trees becoming charged with electricity, neighbor Natalie Tallis, who has led the opposition to the work, claimed that was not the case. “I believe that Eversource is violating state and municipal laws,” she wrote to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. She said the utility has “wrongfully and intentionally misinterpreted” the law, overstepping its right to trim and remove trees. Tallis wrote that she asked Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson to consider having the town’s legal counsel challenge Eversource claims. However, Tallis told PURA that Stevenson rejected her request. “For the record, I have not rejected any of your requests,” Stevenson responded. “I am in contact with Darien’s attorney, who is assisting me with the town’s authorities regarding this matter.” After visiting the road Wednesday morning, Stevenson also confirmed that the work was being done on state Department of Transportation property in response to last week’s arcing, as well as some other work to be done on the opposite end of the road in the Eversource easement area that’s on private property…

Albany, New York, Times-Union, June 23, 2021: Ruling disallowing tree-cutting for snowmobiles creating uncertainty

A ruling last month by the state’s highest court blocking tree removal for snowmobile trails in protected forest areas has created uncertainty for other recreational projects in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. That uncertainty could result in some trail crews keeping their focus on private lands or on construction and maintenance work that doesn’t require tree cutting, as the Adirondack Mountain Club said it planned. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has declined to respond to questions that include what would come of the 19 or so miles of snowmobile trails already built; how the decision would affect other trail work; how the DEC was interpreting the handling of a constitutionally protected tree; whether the agency would pursue a constitutional amendment to authorize the snowmobile trail,. and what guidance the department would provide to trail crews heading into their summer season. A spokesperson on May 25 would only say, “DEC remains committed to thoughtful stewardship of the Forest Preserve for the use and enjoyment of the public and protection of this resource. DEC is carefully and thoroughly analyzing the court’s decision and determining the implications for DEC’s varied and complex work.” The Adirondack Park Agency also did not respond to similar questions, except to say that the state attorney general’s office was reviewing the decision. Ben Brosseau, director of communications for the Adirondack Mountain Club, said last year’s DEC guidance held that trail crews were not allowed to cut trees on the forest preserve while the case was pending. “We expect new guidance for hiking trail work to come out by mid to late summer,” Brosseau said. The club is continuing trail work in some areas of the park that do not involve tree cutting. Crews continue to work on projects at Avalanche Lake, Phelps Trail past Johns Brook Lodge, and a new project on Mount Jo. The Mount Jo project is on private property, so is not affected by the court decision. Brousseau said the club will reroute the Long Trail because a large section is eroded into a streambed…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, June 23, 2021: Peasant couple accidentally planted the world’s most expensive mangoes and now need private security

Sometimes wealth is the product of effort and hard work, and other times it is mere luck. That is clear to the peasant couple Rani and Sankalp Parihar , who accidentally planted some of the most expensive mangoes in the world . Now they have Miyazaki mango trees whose cost per kilo is around 270,000 rupees (about $ 3,630 or 74,600 Mexican pesos). The story of these horticulturists, inhabitants of the city of Jabalpur, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, seems like something out of a movie. It all started four years ago, when the Parihar went to Chennai, in the south of the country, to buy some trees to plant. On the train he met a mysterious man who offered him the valuable plants. “He offered me these saplings and asked me to take care of them like our babies. We planted them in the orchard without knowing what variety of mangoes they would produce, ” Sankalp told The Times of India . In 2020, when the trees grew and began to bear fruit, they noticed that they were very different from other more common types of mangoes. These had a rather unusual intense ruby color.“Since I didn’t know the name of this variety, I named the fruit after my mother Damini. Later, we did research on this variety and found the real name. But he’s still Damini for me , “Parihar added. To his surprise, they turned out to be Miyazaki mangoes originating in Japan, which are among the most expensive in the world…

USA Today, June 21, 2021: One of the ‘deadliest plants in North America’ is blooming. What to know about poison hemlock

Poison hemlock, a dangerous weed that has only been in the Buckeye State for a few years, is in full bloom this week in North Central Ohio. The hazardous plant is more visible in the area this year than ever before, according to Jason Hartschuh, Ohio State University Extension agent for Crawford County. “It’s everywhere. You about can’t drive U.S. 30 and not see it,” Hartschuh said. “It keeps spreading by wildlife and by water and flood plains.” Poison hemlock started making news in 2019 when it was reported to have spread across southern Ohio. Now it’s abundant across the state. The plant is also prevalent in Pennsylvania. The plant can be deadly if eaten, said professors Joe Boggs and Erik Draper, in The Ohio State University’s Buckeye Yard & Garden online blog. “Poison hemlock is one of the deadliest plants in North America,” they wrote. “Plants contain highly toxic piperidine alkaloid compounds, including coniine and gamma-Coniceine, which cause respiratory failure and death in mammals. The roots are more toxic than the leaves and stems; however, all parts of the plant including the seeds should be considered dangerous.” The plant is in the carrot family, as is Queen Anne’s Lace, and their similarities can make them hard to differentiate. “The roots of wild carrot, or Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), are sometimes eaten raw or cooked,” the professors wrote. “Unfortunately, they bear a striking resemblance to poison hemlock roots and misidentifications have been responsible for a number of accidental poisonings.” Farmers who have pasture land will want to keep an eye out for poison hemlock to ensure none of it is growing where their animals are grazing…

SciTech Daily, June 22, 2021: Tree Pollen Facilitates COVID-19 Virus Spread – Carries SARS-CoV-2 Particles Farther

Most models explaining how viruses are transmitted focus on viral particles escaping one person to infect a nearby person. A study on the role of microscopic particles in how viruses are transmitted suggests pollen is nothing to sneeze at. In Physics of Fluids, by AIP Publishing, Talib Dbouk and Dimitris Drikakis investigate how pollen facilitates the spread of an RNA virus like the COVID-19 virus. The study draws on cutting-edge computational approaches for analyzing fluid dynamics to mimic the pollen movement from a willow tree, a prototypical pollen emitter. Airborne pollen grains contribute to the spread of airborne viruses, especially in crowded environments. “To our knowledge, this is the first time we show through modeling and simulation how airborne pollen micrograins are transported in a light breeze, contributing to airborne virus transmission in crowds outdoors,” Drikakis said. The researchers noticed a correlation between COVID-19 infection rates and the pollen concentration on the National Allergy Map. Each pollen grain can carry hundreds of virus particles at a time. Trees alone can put 1,500 grains per cubic meter into the air on heavy days. The researchers set to work by creating all the pollen-producing parts of their computational willow tree. They simulated outdoor gatherings of roughly 10 or 100 people, some of them shedding COVID-19 particles, and subjected the people to 10,000 pollen grains…

The Conversation, June 22, 2021: A lone tree makes it easier for birds and bees to navigate farmland, like a stepping stone between habitats

Vast, treeless paddocks and fields can be dangerous for wildlife, who encounter them as “roadblocks” between natural areas nearby. But our new research found even one lone tree in an otherwise empty paddock can make a huge difference to an animal’s movement. We focused on the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, a biodiversity hotspot with 1,361 different known species of wildlife, such as jaguars, sloths, tamarins and toucans. Habitat loss from expanding and intensifying farmland, however, increasingly threatens the forest’s rich diversity of species and ecosystems. We researched the value of paddock trees and hedges for birds and bees, and found small habitat features like these can double how easily they find their way through farmland. This is important because enabling wildlife to journey across farmlands not only benefits the conservation of species, but also people. It means bees can improve crop pollination, and seed-dispersing birds can help restore ecosystems. Lone trees in paddocks, hedges and tree-lined fences are common features of farmlands across the world, from Brazil to Australia. They may be few and far between, but this scattered vegetation makes important areas of refuge for birds and bees, acting like roads or stepping stones to larger natural habitats nearby. Scattered paddock trees, for instance, offer shelter, food, and places to land. They’ve also been found to create cooler areas within their canopy and right beneath it, providing some relief on scorching summer days…

Tacoma, Washington, News Tribune, June 22, 2021: Neighbors rally to save native oak trees threatened by Lakewood warehouse proposal

It’s no secret to those living in Lakewood that the city is seeking to beef up its business sector. The city’s south side — near I-5 and Joint Base Lewis-McChord — has seen the announcement of a new Amazon warehouse, a possible occupation by Tesla and planned relocation of Aero Precision. There’s more to come. “Certainly, we are, you know, business-focused, and we invite development, and you can see the number of … warehouses going up,” said Jim Kopriva, communications manager for the city of Lakewood. The latest development comes at what some see as an unacceptable price. An 8-plus-acre property at 4901 123rd St. SW could be home to Lakewood’s next warehouse. It’s also home to over 100 oak trees native to Washington state. Some residents are fighting to save them. Lakewood resident Christina Manetti has seen warehouses pop up and the Garry oaks come down. Her fear of even more Garry oaks being destroyed across Lakewood has led her to rally additional residents and experts in an effort to save the trees on 4901 123rd St. SW…

Phys.org, June 22, 2021: Future wood use assures long-term climate benefit from commercial forests

A new study published in Nature Communications demonstrates the important role that planting new commercial forests could play in the fight against climate change by including new accounting of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation achieved from future use of harvested wood. The study applied a novel, time-dependent assessment to capture the complex dynamics of carbon uptake, storage and partial eventual release back to the atmosphere, alongside product and energy substitution by wood products, over a 100-year timeframe. Uniquely, the study considered multiple wood uses along multi-decadal cascading value chains (e.g. construction timber to paper to bioenergy), and future projections on wider decarbonisation of substituted products and energy (to avoid overestimating future substitution “credits” derived from use of wood). “Our goal was to undertake a really comprehensive life cycle assessment that considers the whole life cycle of carbon taken up by trees in new commercial forests” says Eilidh Forster, a Ph.D. student in Bangor University and lead author of the study. “Because new forests won’t be harvested for another 50 years, the standard assessment approach of applying current technology emission factors to wood value chains is inaccurate. Therefore, we decided to apply projections of future technology deployment to better represent the likely long-term climate change mitigation achieved by harvested wood…”

Plymouth, Michigan, Observer, June 21, 2021: Plymouth Township tree ordinance discussion enrages residents concerned with restrictions

A preliminary proposal to add more teeth to a 74-year-old Plymouth Township tree ordinance upset a few residents so much that one threatened to bring a chainsaw to a trustees meeting. Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise emphasized the process of revamping the township’s current tree ordinance, which is based on Public Act 359 of 1947, should begin with borrowing the City of Plymouth’s recently-enacted tree laws and then tailoring them based on the guidance offered by the board of trustees and residents. “I’m putting (the Plymouth tree ordinance) out there as a starting-off point to show what is probably one of the most restrictive — depending on your point of view — and detailed ordinances from a comparable community, but one that has also gone through a very thorough vetting process,” Heise said. Heise explained his idea to start with Plymouth’s ordinance and alter it for the township as residents and trustees see fit as a money- and time-saver. “As much as I respect (township attorney) Kevin Bennett, I’d prefer not to have to pay him to start from scratch and draft a whole new ordinance,” Heise said. “It is not my intention to use Plymouth’s tree ordinance, word for word, as the township’s ordinance. It’s a starting point…”

Cape Girardeau, Missouri, KFVS-TV, June 21, 2021: Charleston woman makes effort to preserve historic Dogwood Tree

“I just want the tree to live. I can’t have my dad but I can have the tree,” Sandy Coffer-Ruff said. The 32 ft long and 39 ft wide tree is located at Coffer-Ruff’s childhood home in Charleston. She said her father, Henry Coffer, took care of the tree up till his last breath. “It feels like my dad’s tombstone,” Coffer-Ruff said. She’s concerned it may be damaged due to work on the sidewalk that was done by the state.“I want the tree to live so my great grandkids can see it,” Coffer-Ruff said. She said the sidewalk construction, just steps from the front door, started about a month ago. Around that time is when she noticed the bark falling apart, clipped branches and tree roots nearby. “This isn’t normal. You shouldn’t be able to do that to a tree. Other side there is a big crack,” Coffer-Ruff said. For help, she reached out to conservation experts. She was told factors such as bugs and the tree’s size can be a threat, on top of added stress from construction. “I just look at it every day. I just feel like if the tree dies then it’s like my dad’s funeral all over again,” Coffer-Ruff said…

Reason, June 21, 2021: Malibu Man Fined $4.2 Million Over Disputed Beachfront Gate

When Warren and Henny Lent bought their Malibu beach house in 2002, it was the realization of a lifelong goal. Warren, a doctor by training, says he worked a second job on top of the time he put in at a Beverly Hills plastic surgery practice just to afford the down payment. It was “a dream come true which lasted about two months,” Lent says. That was when the Lents learned, via a casual conversation with a neighbor, that their house had a five-foot-wide public access easement along its eastern side that people could use to get down to the water. These easements aren’t uncommon, and at first, the Lents didn’t think much about the fact that their home had one too. After all, it wasn’t like their side yard made for a great means of accessing the beach given that it contained two steep drops, and that running underneath the whole thing was a large storm drain which could make building anything on top of it an engineering challenge. Nevertheless, this easement put the Lents on a collision course with one of the most powerful agencies in the state, and one with a history of antagonizing property owners: the California Coastal Commission (CCC). Beginning in 2007, the commission began demanding that the couple remove a gate and stairs obscuring their side yard so it could build its own improvements there. The Lents said they would comply once the commission was actually ready to break ground. Negotiations continued until 2016, when the commission—tired of arguing and newly empowered to issue fines—slapped the couple with a $4.2 million penalty. This remains one of the largest fines the commission has ever handed out…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, WBRZ-TV, June 20, 2021: New protections for Louisiana cypress trees signed into law

cypress210621Louisiana’s iconic bald cypress trees will be protected on state-owned property, after Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a new law banning the trees’ harvesting on more than 1 million acres (404,685 hectares) of state land. Rep. Neil Riser told The Advertiser that he sponsored the bill — which won unanimous passage in the House and Senate — to give nature time to reestablish dense stands of cypress that once covered vast tracts of land. “The cypress tree symbolizes Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta,” said Riser, a Columbia Republican. “I hope this new law will help people have a true appreciation of these trees’ majesty.” The new law doesn’t apply to cypress trees growing on privately-owned land. Cypress trees grow throughout Louisiana’s swamps and can have lifespans of more than 1,000 years. The bald cypress was named the official Louisiana state tree in 1963. Riser said the forests will return on state-owned lands with protection, though it will take almost a century for the slow-growth trees to mature…

Washington, D.C., Times, June 20, 2021: Obama’s BLM director pulls support for Tracy Stone-Manning over tree-spiking incident

President Barack Obama’s first Bureau of Land Management director has pulled his support for Tracy Stone-Manning, saying she should withdraw her nomination to head the agency over her involvement in a tree-spiking case three decades ago. Bob Abbey, who led the agency from 2009-2012, said he initially supported her selection, but that recent reports about her “questionable past” raise questions about her judgment and would bring “needless controversy” to the agency charged with managing 245 million acres of federal lands. “If the reports regarding Ms. Stone-Manning’s involvement with spiking trees are true then I firmly believe she should immediately withdraw her name from further consideration for the BLM director job,” Mr. Abbey told The Washington Times in an email. In her 1993 federal court testimony, Ms. Stone-Manning admitted to retyping, editing and mailing an anonymous warning letter on behalf of an activist who had participated in an extensive tree-spiking operation in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest. She received prosecutorial immunity to testify against the activist, who was found guilty and sentenced to 17 months in prison…

avocado210621New York City, The Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2021: Thieves Find Money That Grows on Trees: ‘Avocados Are the Green Gold’

Avocado farmer Mark Alcock has motion-activated infrared cameras dotting 170 acres of groves that send intruder alerts to his phone. The beeps typically wake him at least once an hour, every night. It’s usually bush pigs, porcupines or baboons. “But there’s always that chance it’ll be someone coming to steal,” he said. “It’s just getting out of hand.” The cameras are part of an elaborate antitheft system that includes a rapid-response team run by an ex-military man and expert in tracker dogs. South Africa is the world’s sixth-largest avocado exporter, and farmers like Mr. Alcock are entangled in a cat-and-mouse game with fruit thieves who abscond with thousands of pounds at a time. Many avocado growers have resorted to security measures borrowed from gold mines and other big-money targets. “As the value of the product rises, the accessibility of it rises because there’s more orchards being planted,” said Howard Blight, who grows avocados, macadamia nuts and dragon fruit on his nearly 350-acre farm. The property is guarded by an electric fence standing more than 7-feet high and topped with barbed wire. Guards patrol the farm 24/7. “It seems a bit drastic,” Mr. Blight said. “But avocados are the green gold…”

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, June 17, 2021: About to plant a tree or shrub? Wait it out until fall

If you have been planning to plant or transplant a tree or shrub this year and haven’t gotten around to it, consider waiting until fall. “Even in a normal year, summer is not the best time to plant or transplant,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at in the Plant Clinic of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “And this year we’re in a drought.” Planting in summer has extra risks, because the heat makes soil and plants dry out faster. As the temperature rises, water evaporates more quickly. In this drought year — one of the driest on record — rainfall is not likely to provide enough water for plants. “At this point, homeowners might be better off waiting until late summer or early fall to purchase or transplant trees or shrubs,” she said. Plants are mostly water, and they need a steady, reliable water supply to survive. Between 80% and 90% of the weight of any green plant consists of the water that fills its cells. Even a mature tree, with its woody trunk and branches, is about 50% water. In summer, plants cool themselves by allowing water to escape through tiny holes in their leaves, taking heat with it. The water that evaporates needs to be replaced in order for the plant to keep functioning…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, June 17, 2021: Eversource: ‘Imminent risk’ prompted Darien tree removals

Eversource officials have reaffirmed their stance that last week’s tree trimming along Little Brook Road was necessary for “safety reasons.” Sean Redding, head of Eversource’s vegetation management, visited the road on Wednesday, explaining to First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and residents that the pruning was an emergency measure necessary for safety reasons. But neighbors continue to question the company’s plans for the tree removal along the street. “We’re here today to continue our collaboration so we can come up with the best resolution,” Stevenson said. Eversource began trimming trees along Little Brook Road last Friday to eliminate what company representatives called an “imminent risk” to the electric system. The work was completed in a day, and company representatives stated no trees were to be outright removed. Neighbors, who are fighting Eversource’s proposed removal of some 50 trees along the south side of the intersection of Little Brook and North Little Brook roads, say the electric company’s trimming plan was not warranted. Natalie Tallis and her neighbors along Little Brook and North Little Brook roads have called on Stevenson to file a formal complaint with the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority concerning the work. Stevenson has not filed a complaint, but acknowledged the neighbors have that right. The town’s tree warden has placed warning signs on some 50 trees, which sit at the south side of the intersection of Little Brook and North Little Brook roads. These trees have been tagged for removal as part of Eversource’s tree trimming and hazardous tree removal program…

Raleigh, North Carolina, News & Observer, June 17, 2021: Falling tree kills 64-year-old man walking on trail in North Carolina park, police say

A 64-year-old hiker died after a tree fell and hit him on a North Carolina trail, officials said. The man was rushed to a hospital after he was found unconscious Tuesday morning at Bur-Mil Park in Greensboro, according to the city’s police department. The hiker — identified as Howard Huey Shepherd — was later pronounced dead, police spokesperson Ronald Glenn told McClatchy News in an email. Shepherd was struck when a tree toppled near Big Loop Trail, a walking and biking path that stretches about 2 miles. “A preliminary site review reveals that the tree was 50 yards away from the trail when it fell,” Guilford County said Wednesday in a news release. Big Loop Trail closed Tuesday and was expected to reopen before the weekend…

The Atlantic, June 17, 2021: A Better Way to Look at Trees

Above all else in the plant kingdom, trees make good trellises for our self-regarding thoughts. Robert Frost knew this when he wrote “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.” A woodland is the right spot to yield to reflection. Though the life of a tree has little in common with the life of a person, we are accustomed to approaching trees on personal, even introspective, terms. As trunk is a synonym for torso, as branch can be interchangeable with limb, trees of great variety (especially the old ones) give body to human concerns. Consider the coastal eucalyptus, forced by sea winds to grow prostrate along the ground—how the maxim “Better bend than break” takes shape in its supplicating posture. Or meditate on Sakura, the cherry blossom, and its instructive transience. We look to trees for their symbolism, and to have our own comparatively stunted existence put into perspective. High up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, bristlecone pines preside—seemingly more stone than wood, partly fossilized. Some rise from saplings at a tempo so slow that they endure through generations, even whole civilizations—thousands of years—living off the ephemeral sustenance that all trees rely on: light, water, a smattering of nutrients drawn from the soil. These ancient pines have been called sages and sentinels, as though it were their edict to stand watch over cycles of human progress and folly. Yet have we ever really understood trees in the plural? Since the turn of the millennium, a remarkable recasting of our attention—away from the gravitas of individual trees and toward the question of what trees do together, as a collective—has been under way…

Fox News, June 17, 2021: Dad rips into neighbor who reported family’s tree fort to HOA: ‘You’re safe now’

One dad is using public shaming for a neighbor who allegedly reported his family’s tree fort to their homeowner association. The dad, who goes by the first name Dave, printed out a scathing letter that condemned his neighbor’s tattling, according to a snapshot uploaded to Reddit’s “Facepalm” forum – a subreddit that’s dedicated to sharing “the stupidity of people online and IRL.” Sporting a plastic sheet cover and two green tacks that were hammered into the offending tree, the open letter confronts the anonymous neighbor who reportedly tipped off the HOA. “Dear Anonymous Passerby,” the letter begins. “Don’t worry, you’re safe now! Your act of casual cruelty was successful. The complaint you lodged with the HOA was heard. They had me take down the small treefort that I built on this location with my sons during the pandemic.” Dave adds: “No longer will its presence offend your walk past my house. Please enjoy your stroll free from the sound of my children’s play and laughter. They are safely back inside now, watching television I’m sure. Enjoy the unobstructed view of my backyard. I will try to keep it up to code.” The Reddit user who shared the disgruntled note characterized the neighbor as being a “Karen,” a modern-day pejorative used to describe an entitled or unreasonably demanding woman. With no additional context provided, the Redditor suggested the Karen-like neighbor decided “that children’s fun isn’t enough of a reason to have a treehouse…”

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, June 17, 2021: More people have died around Florida Power & Light’s lines than any other Florida utility

Eliseo De La Guardia was climbing an avocado tree behind a Broward County duplex when the limb he was balancing on got too close to a power line carrying 7,620 volts. The contact sent electricity through his body. For years, neighbors had complained to the power company that the lines dividing the small block’s backyards were choked by tree limbs. When branches touched the lines, home lights dimmed and electricity visibly jumped from one stretch to another. And when the wind blew, the avocado tree’s branches would hit the wires and spark. Florida Power & Light, which provides electricity to about half of the state, knew of at least nine times trees on that block interfered with power lines in the years leading up to the accident, according to court records. But when De La Guardia climbed the avocado tree to pick fruit in January 2013, the company hadn’t performed routine trimming there for 15 years. Two days later, De La Guardia died from his injuries. He was 42. People are electrocuted at a higher rate in Florida Power & Light’s service area than almost any other electricity provider in the state, a Tampa Bay Times analysis found. The only two that outpaced it were small power companies serving areas of north Florida…

St. Louis, Missouri, KMOV-TV, June 16, 2021: Jennings woman concerned about massive tree limbs falling and damaging her property

One by one, branches from a dead tree are falling and destroying the backyard of Dorothy Franklin’s Jennings home. “I have it rough right now,” she said. The 65-year-old says the concern began growing last fall when a limb fell from the tree and landed on the grass not causing any damage. But Franklin says the limbs that are falling now are much bigger and causing major damage. The second limb fell on Sunday hitting her truck. “I was sitting in my room and all of a sudden I heard a boom and my dogs started barking,” she said. And the third one came down Tuesday morning crashing into the patio. She’s worried the next limb will hit her home. “They need to hurry and get this tree because I’m fearing for my life,” she said. “I’m fearing for my dog’s life.” News 4 found the dead tree sits in Franklin’s neighbor’s yard. Insurance experts and state tree removal regulations say it will be Franklin’s neighbor’s responsibility to remove the dead tree. News 4 called the property owner and he said he’s working with his insurance company to get the tree removed and fix Franklin’s truck. Ordinances in St. Louis City say if the city’s forestry division sees a tree is a danger to the public, they have the right to enter private property to inspect or remove the tree. News 4 has reported on concerns of dead trees falling on residents homes in the past. In 2019, St. Louis City spent $1 million to remove more than 2,000 dead trees. And in St. Louis County, they have a 311 hotline were residents can request tree removal…

Good News Network, June 16, 2021: This Single Tree Could Restore Degraded Land, Create a Biofuel Revolution, Power Cars, and Feed Families

Growing across much of Asia, it’s known by many names: including Indian Beech, pongamia, Karum tree, kranji, and malapari. Pongamia pinnata is a member of the pea family that is being considered by Indonesian forestry experts for potential landscape restoration and the future of bioenergy. A number of big challenges are bearing down on the Indonesian archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, and the government has to find ways in which it can restore 14 million hectares of degraded land to keep its promise to the UN, while also developing a green energy sector worth 23% of total grid contributions in just 5 years. The country’s natural gas and oil reserves are projected to dry up by 2030, even while energy demand—currently served by fossil fuels—is increasing. Enter the pongamia tree: growing well on degraded or marginal land in both wet and dry climates, it can be found from India to the west, right the way across to Fiji in the Pacific. For centuries, its orange/brown seeds have been pressed into oil for leather tanning, soap making, wound healing, and more. Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry and Environment’s Research is looking into pongamia for mass tree planting as they believe this special oil can be used to power a biomass energy revolution, as well as offering a new crop for local communities to thrive off of economically, and even use as food…

Arlington, Illinois, Daily Herald, June 16, 2021: Your trees need help during the drought: Tips from the Morton Arboretum

Your trees need a drink of water. Now. The drought the Chicago area is experiencing has them parched. And as you will recall from high school biology class lectures on photosynthesis, trees need water to make the carbohydrates they require to live and make new tissue. We asked Julie Janoski, manager of the plant clinic at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, whether we should be worried about our trees. “Yes,” she said, almost before the question was out. And what can we do? “It’s one word: Water,” she said. Does the arboretum water its trees? “With 1,700 acres, it’s pretty tough to do much watering. We are watering some of the trees and plants around our core area (the Visitors Center and Arbor Court) right now,” Janoski said. The Chicago area is in a moderate to severe drought as of June 10, says the National Integrated Drought Information System, which will issue its monthly update on Thursday. The National Weather Service says there is a 50% chance of rain Thursday night and Friday. The short-term outlook for June 18-24, however, predicts continued hot and dry conditions. So, yes on watering. But how? And which trees get priority? Here are eight tips from Janoski on keeping your trees healthy through the drought. Don’t forget to check your town’s water-use restrictions…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, The Paper, June 15, 2021: Getting Albuquerque’s Tree Canopy Off Life Support

Drones are mapping out Nob Hill’s tree locations in an effort to create hard data that will lead the way on how Albuquerque’s neighborhoods can maintain and create more tree canopies, ensuring the character of the neighborhoods in an environmentally friendly way 20 years from now. “Policymakers need to understand the importance of restoring the tree canopy. This starts with hard data, and right now no one has any,” said Marc Powell, who co-founded the Dakota Tree Project and co-chairs the Nob Hill Neighborhood Tree Canopy Committee with his wife, Pamela Weese Powell. “We’ll overlay the drone’s aerial footage onto software, and by going through the footage we’ll be able to identify healthy trees and properties that are missing trees to create data to help us be more effective at prioritizing plantings,” Powell told The Paper, adding they want to work with the city to make sure that areas where plantings occurred add value so the city will see a return on their investment. The self-labeled “tree geek couple” plant trees and create community gardens through their Dakota Tree Project that they began as a way of honoring Marc Powell’s son, Dakota William Powell, who passed away in August 2017. Marc says Dakota loved to help plant trees and felt a special affinity for the protection and power that they provide. The project plants trees in historically disadvantaged areas in Albuquerque, like the International District. In their first year in operation, they planted over 100 trees and have received several grants from generous community members and organizations…

Detroit, Michigan, WJBK-TV, June 15, 2021: Livonia street repairs lead to mass tree removal, sparking outcry

A handful of Livonia residents stood out front of city hall ahead of tonight’s city council meeting hoping to save their trees. Fully grown trees line plenty of neighborhood streets in Livonia. “These trees are really what make the neighborhood, they give it the aesthetic. They are what people look for when they move to Livonia,” said Brent Sabo, resident. But street repairs in the city have put hundreds of trees on the chopping block. “What the road work does to the root systems, the trees would be in danger of falling,” said Kathleen McIntyre, council president. “And causing harm or damage to property – or even more significantly, to a person.” McIntrye says tree removal is nothing new and represents a small percentage. “We have about 38,000 trees in the right of ways alone and we are talking about 400,” she said. Brent Sabo made it his mission to help spread the word about the removal of trees and try to put an end to it. “These are mature trees that are irreplaceable,” he said. Sabo says on Monday as he prepared to protest the planned cutting down of hundreds of trees, the very tree in front of his house was in fact cut down. “There was actually just a stump left of our tree,” he said. “Our entire front lawn was littered with branches, there was a tree removal truck blocking our driveway.” The city says they are replacing more trees than they plan to remove…

John Day, Oregon, Blue Mountain Eagle, June 15, 2021: Watch for trees near power lines

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative is asking its member-owners to be on the lookout for any trees or branches hanging or leaning too close to power lines and to call the cooperative if you see one. Trees that grow too close to power lines can cause outages or create other hazardous conditions. “Although most trees do not present a problem, some of them grow into or crowd power lines or other utility equipment,” said Maaike Schotborgh, OTEC’s safety and loss control manager. “When greenery becomes too close for comfort, we have to address it because overgrowth can interfere with power distribution and create a hazard for those on the ground.” Tree branches that come in contact with power lines can interfere with electrical service. For example, the lights in a house may flicker when tree branches brush power lines during high winds. Stormy weather can also cause limbs to break off and land on lines. OTEC works year-round to trim or remove tree branches and, in some cases, remove trees. OTEC’s tree-trimming program is a key aspect of the cooperative’s priority of delivering electrical service safely and reliably to its member-owners…

Charlotte, North Carolina, WCNC-TV, June 15, 2021: Yes, Charlotte does have one of the best tree canopies compared to other cities

In 2013 American Forests conducted a list of the 10 best cities for urban forests. Charlotte was among the 10, including Austin, Denver, New York, and Portland. A recent analysis looked at Charlottes tree canopy change from 2021 to 2018 and found Charlotte’s tree canopy is at 45%. “Traditionally, the upper 40s is the cream of the crop. It’s the gold star for a major American city,” said Porter. However, there has been some decline in the last 15 years, from 49% to 45%. “What we found is that development is playing a large role the types of development impacting, the greatest area of canopy decline was in single-family areas but not subdivision related,” said Porter. However, Treepedia New York has 14% tree canopy, Tampa 36%, and Boston 18%. The tree canopy action plan part of the 2040 comprehensive plan hopes to revise Charlotte’s tree ordinance and implement preservation and planting requirements…

Oakland, California, The Oakland Press, June 14, 2021: Fungal disease related to stress in trees has no cure

Q: I have a huge blue spruce tree in my yard. I am noticing that there are dead branches scattered on the lower part of the tree. They are dead from the trunk to the tip. There are patches of what looks like bird droppings or dried white sap on the bottoms of most of the dead branches and the bottoms have wounds on them that look like they rubbed on another branch, but they did not. What is this and will it kill my tree?
A: This is a common fungal disease for blue spruce trees called cytospora canker. It usually happens to trees that are 15 years old or older. If the tree is younger, there has been stress from poor growing conditions. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cytospora. You can slow it down by managing the tree’s health. Cytospora attacks individual branches on the tree, causing them to die in a stair-step fashion. The first thing that you will notice that a branch has needles turning a purple color. The needles eventually turn a chocolate brown, die and fall off. Sometimes, but not always, there will be cankers that look like wounds that are trying to heal on the bottom of the branch. Sap, which is called pitch, leaks out and dries to a bluish-white. Cytospora does not kill the tree for a long time. But eventually, the tree looks so terrible, with lots of dead limbs, that you will want to cut it down. On rare occasions, Norway, balsam fir and Douglas fir become infected. Again, it’s a stress-related problem and possibly contact with another infected tree…

Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer, June 14, 2021: Kenton County Schools says ginkgo tree ‘will not be removed’ for elementary school expansion

A cherished ginkgo tree will not be harmed as a result of a planned expansion of a Kenton County elementary school. The Kenton County School District appears to have listened to the public’s concerns and has decided not to remove the ginkgo tree – thought to be 150 years old, school district officials said in a tweet Saturday morning. “The KCSD has taken necessary steps to ensure the (Ginkgo) tree is protected & will not be removed as part of construction,” the tweet read. “The goal is to provide world-class facilities for our kids & we will continue to work to find alternative solutions at Hinsdale going forward.” Edgewood City Councilman Ben Barlage said he was trying to spread the word to people about the tree when he saw it marked with an ‘X’ for demolition in a Kenton County Schools’ plan for an expansion at R.C. Hinsdale Elementary School. His Facebook post about the tree and school’s intertwined history generated 106 shares. Barlage said his phone has been filled with texts and calls from people who remember the tree fondly, he said. Ginkgo trees, native to Southeast Asia, can also be found across the Midwest…

The Conversation, June 15, 2021: An act of God, or just bad management? Why trees fall and how to prevent it

The savage storms that swept Victoria last week sent trees crashing down, destroying homes and blocking roads. Under climate change, stronger winds and extreme storms will be more frequent. This will cause more trees to fall and, sadly, people may die. These incidents are sometimes described as an act of God or Mother Nature’s fury. Such descriptions obscure the role of good management in minimising the chance a tree will fall. The fact is, much can be done to prevent these events. Trees must be better managed for several reasons. The first, of course, is to prevent damage to life and property. The second is to avoid unnecessary tree removals. Following storms, councils typically see a spike in requests for tree removals – sometimes for perfectly healthy trees. A better understanding of the science behind falling trees – followed by informed action – will help keep us safe and ensure trees continue to provide their many benefits. First, it’s important to note that fallen trees are the exception at any time, including storms. Most trees won’t topple over or shed major limbs. I estimate fewer than three trees in 100,000 fall during a storm…

Crystal River, Florida, Citrus County Chronicle, June 13, 2021: Preparing your trees for hurricane season

The “official” start of hurricane season is upon us and many homeowners are considering pruning their trees in preparation of the hurricane season. I have encountered many homeowners who believe that tree canopies need to be thinned out in order to accommodate wind flow. While this type of thinking seems intuitive, it actually may create a greater likelihood of tree failure. Trees should only be pruned for a valid reason. There is no such thing as a “pruning cycle” where trees are supposed to be pruned every “X” number of years. I have actually encountered this thinking with some municipalities. Trees are pruned for several reasons. One reason is to improve the structure of the tree. Structure refers to the branching and trunk pattern of the tree. For example, some trees which are supposed to be a single trunk species, have a co-dominant trunk. This means that, at one point, the tree created two almost equal-sized leaders. This can occur close to the ground, midway up the tree, or near the top of the tree. Co-dominant leaders can be poorly attached to one another, leading one to break under the stress of winds. As the tree grows older and larger, these leaders get heavier and can lead to property damage or injury when they fail. Select the better leader and prune back the other one over a one to three year period. Another example of structure is the spacing and arrangement of the branches. Ideally, limbs should be spaced 18 to 36 inches apart along the trunk and should not grow at an angle less than 45 degrees off the trunk. Multiple limbs should not originate from the same point on the tree…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2021: Why a Tree Is the Friend We Need Right Now

I’ve got a new buddy. She’s a banyan tree. I met her while walking my dog. She has two enormous limbs that reach out like welcoming arms. And there’s a small bench next to her. One day I sat down. I was worried that afternoon about an ill family member, and as I stared at her gnarled trunk, I thought of all this tree has survived. I watched the light filter through her canopy and listened to a squirrel chatter on a branch. And I felt better. Now I visit her often. Sometimes, I compliment her—“Looking good, baby!”—pat her trunk or share my water. But occasionally, on hard days, I sit down on the ground next to her, put a hand on one of her massive roots and soak in her strength. We could all use a steady, strong friend right now. We’re emotionally rocky crawling out of the pandemic—gripped by residual anxiety and sadness, stress about heading back out into the world, worries about once again becoming overwhelmed by a busy pace of life. What we need is a tree bestie. (Bear with me, dear reader.) Trees have a lot to teach us. They know a thing or two about surviving harsh years and thriving during good ones—they can show us the importance of taking the long view. They’re masters at resiliency, enduring fallow periods every winter and blooming anew each spring. They’re generous—they share nutrients with other trees and plants and provide clean air and shade for the rest of us. They certainly know how to age well…

Provo, Utah, Daily Herald, June 12, 2021: Speculation surrounds death of walnut trees

We’ve been getting several calls and emails each day about walnut trees that seemed to look fine last year and now look either dead or dying. You’ve probably seen struggling walnut trees when you’ve been out and about. Is it a walnut tree apocalypse? A walnut plague? You may have heard about a “new” walnut disease and wondered if that’s the problem. It’s true there is a serious fungal disease, Thousand Cankers Disease, affecting black walnut trees and occasionally English walnut trees. Black walnut trees are very susceptible to the disease, but English walnut trees are only slightly susceptible. The disease is spread by a small beetle called the walnut twig beetle. Once the fungus is in the tree, small cankers develop under the bark where the beetles have entered. Repeated infestations lead to tree decline and death. Preventing beetle infestation of black walnuts is important because there is no treatment for the disease. Infected trees generally die within a few years of showing symptoms. Most of the walnut trees you’re seeing now with dead branches are English walnut trees and very few of the trees with dead branches have the disease. So, what exactly is going on with all these walnut trees? The short answer is, we don’t exactly know, but we hope to know more as the season progresses…

Business Insider, June 11, 2021: Canadian Tree Planters Celebrate Cross Canada Plant

On June 10th, thirty-four Canadian tree planting companies with over 6000 planters aligned efforts to celebrate the first annual Canadian Tree Planters’ Cross Canada Plant. On June 10th Canadian tree planters celebrated the first annual Cross Canada Plant involving over 6000 planters. Every year, approximately 600 million seedlings are planted in Canada. This is accomplished through a well-organized supply chain and significant physical labour, requiring long, exhausting days. Many planters share physical traits with high-performance endurance athletes. The value of planting trees is growing and a goal for the Cross Canada Plant is to raise the profile of tree planters and tree planting companies. It’s about witnessing the amazing work that is accomplished by the Canadian planters throughout the planting season. “We are ready to participate in growing Canada’s forests and help in Trudeau’s vision of Planting 2 Billion trees in 10 years. We are an industry that can do this,” says Tim Tchidaof Blue Green Planet Project. For the June 10th Cross Canada Plant, the number of seedlings planted and the number of planters who participated will be reported. The aim is to have these numbers available by June 13th on Instagram @CanadianTreePlanter. “In between the millions of trees being planted each day, in every moment there is a lot happing here. In the space between trees there is friendships, initiation, and giving back…. and tough, grueling, rewarding work,” says Tchida…

Portland, Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting, June 13, 2021: ‘Crazy worms’ threaten America’s trees — and (gasp!) our maple syrup

Earthworms are often seen as a welcome presence in gardens, and even on fishing hooks. But in the Northeast, experts say invasive “crazy worms” from Asia are creating havoc in forests — and they say the unusual worms are a danger to animals and plants, and especially to sugar maple trees. “The street cred that they have is hiding the invasion,” Josef Görres, a soil scientist at the University of Vermont, says of the worms. “I call earthworm invasions ‘socially cryptic,’ ” Görres tells NPR, “because folks think of earthworms as the good guys — and maybe they are in certain ecosystems. But in the context of the northern [U.S.] forest, they are relative newcomers that have the potential to have huge effects.” Crazy worms — also known as jumper worms — reproduce rapidly. They also love to tear through the nutritious layer of decomposing leaves and nutrients that blanket the forest floor — a habit that can be very damaging to forests, including maple trees. So, what makes these worms so crazy? “They’re really active worms, and the craziness comes from that. They can jump out of your hand,” Görres says, adding that the creatures’ intense wriggling can launch them into the air. “And they also lose their tails,” he adds. “Some of the species will lose their tails just like a salamander. So that is kind of crazy, too, when you see it…”

Greensboro, North Carolina, News & Record, June 10, 2021: Knock on wood: Summerfield man says Duke tree trimmers ‘went to the wrong house’

A Summerfield man visiting his rental property Tuesday found two pine trees near a powerline had been stripped of most of the branches on one side, which he worried made them dangerously unstable. Eric Clamage complained to Duke Energy about not only the state of the trees, but the pile of debris left behind on his Brookfield Drive property. On Thursday, he got some satisfaction. The tree company returned to remove the debris and promised to take down the two trees next week. He also got a surprise. His pines weren’t the intended targets. “They went to the wrong house,” Clamage, a retired engineer, said employees of the tree company told him on Thursday. That might explain why he never got notified that Duke would be conducting what it calls “vegetation maintenance” on his property. The utility says on its website it attempts to notify property owners before doing any work. Clamage said the property owner behind him had apparently asked Duke to trim the trees by an old farmhouse on his land. Clamage estimates it would have cost at least $1,400 to cut down the damaged trees and clean up the pile of tree limbs, which he described as enough to fill a dump truck. Grinding the stumps left behind would’ve cost about $200…

Albany, New York, WTEN-TV, June 10, 2021: Purple trees a new way to say ‘Do not enter’ in some places

It’s not the law in New York just yet, but in central New York and some neighboring states, there’s a new way to say “get off my lawn.” Purple paint laws allow spray-painting trees purple as a state-recognized way to mark private property, and are currently in place in 16 states. According to Hudson Valley radio station Q105.7, the trend is starting to show up in parts of New York, even if it isn’t officially recognized. The laws allow the purple paint to function legally identically to a “No Trespassing” sign. In New York, “No Trespassing” and “Keep Out” signs are the standard, and landowners are authorized to give written notice to trespassers when it makes sense to do. Jomo Miller at the New York Department of Environmental Conservation said that since purple paint is not legally recognized in the state, his department doesn’t track its use. Statewide, trespassing on posted areas comes with a fine of up to $250, and/or 15 days of jail time, plus further action for those who damage property on posted land. As the state doesn’t recognize purple paint as posting, legal action cannot currently be taken simply for trespassing on land with conspicuously purple trees. David Wick with the Lake George Park Commission said he hadn’t heard anything about the use of purple paint on property around Lake George, but that he didn’t see a problem with the method, so long as property owners correctly mark only their own property. Although it’s not law yet in New York, it has shown up in state legislature. In 2018, former state Senator James L. Seward introduced a bill that died on the Assembly vine…

Sonoma, California, News, June 10, 2021: Arnold the Tree lives again

It took a community-wide effort to get Arnold the Tree back into decorating condition – with no small thanks to Sonoma Mission Gardens, which donated a tree to replace the vandalized original, Ned Hill and crew from La Prenda Vineyards Management for digging the hole and installing irrigation, and Sam Sebastiani of La Chertosa wines for donating a safe place on his La Gemelle Vineyard at Watmaugh and Arnold Drive. A slight delay in the replanting was due to awaiting PG&E to show up and let everyone know where power lines were, so that the digging and planting could proceed safely on the vineyard side of the fence. Sam Sebastiani and vineyard manager Jane Schneider said they will give the anonymous tree decorator – who has adorned Arnold the Tree with seasonal decor for several years – safe access to the property to continue decorating Arnold whenever they choose. You can see Arnold on Facebook

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, June 10, 2021: Scientists: Beech Leaf Disease, potentially fatal for trees, widespread in CT

A potentially fatal disease for beech trees has become widespread in large parts of Connecticut, and is no longer novel, according to Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station scientists. Beech Leaf Disease, first detected in the state in 2019 in lower Fairfield County, now is widespread and prevalent on American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) throughout Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties, and appears to be spreading into Litchfield, Tolland and Windham counties, as well, CAES officials said in an email. Robert E. Marra, an associate scientist/forest pathologist in the Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology at CAES, said it is not known for sure how many beech trees are affected by beech leaf disease in Connecticut, “but it is worth noting that the difference between last year and this year is dramatic, especially in these four lower Connecticut counties.” “If you ask property owners in Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex, and New London Counties, they would say that nearly all their beeches have beech leaf disease,” Marra said. “However, while we haven’t been able to survey all our state forested lands, it seems that there are pockets of severe outbreaks, and stands where we see little if any BLD…”

Erie, Pennsylvania, Times-News, June 9, 2021: Discover some of the tallest trees in the northeast in Cook Forest State Park

When you’re thinking about getting back to nature, realize there’s a state park in northwestern Pennsylvania that can actually take you back in time. Cook Forest State Park in Clarion County has acres of old-growth forest areas with trees that are several hundred years old. This area escaped the mass lumbering that occurred across most of the country. “For conifers, Cook Forest is the place to go,” Dale Luthringer, the park’s environmental education specialist, said during a tour of the highlights of the 8,500-acre state park and Clarion River. He said there are 30 white pine trees that are at least 160 feet tall and about 80 that are 150 feet tall. The tallest tree is a 171-foot white pine tree that is also the tallest tree in Pennsylvania. To put that in perspective, that one tree rivals the height of a 16-story building. “There is no other site (in the state) that comes close to the white pines,” he said about Cook Forest…

Phys.org, June 9, 2021: Some tree species in Mexico could be vulnerable to climate change

A new study found certain species of pine and oaks in the mountains of southwestern Mexico could be more vulnerable to decline as the environment becomes hotter and drier due to climate change. The findings, published in the journal Ecosphere, will be important as land managers seek to conserve and protect vulnerable species in these forests in Oaxaca, Mexico, and around the world. “We have pine-oak forests in North Carolina, in the Himalayas, in the Mediterranean and all over the world,” said the study’s first author Meredith Martin, assistant professor of forestry and environmental resources at NC State. “We wanted to get more information about how to manage and regenerate both pine and oak trees, which are both really ecologically and economically important…”

Boston, Massachusetts, WFXT, June 9, 2021: Tree crashes into house in Haverhill Tuesday

The picture shows just one tree branch, but the tree has five or six branches of that same size that thankfully didn’t fall. However, that one branch alone was enough to do serious damage to the roof and front half of the home, including the porch, the roof and the entire front yard. “That’s really awful, I feel for them. There’s nothing worse,” said neighbor Nancy McKenna. “It’s devastating. Look at it, right through the roof. That’s terrible.” A lot of people were looking at it. In fact, it seemed like every resident on Salem Street came by to take pictures. All the residents heard the thunder and lightning, but they didn’t hear the tree fall. “It was very windy,” said neighbor Kaylyn Cressinger. Neighbor Dougie Cressinger said he was wondering, “if everyone is OK and if it made a noise.” The answers are yes and yes. The homeowner said he and his two tenants were all home and looking out the window watching the tree fall on them; thankfully they are all okay. Neighbors also thankful it was the only serious damage in their neighborhood…

Mamaroneck, New York, Press Release, June 9, 2021: Town Of Mamaroneck: Emerald Ash Borer Beetle Threatens Ash Trees In Town

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle that infests and kills native Ash trees. Dozens of Ash trees in our community have already been infested and are dying at alarming rates. Once an ash tree dies, it should be removed quickly if the tree would pose a danger should it fall or lose a branch. This is because ash trees become brittle and unstable soon after they die. The Town has begun to identify dead and infested Ash trees on Town property that must be removed as a safety measure. We will begin to remove dead trees along East and West Brookside Drive next week. Trees that have been identified for removal have a green dot spray painted on the trunk. If you believe you have an Ash tree on your property that is infested, or have noticed increased woodpecker holes in an ash tree, have it evaluated by a tree professional. If the tree is removed, the tree must be chipped to 1-inch or smaller pieces to prevent the spread of the beetle. ..

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, June 7, 2021: Invasive disease that threatens beech trees has been discovered in Maine

Beech leaf disease — a disease that has led to the destruction of beech trees from Ohio to southern New England — has been confirmed in Maine and added to the state’s invasive species list. Landowners in Lincolnville observed possible symptoms of the disease and reached out to the Maine Forest Service pathologist, according to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The presence of the disease was confirmed by staff at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station using leaf samples from a forest in Lincolnville. The find is concerning to Maine’s tree experts. “Beech trees are a pretty significant component of our forests in Maine and ecologically important to mammals, birds and insects,” said Aaron Bergdahl, state pathologist with the Maine Forest Service. “The leaves are high in nitrogen so the tree is important to soil nutrition.” Beech leaf disease was first reported in Ohio in 2012, and for many years it was known only in adjacent states and nearby Ontario, Canada. In 2019, it was detected in eastern New York and by 2020 a survey and outreach effort found beech leaf disease in southern New England…

Phys.org, June 8, 2021: Tree diversity may save the forest: Advocating for biodiversity to mitigate climate change

When it comes to climate change, policymakers may fail to see the trees for the forest. It turns out that the trees may be the answer after all, according to a study published by authors from more than seven countries on June 3rd in Nature Climate Change. “Climate change and biodiversity loss are two major environmental challenges,” said paper author Akira S. Mori, professor at Yokohama National University. “But the vast majority of attention has been paid to one unidirectional relationship—climate change as a cause and biodiversity loss as a consequence.” Mori and his co-authors argue that climate change and species diversity across ecosystems are mutually independent, and, while they can influence each other, they are not a direct cause and effect. The problem, Mori said, is that this perspective is largely lacking from both policy efforts and science so far. “There is now recognition of the need for nature-based solutions, which involve working with nature to address society challenges, including carbon storage by restoring forests,” Mori said. “However, natural climate solutions are currently missing biodiversity as part of the equation: it is not yet widely appreciated as a powerful contributor to climate stabilization…”

Toledo, Ohio, Blade, June 8, 2021: Outdoors: Dead trees home sweet home for many

We hear a lot about the housing crisis these days — homes on the market for just hours before the offers fly in, or a mad scramble for places to live in communities where anything affordable is nearly non-existent, and those long waiting lists for the places where government subsidies soften the impact of the monthly rental fee. There are housing crises in nature, too. Habitat is housing for wildlife and birds, and many of the species that are most threatened with drastically declining populations, or teetering on the brink of extinction, have been brought to this point by the loss of habitat. Animals need a place to live. A certain housing predicament in the natural world that we can help remedy is one that has been exacerbated by the often innocent urge to “clean up” things and cull the less-than-ideal growth from our landscapes. Dead and dying trees, while clearly not as pleasing to the eye as those healthy trees filled with lush growth, are still an important piece of habitat — often housing — for many species of birds, other wildlife, and essential insects. Tim Schetter, director of natural resources for Metroparks Toledo, said that we too often pull out the chainsaw as an impulse reaction to the sight of a dead or dying tree, and overlook the value these trees provide. “Unless dead or dying trees pose a safety hazard to people or structures, they should be allowed to stand wherever possible,” Schetter said. “Dead trees, known technically as snags, provide valuable wildlife habitat, offering nesting opportunities for woodpeckers, perches for raptors looking for prey, denning opportunities for mammals, and foraging opportunities for a host of wildlife species…”

Canby, Oregon, Herald, June 9, 2021: Create a defensible space 5-30 feet from your home

Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District recommends making your property and home more wildfire resistant by taking on the tasks one weekend at a time. You may find the first weekend’s task list on our website at conservationdistrict.org. This week we are looking at the Intermediate Zone, 5-30 feet from your home or outbuilding. We will be thinking about the landscape/hardscape and creating fire breaks. Gather your family and friends for these activities:
• Clear vegetation from under large stationary propane tanks.
• Create fuel breaks with driveways, walkways/paths, patios and decks. This may be a long-term project, but it is good to think about what fire breaks you already have and what you may want in the future.
• Mow lawns and native grasses to a height of 4 inches. Maintain this throughout the summer. Remember if it is brown, cut it down.
• Remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees) so a ground fire cannot climb into tree crowns. Prune trees up to 6-10 feet from the ground; on shorter trees do not exceed one-third of the overall tree height.
• Maintain tree spacing to have a minimum of 18 feet between crowns, with the distance increasing with the percentage of slope…

Portland, Oregon, KTVZ-TV, June 7, 2021: Arborist reviews, gives ‘A’ grade to Oregon fire-damaged hazard tree removal program

A Pacific Northwest arborist with more than 30 years of experience has submitted his positive findings to the state following a thorough review of the hazard tree removal effort underway to support Oregon’s rebuilding and recovery process, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management said Monday.
In response to public concerns and calls for an independent investigation into the work underway, Galen Wright, president of Washington Forestry Consultants, Inc., evaluated the state hazard tree removal program and its workers and drafted a report sharing the findings. Here’s the rest of Monday’s OEM news release on the arborist’s findings: According to ODF, Wright’s review found that the certified arborists and professional foresters working in the field generally meet or exceed the experience and qualifications required to evaluate fire-damaged trees. The report also found that the FEMA-required criteria being used is sound for making these determinations and is being applied appropriately in the field. “It is our finding that ODOT and the Debris Management Task Force have the necessary operational plan, protocols, contracts and requirements necessary to conduct and provide quality assurance for this hazard tree mitigation program for the 2020 Oregon wildfires. No changes are recommended to the current protocols,” Wright said in the report…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun-Times, June 7, 2021: Aldermen create Urban Forestry Advisory Board to tackle tree-related issues

Dying trees on private property that the city can’t take down without a court order, even though they could fall, damaging adjacent homes, streetlights and power lines. Elderly homeowners who can’t afford to take proper care of their trees. Trees adjacent to alleys that homeowners “build a fence around” and claim they’re the city’s responsibility. Those and other problems now fall to a 13-member Urban Forestry Advisory Board created Monday by the City Council’s Finance Committee. Chicago has been without a Tree Advisory Board for more than a generation — since the 1990’s panel created by former Mayor Richard M. Daley, a self-described tree lover, “kind of dissipated,” according to city forestry chief Malcolm Whiteside. The newly-created tree board will be purely advisory. It can’t order beleaguered Chicago homeowners to do anything about the trees on their property. But Finance Committee Chairman Scott Waguespack (32nd) argued that the 13 members —which will include the Chicago Park District superintendent, the city’s chief sustainability officer and four city department heads — could make pivotal suggestions about ways to defray the cost of tree trimming, removal and replacement and find money to support Chicago’s under-funded Bureau of Forestry…

Seattle, Washington, Times, June 7, 2021: Golden Gardens Park in Ballard hit with two incidents of tree topping this year

Seattle officials are investigating two incidents of illegal tree topping this year at Golden Gardens Park in Ballard. Three large maple trees were cut down without a permit March 30 and two trees were topped in May near the dog park, said Seattle Parks and Recreation spokesperson Rachel Schulkin. Both cases have been reported to Seattle police, Schulkin said. Though only a small number of trees were impacted, she said, Golden Gardens Park has been hit with illegal cutting three times in the past three years. Patches of trees were removed in 2019. Tree topping, the removal of branches or the top section of a tree, is prohibited within any city-owned parks, boulevards and greenbelts, though trees may be pruned with a permit from the city. Culprits are typically homeowners looking to improve their home’s view. In the latest incident, Schulkin said three other trees were removed on private land bordering the park. Jane Ripley Wheeler said she reported the most recent set of cuttings when she spotted them while on a walk just north of the dog park. The trees, she said, had orange tags with the name of a private tree service company…

Phys.org, June 7, 2021: New remote sensing methods are well-suited for the detection of tree species

Researchers from the Department of Geographical and Historical Studies at the University of Eastern Finland, and from the Finnish Environment Institute, are collaborating in the IBC-Carbon project to develop novel remote sensing methods that can be used explore forest biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Led by Professor of Environmental Geoinformatics Timo Kumpula and Leading Scientist Petteri Vihervaara (Finnish Environment Institute), the group has tested various remote sensing methods to detect different tree species in the Evo research area, among other places. In Evo, very high-resolution remote sensing data have been collected from an area of 83 square kilometers, which constitutes a diverse research environment that comprises conserved old forests, commercial forests and a popular camping area. The researchers have been particularly interested in detecting the European aspen from among other tree species. The European aspen is an ecologically valuable tree species because it is associated with a rich and versatile selection of flora and fauna that maintain forest biodiversity. “The European aspen is associated with an exceptionally large number of different organisms, such as insects, fungi, lichen, cavity-nesting birds, and endangered species. The European aspen also has a history of being an undesired species from the 1960s to the 1980s, when young aspens were linked to the spread of a fungal disease to pine trees in commercial forests. Later, the significance of the European aspen for forest biodiversity has been understood…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2021: To Offset Climate Change, Scientists Tout City Trees and Ultra-White Paint

With record global temperatures stoking droughts and deadly heat waves, some scientists are eyeing audacious schemes to counteract global warming—from erecting enormous air filters to suck carbon dioxide from the air to launching millions of sunlight-defecting space mirrors into orbit around the planet.
Other scientists see the value of simpler tools: shovels and paintbrushes. The shovels are for planting trees, whose shade has been shown to lower air temperatures in sweltering cities by up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit; the brushes for painting rooftops and other dark surfaces light colors that limit the absorption of temperature-raising sunlight. More trees and more reflective surfaces won’t stop climate change. But they could refashion cities for a warming world, tempering what scientists call “heat islands” caused by heat-absorbing rooftops, building materials and roads that make urban areas hotter than the surrounding countryside. In addition to lowering temperatures, trees improve air quality and help manage storm water…

Detroit, Michigan, WWJ-TV, June 3, 2021: DTE Energy Launches Tree Trim Academy To Create 200 Jobs In Detroit

DTE Energy launched its Tree Trim Academy Thursday to create 200 high-paying jobs in Detroit over the next three years. DTE’s Tree Trim Academy will offer new jobs, paid training, and wraparound services like childcare and transportation. The tree trimmers graduating from the Academy, like other tree trimmers DTE employs, will help to ensure energy reliability by reducing outages due to fallen trees and branches. The DTE Tree Trim Academy is inclusively recruiting talent from Detroit and metro-Detroit’s diverse, eager workforce to train 60 graduates in 2021, filling the area’s ever-growing demand for line-clearance tree trimmers. The academy will offer an unparalleled, six-week Line Clearance Tree Trimming (LCTT) training program to equip graduates with the career-readiness preparation, safety training and tree trimming skills needed to move into IBEW Local 17’s apprenticeship program pipeline. Graduates will also earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and a certificate in customer service. Experienced tree trimmers can earn more than $100,000 per year. Including this year’s class of 60 graduates, the program will create 200 jobs in Detroit by 2024…

San Francisco, California, KNTV, June 4, 2021: Bay Area Man Salvaging Trees From the Urban Forest

The normal fate of a tree that falls in an urban neighborhood is a compulsory date with a wood chipper or a landfill. But when a tree comes in down in Nick Harvey’s Hayward neighborhood, it just might end up as somebody’s new kitchen table. That’s exactly how Harvey, a former scientist at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, landed in the tree-saving-furniture-making business — a tree fell in his neighborhood. “I thought it was crazy they’re going to enter the waste stream,” Harvey said, “so I had them deliver it to the front of my house of all places.” Harvey called a portable miller, and turned his garage and backyard into a quasi-lumberyard. The boards filled his garage, and fed his conscience. From the experience, he founded Bay Area Redwood, a company devoted to salvaging fallen trees from the urban forest, and turning them into products like tables, bar tops or cutting boards. “We’re taking that waste,” Harvey said, “and being able to create something out of it to where people can improve their lives…”

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, June 3, 2021: South Portland councilors examine tree protection ordinance

Residents were divided on a proposed tree protection ordinance presented on May 25 that has potential to be the strongest in the state. While most residents and commenters who offered input during a South Portland City Council workshop on the topic said that they value the importance of trees, not every resident said that they would be in support of the ordinance as drafted, while others said the ordinance would be beneficial to the city. More than 25 individuals provided public comments or questions. In the fall of 2020, the city council decided not to pursue a moratorium on development after being presented with concerns about the cutting down of trees. Instead, councilors asked that the city create measures in order to protect trees. City Planner Milan Nevajda said the proposed ordinance would protect trees that fall into four categories:
• Significant, non-invasive trees that meet a height requirement of 10 feet in diameter;
• Heritage, old and large with diameter of 60 inches, are 90 years or older or listed on the state’s “Big Tree List;”
• Historic or Cultural, trees designated by the council;
• and Program, which is defined as tree replacements to mitigate trees that are removed or must be preserved.
The proposal also would add a tree removal permit process, Nevajda said. Additional staff would be required, and the ordinance would go into effect six months after approval…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, June 4, 2021: Conservationists are planting the seeds of history’s ‘biggest ecological turnaround’ in Maine forest

A coastal Maine orchard is one of only three spots in the country where researchers have planted what could be the forest of the future. But what makes that future different is that it contains the next wave of American chestnut trees — the kind made in a lab. Last week, after receiving a permit from the federal government, Maine scientist Thomas Klak and his team planted hundreds of transgenic chestnut seedlings in an experimental orchard in the remote coastal town of Cape Elizabeth. If the experiment helps restore the mighty chestnut to American forests, it would be “the biggest ecological turnaround in North American history,” said Klak, a gene conservationist with the American Chestnut Foundation and a major player in the national restoration effort. Americans miss the chestnut more than they realize. Often called the “redwood of the East,” the keystone species was the most valuable tree this side of the Mississippi River, stretching as much as 100-feet high with trunks 10-feet thick. Native Americans used the chestnut for its medicinal leaves, and it was a staple food source for birds, insects, fungi and mammals. People baked chestnut flour and made chestnut pudding, and used its premium wood for houses, furniture, instruments and other woodcraft…

Raleigh, North Carolina, News & Observer, June 3, 2021: Tree huggers beware. A bill moving in NC could trim tree protections

One thing that’s sure to bring complaints in leafy North Carolina towns is the sight of a field freshly clearcut of trees or crews taking down long-established oaks. Now a bill moving through the state legislature may make local officials less able to prevent such taking of trees. House Bill 496 would require local governments to obtain the General Assembly’s approval for restrictions on removing trees from private property. Tree ordinances in about 40 of the state’s larger cities and towns have such approval, but the proposed law would eliminate tree protections in many towns and counties that have approved them only at the local level. Rep. Mark Brody, a Union County Republican and a co-sponsor of the proposed change, said it’s necessary because tree ordinances involve costs and restrictions that legally should be approved by legislature. “A lot of municipalities are deciding on their own and the heck with the General Assembly,” he said…

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Saskatoon tree pruning company shocked at $275 fee for disposing long logs at landfill

Quill Shiell believes a new policy at Saskatoon’s landfill could eventually lead to the spreading of Dutch elm disease in the city. Last month, Shiell, the owner of a tree pruning company, tried to drop off a load of cut elm wood at the Saskatoon landfill. Apart from the general disposal fee, he was told a special fee of $275 would also apply for any wood over 10 inches in diameter or three feet long. “They have a guy on the hill where you dump, hanging out with a tape measure that measures each log and tells you whether it’s within their parameters,” said Shiell, owner of Porcupine Tree Care. While Shiell normally disposes of his waste wood outside of the landfill, elm wood is a different matter altogether. All waste elm wood must be thrown out in the landfill so that it doesn’t spread Dutch elm disease, a disease that can quickly spread and kill elm trees in the area. Rather than pass the extra money on to his customers, Shiell took his wood back to his workshop to cut into tiny pieces. However, he worries that other people won’t be so conscientious..

Macon, Georgia, WMAZ-TV, June 3, 2021: Georgia timber farmers not seeing record profits despite record lumber prices

They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but in Georgia, it kind of does. The state says timber is Georgia’s second most-profitable commodity, after agriculture, and you may have gotten sticker shock if you wanted lumber lately. Local farms say those the steep profits aren’t branching out to them. What we’ve got here is a simple supply and demand. Back in 1989, the federal government was helping farmers, so they helped them plant 600,000 acres of trees. Now, those trees are at their maturity level and that is creating a perfect storm for timber land owners. Danny Hamsley farms land that has stood in his family for decades. “Well, I have 240 acres that I grow trees on,” he calculated. Hamsley is an unusual timber farmer. He grows them– planes, the boards, and actually sells that lumber, and even furniture he’s made directly to customers. That gives him a little insulation on prices. “The run-up in prices is artificial. It’s a function of the pandemic,” he reasoned. “Timber land owners have not enjoyed a run-up in prices like the mills have seen.” Tim Lowrimore is the state’s forester with Georgia Forestry. He agrees with Hamsley and has had several conversations with timber land owners across the state. “Mills began to ramp down their operations because they didn’t know what the market was going to do,” he said…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, June 2, 2021: ‘Every tree saved is a win:’ Darien first selectman joins fight to save trees

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson is fighting alongside residents of Little Brook and North Little Brook roads to preserve dozens of trees, and the next step is a public hearing. Warning signs have been posted on some 50 trees — which sit at the south side of the intersection of the two roads — by the town’s tree warden. These trees have been tagged for removal as part of Eversource’s tree trimming and hazardous tree removal program. Stevenson joined residents in the neighborhood and Eversource representatives Tuesday afternoon to walk the area and examine the trees set for removal. The walk-through lasted more than an hour but, according to residents, town officials and Eversource, more questions need to be answered. “It’s a mutual education opportunity for us so that we can give our input. … I certainly understand your challenge, but I’m here to support the town and the neighbors,” Stevenson said, noting she was hopeful that there could be more pruning than tree removal. Stevenson said she understands why some of the trees have been marked for removal but added that officials on site identified a handful that can be saved. “Every tree saved is a win,” Stevenson said…

Sunbury, Pennsylvania, The Daily Item, May 30, 2021: Tree Topics: You can protect your trees from lightning

Each year in the United States hundreds of people are struck by lightning and about 50 die. Most fatalities occur when people take refuge under trees. The number of trees struck greatly exceeds a million a year. Some of these trees die immediately due to the strikes. Many are predisposed to attack by wood boring insects, decay, canker and root rot, and die within a few years. Some trees are struck with seemingly no damage at all. Lightning is produced to equalize electrical charges between negatively charged clouds and positively charged objects on earth. As lightning approaches the ground it is in the form of a stepped leader. The leader pulls a traveling spark from tall conductive objects in the area. When the stepped leader and the traveling spark connect, there is a flash of lightning. Benjamin Franklin is credited with the development of lightning protection systems in 1749. Fortunately, he was never electrocuted during the experiments he conducted. His systems are in widespread use to this day, protecting barns, steeples and homes. In the 1920’s, the tree care industry adapted Benjamin Franklin’s lightning protection system for use in shade and ornamental trees. Over the years the materials and techniques have changed somewhat for the better, but the concept remains the same…

The Verge, June 2, 2021: This scientist shoots trees to study how they migrate

In Black Rock Forest, just north of New York City, Angie Patterson aims a shotgun at a northern red oak tree. Patterson is a plant ecophysiologist, and the leaves that she’s shooting out of the canopy will give her data to understand how and why trees migrate. Trees have been on the move since at least the last ice age. As their native habitats become inhospitable, tree ranges shift, slowly, to areas they can thrive. But climate change is disrupting the process, scientists say. As of 2019, the IUCN Red List categorized more than 20,000 tree species as threatened, and upward of 1,400 as critically endangered. As scientists scramble to learn more about what drives tree migration, others are planning for the future. To preserve biodiversity, both citizens and researchers are employing interventionist tactics once steeped in controversy like “assisted migration” — taking tree seedlings and planting them in new locations. Rising global temperatures may force wildlife agencies and forest managers to decide what to save and what to leave behind…

ABC News, June 2, 2021: Study: California fire killed 10% of world’s giant sequoias

At least a tenth of the world’s mature giant sequoia trees were destroyed by a single California wildfire that tore through the southern Sierra Nevada last year, according to a draft report prepared by scientists with the National Park Service. The Visalia Times-Delta newspaper obtained a copy of the report that describes catastrophic destruction from the Castle Fire, which charred 273 square miles (707 square km) of timber in Sequoia National Park. Researchers used satellite imagery and modeling from previous fires to determine that between 7,500 and 10,000 of the towering species perished in the fire. That equates to 10% to 14% of the world’s mature giant sequoia population, the newspaper said. “I cannot overemphasize how mind-blowing this is for all of us. These trees have lived for thousands of years. They’ve survived dozens of wildfires already,” said Christy Brigham, chief of resources management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The consequences of losing large numbers of giant sequoias could be felt for decades, forest managers said. Redwood and sequoia forests are among the world’s most efficient at removing and storing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The groves also provide critical habitat for native wildlife and help protect the watershed that supplies farms and communities on the San Joaquin Valley floor…

Outhere Colorado, June 1, 2021: Hiker dies after tree falls on hammock, killing him in freak accident

Officials have announced that a hiker was found dead in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest last Thursday after the tree he was using as a hammock anchor fell on top of him. Identified as Edward Murphy, of Sandown, New Hampshire, the hiker was found in an area of the national forest called Bean’s Purchase, having had plans for a multi-day hike that was set to end on Wednesday. His failure to return as scheduled prompted a search that started around noon on Thursday, with Murphy found deceased later that day. There were reportedly no signs of foul play. A tragic accident, this incident highlights the dangers of being around weak, dying, and dead trees. In Colorado, weak trees can be common in areas of beetle kill and in burn scars. If dead, dying, or fallen trees are present in an area, proceed with extreme caution, especially when winds are rolling through. Though death by falling tree is a rare occurrence, it does happen. In August of 2019, a 56-year-old was killed after a tree fell on her tent in Colorado’s San Juan backcountry. In 2020, another woman was killed by a tree near Vail when a tree fell on the family campsite. In that case, the campsite was in an area where many trees had fallen victim to a rampant pine beetle infestation with the toppling further prompted by strong winds…

Greenwich, Connecticut, Time, June 1, 2021: Tree warden issues ruling on fate of 29 trees in Greenwich that Eversource sought to remove

After the town tree warden ruled Tuesday that Eversource can remove only two of the 29 trees it requested for maintenance, the utility company warned that the trees could cause future power outages. Residents challenged Eversource’s plan to cut down 29 trees in four locations in town, which led to a hearing last week. On Tuesday, Tree Warden Gregory Kramer issued a written decision, saving 27 of the trees and allowing only two to be removed. Eversource can remove one western cedar tree from Arch Street and Summit Road and one Norway maple tree from the Riverside Train Station, Kramer said in his ruling. Also, he said the trees cannot be removed until he has approved a landscape plan from the utility company to beautify the area and mitigate the loss of the trees. “I welcome the continued collaboration of working with Eversource Utilities as the time necessitates the proper pruning of trees near distribution wires,” Kramer said in his decision…

Smithsonian, June 1, 2021: A Journey to the Northernmost Tree in Alaska

Ecologist Roman Dial removes a shell from his 12-gauge shotgun. “Wherever this lands,” he says, tossing the shell over his shoulder, “will be the center of our first study plot.” We stand in a sparsely wooded valley, 23 miles as the raven flies from the nearest road. That road is the only thoroughfare in an Arctic wilderness the size of California, and our party of seven left it five days ago, heading east through mountains in packrafts and on foot. For the next 37 days and 320 miles of travel, we will not see another human. The gun is for the grizzlies, who are fresh out of hibernation and mad with hunger. We have traversed mountainsides pocked with craters, where ravening bears have moved a ton of earth for a bite of ground squirrel. They’re so hungry that Dial has instructed us not to warn them of our presence, but instead to “sneak through.” Why all this sneaking around? Because something strange is happening in the Far North. This valley marks the northern treeline, the diffuse boundary beyond which the mountains and tundra stretch treeless to the Arctic Ocean. As the planet warms, this treeline may be on the move. Dial finds the shotgun shell in a tangle of feather moss and lichen. We set down our packs and begin to sweep the surrounding area. From our feet, we notice several shin-high spruce seedlings. We look closer, combing the understory like grooming monkeys. Suddenly a new world comes into focus: A generation of toe-height trees, not more than a few years old, bristles through the soil…

Bloomberg Green, June 1, 2021: Cutting Down Trees Can Help Save Climate in Forest Industry Math

Sweden’s forest industry has prepared a defense against critics who say trees should be left in the forest to bind carbon and help fight climate change. At the heart of the conflict is the European Union’s need to regulate sustainable activities across the bloc, where forest-based carbon sinks are on average declining, in net terms. That has prompted concerns that forestry accumulates a so-called carbon debt because trees take several decades to grow back. In densely forested Sweden, the industry is keen to show trees are, overall, sequestering more carbon dioxide than is released. The companies, who make their profit from pulp, packaging and timber, commissioned a study that shows a bigger climate benefit from cutting trees than reducing or halting harvests. The math in the report published on Tuesday centers on displacement effects: fossils can be left underground if wood is used to replace such materials, resulting in smaller carbon dioxide emissions than keeping forests intact but using materials such as plastic instead…

Orlando, Florida, Sentinel, May 29, 2021: Seminole looks at stronger tree protection rules

To restrict developers from clear-cutting every tree on a tract of land before erecting a subdivision of new homes or shopping centers, Seminole has started updating portions of its land development rules to provide broader arbor protections and protect tree canopies around the county. As part of that process, Seminole commissioners are considering hiring an urban forester who would be charged with recommending tree preservation conditions on rezoning requests, applications for land use changes and preliminary plans for new residential developments. “What I continually hear all the time is citizens calling me up and saying: ‘You know, we had this beautifully wooded area and now all of a sudden, it’s stripped completely. They didn’t save any trees and the trees had been there for a long time,’” Commission Chairman Lee Constantine said. “There’s got to be a better way than just cutting down every tree on a piece of land…”

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, May 28, 2021: 50-year-old hiker killed in New Hampshire when tree struck him, authorities say

A 50-year-old hiker in New Hampshire’s White Mountains was found dead Thursday evening at a tent site, and authorities believe he was killed when a tree fell on him, the state Fish and Game Department said Friday. In a statement, the agency identified the victim as Edward Murphy, 50, of Sandown, N.H. Fish and Game said Murphy had been attempting a multi-day hike that was supposed to conclude on Wednesday around 5 p.m. A search was launched when he failed to make it back by noon on Thursday, officials said. Murphy, authorities said, was found at the Spruce Brook Tent site by a search team around 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The site is located just off Wild River Trail in the Bean’s Purchase area of the mountain range, according to Fish and Game. “Evidence at the scene indicated that Murphy had been killed when a tree he had placed his sleeping hammock on fell and struck him,” the statement said. “There was no evidence of foul play and all indications point to this being a tragic accident…”

Lansing, Michigan, Dept. of Natural Resources, May 28, 2021: So why are those trees being cut down? It’s part of good forest management

Visitors to the Grayling area this summer will notice some spots in the woods where trees have been cut down on state-managed land near trails and roadways. The clearcuts may be unsightly for a few seasons, but they’re an important part of the process the Michigan Department of Natural Resources uses to manage 3.9 million acres of state forest and keep forests thriving well into the future. “We cut trees for a lot of different reasons. It’s part of good forest management. It can be for the health of the forest, to provide wildlife habitat, or to regenerate stands that are aging,” said Steve Milford, manager of the Eastern Lower Peninsula District of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. Trees being cleared by timber harvesters in that area include jack pine, red pine and hardwoods such as oak. Clearcuts also take place for other purposes. For example, jack pines in the area are strategically cut to maintain nesting sites for the Kirtland’s warbler, a once-endangered songbird that will nest only on the ground under the shelter of young, shrub-like jack pine trees…

Bryan, Texas, The Eagle, May 31, 2021: Wait before taking action on oak trees damaged by winter storm, experts say

Driving across Texas has been an interesting occupation for foresters and arborists these past few weeks. Many trees appear as healthy and vibrant as they have ever been, but littered in among the growing green are an equal — and seemingly arbitrary — population of barren oak trees. This bizarre phenomenon has intrigued professionals across the state — especially since oak trees, and particularly live oak trees, are known to be an incredibly resilient species. Now, months after Winter Storm Uri swept across Texas in mid-February, many of the oaks still aren’t leafing out. Standing in contrast to their vibrant and vivacious brethren, they look dead. Courtney Blevins has spent almost 40 years with Texas A&M Forest Service, and he can’t recall any past freeze leaving so many oaks looking bare this late into the spring. “I’ve been telling people my whole career that the single toughest species we have up here is live oak,” said Blevins, a forester out of Fort Worth. “And yet, it’s the live oaks that seem to be most stressed from this freeze. I’m shocked by that…”

Vancouver, British Columbia, North Shore News, May 27, 2021: Old-growth tree spotted rolling down B.C. highway was nearly saved by new harvesting rules

A massive old-growth tree rolling down a B.C. highway has captured the attention of thousands of people around the world after a Nanaimo woman snapped a photo on her way to the grocery store. Lorna Beecroft was driving down the Nanaimo Parkway Tuesday morning when she came across a logging truck weighed down with a single enormous spruce tree. “It was just shocking to look up and see a huge old-growth tree like that driving down the road,” she said. She posted the photo to her Facebook page, sparking a massive response. Beecroft said she has received messages from all over the world, from Japan, Denmark, Germany and all across Canada and the U.S. The photo caught the attention of politicians as well. Taylor Bachrach, MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, re-tweeted the photo calling it “Barbaric…” “Mostly, it’s people who are unhappy, sad, upset that trees like that are harvested. Others, who are making fun of me for being a tree hugger. I’m not,” said Beecroft. “People have to make a living. We live in houses, they’re made of wood. But surely we don’t have to cut down trees like this…”

Moneycontrol, May 27, 2021: The risks of tree plantation in grassland and non-forest areas

Planting trees by the millions has come to be considered one of the main ways of reining in runaway carbon emissions and tackling climate change. But experts say many tree-planting campaigns are based on flawed science: planting in grasslands and other non-forest areas, and prioritising invasive trees over native ones. Experts point out that not all land is meant to be forested, and that planting trees in savannas and grasslands runs the risk of actually reducing carbon sequestration and increasing air temperature. The rush to reforest has also led to fast-growing eucalyptus and acacia becoming the choice of tree for planting, despite the fact they’re not native in most planting areas, and are both water-intensive and fire-prone. A tree-planting frenzy has taken over many countries to counter climate change. In July 2019, Ethiopia announced that they planted more than 350 million trees in one day. A month later in India, the Uttar Pradesh government announced that more than a million people planted 220 million trees on a single day to increase the state’s forest cover. “Always be suspicious of such big claims,” says William Bond, a grasslands researcher and emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. “It’s taken for granted that tree planting is good. But look at what they’re planting, where they’re planting…

Frederick, Maryland, News-Post, May 27, 2021: Frederick County residents turn to tree farming for wood production

U.S. lumber futures have hit their highest prices ever. July 2021 futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are set at $1,541 per 1,000 board feet (us.fsc.org). As we’ve learned from rising construction costs, wood is in high demand and has people asking themselves how lucrative tree farming is. A timber stand’s value depends on the size of the trees, the species, the quality of the wood, the ease of the harvest and the distance to a mill. For example, black cherry may obtain a much better price for veneer than a crooked sweetgum which may be priced for paper. On a tree farm, pine for chipboard or paper can be thinned for the first time after 10 to 20 years. An initial thinning of an oak forest yielding lumber products may occur as early as 60 to 70 years in our region. The cheapest wood often comes from fast growing evergreens, such as pine, fir and spruce. It is comparatively soft and has a closed grain, which makes it a better choice for construction and general woodworking. Here too, we distinguish between grades of wood, with a grade C being ideal for trims, while grade D may have knots the size of a dime and can be used for bigger projects. Grades A and B are often dedicated to veneers and furniture. In general, high-quality wood at the base of the tree is used for higher value products like veneers and big pieces of lumber. Wood from the middle of the tree is used for wood pallets and smaller pieces. The thinner wood towards the top and other logs not suitable for saw timber are turned into chips, which may become wood pulp for biomass fuel, firewood and paper products…

Science Friday, May 28, 2021: Making Syrup From More Than Maple Trees

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are studying new ways to make syrup out of the northern forest—not from maple trees, but from beeches, birches, sycamores and more. They want to create new markets for an industry that, right now, depends on just one kind of tree—making it vulnerable to disease and climate change. At the tail end of maple sugaring season, other kinds of sap were still flowing freely in the woods of Lee. UNH researcher David Moore had sensors plugged into a stand of beech trees to measure that sap and the conditions helping produce it. “You can see I have three trees with sensors here that are all tied back to one data logger,” Moore said, pointing to the tubes and wires running from the beech trunks. Nearby, a bucket collected the resulting sap, while other equipment gathered weather data. Researchers say monocultures, like the all-maple syrup industry, are more at risk from climate change, pests and other unpredictable threats. So Moore sees untapped potential in other common species, like the American beech. It’s found throughout New Hampshire’s forests, farms and sugar bushes—almost like a tree weed. “If you can think of some economical use—if you can make syrup from them, that would be a nice way to actually generate a little profit from them,” Moore said…

New York City, The New York Times, May 27, 2021: Goodbye to a Yankee Farmer, the Ghost of Exit 8

The morning sun was just slanting through the trees when a crew arrived with chain saws to remove the last sign of Romaine Tenney. It was only a tree, a gnarled rock maple that stood for generations on the Tenney farm, and somehow survived what happened there on that September night in 1964. Now Vermont had ordered the tree cut down. A chain saw began to whine, and clouds of sawdust bloomed into the air. Then the first limbs began to fall, light and springy, coming to rest in a shower of twigs. A dozen townspeople stood watching, mourners at a graveside. The tree was mostly dead, but they associated it with Mr. Tenney, the bachelor farmer whom they had called “Whiskers,” and who had died in such a terrible way. They were old enough to remember when the Interstate was built, on land taken from farmers up and down the Connecticut Valley. The state offered compensation, but if landowners refused, it could seize land by eminent domain. Plenty of farmers grumbled about leaving, but Mr. Tenney simply refused to go. Throughout the summer of 1964, bulldozers leveled much of the land around his farmhouse, but Mr. Tenney kept milking his cows, as if nothing was happening…

Cape Girardeau, Missouri, KFVS-TV, May 26, 2021: Trees in the Ozarks struggling to catch up to the season

It’s a picture-perfect morning in the Ozarks. The birds are singing, the sun is shining and the chickens are grooming, getting ready to start their day. But there’s something wrong with the picture this spring. It’s May 25 and a lot of the trees do not have all of their leaves. According to Eric Driskell, who works for Falwell Tree Service in West Plains, cold weather and excessive moisture could be the culprits. “More than likely, they’re going to pull back through it, they’re just coming out of late bloom and I’d say a lot of it is probably because of that frost,” said Driskell. Driskell said even minor differences in temperatures, soil and moisture can affect trees. According to KY3′s Chief Meteorologist Ron Hearst temperatures in West Plains set record lows in April, dipping into the 20′s. Even as late as May 13, the temperature bottomed out at 39 degrees…

London, UK, Metro, May 27, 2021: Woman killed by overhanging tree branch after leaning out of train window

A woman died after being struck by a tree branch after leaning out of a train window, an inquest was told. Bethan Roper, 28, suffered fatal head injuries and was killed on the Great Western Railway (GWR) while the train was travelling at around 75mph. An inquest at Avon Coroner’s Court heard how Miss Roper had been out Christmas shopping with friends in Bath on December 1, 2018. She had got on a train from Bath Spa station and was passing through the Twerton area towards Bristol Temple Meads when the incident happened. Mark Hamilton, an inspector with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, said: ‘We established that one of the group of friends opened the window of the door and at least one other friend leant out of the window.‘But around two and a half minutes after the train departed Bath Spa station Bethan leant out of the window and a few seconds later she fell backwards having sustained a serious head injury. ‘The simple conclusion we have drawn from the evidence presented was that Bethan’s head came into contact with a lineside tree and that tree was growing on Network Rail infrastructure…’

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, May 26, 2021: Here’s what you should know before hiring a Colorado landscaping company

Recent storms and spring weather have many homeowners hiring landscapers to remove dangerous trees and beautify lawns. Consumer protection experts tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers it’s important to choose a landscaping company wisely before signing a contract. Dottie tells FOX31 she hired a landscaping contractor for tree removal, but after paying the total amount of approximately $6,000, she said the stumps remain on the property. “He told me he would come back in the spring and finish the job,” she said. Dottie showed FOX31 a contract saying the stumps were to be ground down six to 10 inches beneath the surface of the ground. She is considering taking her case to small claims court, where the limit is $7,500. The Problem Solvers asked attorney Bryan Kuhn about homeowners’ rights. He tells FOX31 Dottie “absolutely could sue for breach of contract.” Kuhn explains that contracts are binding. “There’s a misconception out in the general public that a contract has to be a sort of lengthy formal document. Nothing could be further from the truth….there are cases that have (involved) contracts on napkins,” he said…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, May 25, 2021: ‘It’s a sin:’ Darien residents fighting to stop tree removal

Residents along Little Brook and North Little Brook roads are fighting to prevent the destruction of 40 trees as part of Eversource’s tree trimming and hazardous tree removal program. Warning signs were posted on the trees — which sit at the south side of the intersection of the two roads — on May 18 by the town’s tree warden. “Quality of life, biodiversity, beauty of the neighborhood will be impacted,” neighbor Richard Poli wrote in an email to the town. “I think it’s going to make the neighborhood look awful,” said Henry Nisimblat, who has lived on the road since 1985. “Darien is known as a wooded area. Why do we have to cut them down? That’s what I’m really opposed to. I think it’s a sin.” Stevenson, in an email to the neighbors May 20, said she and other local officials need to find out more before any trees are taken down…

Bangor, Maine, Dailhy News, May 25, 2021: Maine lawmaker sued over trees cut down on neighbors’ land

A state lawmaker from Maine is facing a lawsuit from neighbors who say she and her husband cut down thousands of trees from their property to build a barn and horse paddock. Sasha and Christopher Malone filed the lawsuit against Republican Rep. Heidi Sampson and Robert Sampson, of Alfred. The Malones’ lawsuit said the Sampsons clear-cut part of the Malones’ forested property, removing more than 4,300 trees. The Sampsons said in court records that they mistakenly thought the area was part of their own property, the Portland Press Herald reported. They filed their own complaint against the company that harvested the trees in 2012…”

Capetown, South Africa, Capetalk 567 radio, May 25, 2021: ‘A PR disaster’: Fever trees mutilated to clear view of Showmax billboard

There’s been an uproar in Johannesburg after magnificent fever trees on William Nicol Drive were lopped to give a clear view of a huge Showmax billboard advertising The Handmaid’s Tale. The billboard is placed against a wall of the high-end Hyde Park Corner shopping centre. This “PR disaster” earns Showmax the zero rating of the week from branding and advertising expert Andy Rice. There are about eight or ten reasonably mature fever trees that were blocking the line of sight of view to the billboard. Suddenly, everybody wakes up one morning and they’ve all been lopped dramatically, not just trimmed. Rice says there are a couple of lessons that should be learned from a PR disaster like this. Firstly, you must remember that a brand is about promises – a promise made and a promise kept. But importantly, what really matters when you do have a blunder… is not the strength of the brand prior to the blunder but how you solve it afterwards…

Arlington Heights, Illinois, Daily Herald, May 25, 2021: Constable: Will ‘majestic’ Cary oak tree fall victim to water park?

The fear in one house at the end of Adare Drive in Cary is the park district will kill the oldest resident in town to make room for a new aquatic facility with plastic slides and bubblers. “At the very end of this road is this magnificent oak,” says Kimberly Kobos, who fell in love with the tree after she moved into that house with her husband, Salvador Islas, in 1992. “It’s probably 200 years old.” The tree’s fate, same as its towering branches, is up in the air. Will it be cut down to make way for water and sewer connections at the soon-to-be-built aquatic center? “I can’t answer that for you right now, and I’m not going to,” says Dan Jones, the executive director of the Cary Park District. The water park, which is part of a master plan adopted in 2016, “is a huge item that people in the community wanted,” Jones says. But the park district has more than 7,000 acres, including 5.5 miles of trails, some of which wind through oak savannas…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat, May 24, 2021: Timber cutting in Roland prompts probe; trees on its land, water utility says

Pulaski County authorities are investigating a resident near Lake Maumelle in Roland after several trees were topped, debranched or cut down on Central Arkansas Water land. Investigators cite in a report that a “concerned citizen” contacted Central Arkansas Water on May 12 about witnessing a crew cutting down trees on behalf of the property owner. According to nearby resident Rhonda Patton, she was the concerned citizen walking along the Ouachita Trail when she discovered the trees being cut. “I live right off of the Ouachita trail,” Patton said. “We could walk right out of our back door and within two minutes we’re on the [Ouachita trail].” Patton hikes the trail regularly, so when trees appeared to be cut down along a section she normally hikes, she became concerned. “I was taking my hike between 11 and 12 in the morning, and I can hear the chainsaws and stuff that’s happening,” Patton said. “As I start to come up the trail, I start to notice that there are a bunch of limbs, cut limbs, lining the side of the trail. And I knew that was wrong…”

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, WTMJ-TV, May 24, 2021: Ash trees coming down fast in race against deadly bug

It might seem extreme, but a lot of communities are cutting down healthy-looking trees. Those trees are the target of a very hungry bug. Nathan Schuettpelz oversees the emerald ash borer program for Whitefish Bay. His company triages treats and removes trees that look like breakfast for a bug born to kill. “Emerald ash borer, being in the state of Wisconsin, doesn’t allow you to make the choice of keeping or removing your tree. It’s gotta go,” Schuettpelz said. Emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle from Asia. It’s been in Wisconsin since 2008 and has been found in 52 of the state’s 72 counties. The best estimate: 50 million trees killed by these beetles across the Midwest. While a few of the most healthy ash trees in a community are treated and monitored, most “street trees” are coming down fast…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, May 24, 2021: Trees are dying in East Bay parks. They could pose a fire risk to nearby homes

Many trees in East Bay regional parks are dead or dying — likely due to lack of rainfall — and officials fear the trees could catch fire and that the flames could sweep through the parks and reach nearby homes. The trees cover about 1,000 acres of the 124,909-acre district, and multiple species are affected, including acacia, eucalyptus, Monterey pines, manzanitas and others. Most of the trees, on about 624 acres, are in Castro Valley’s Anthony Chabot Regional Park, where eucalyptus grow in some places so close together that game trails do not exist. The second biggest concentration, with about 177 acres, is in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. “It’s quickly coming to a point where it’s a matter of public safety, with fire season looming,” district Fire Chief Aileen Theile told the park district’s citizen advisory committee recently, adding: “No action is not an option at this point.” Many trees are in “interface” areas, Theile said, or where parkland abuts residential neighborhoods, making the fire threat especially dangerous. Crews began noticing the number of ailing trees last October while doing scheduled vegetation cleanup…

Nashville, Tennessee, WTVF-TV, May 24, 2021: Organization works to plant trees, reminds Tennesseans to water new trees this summer

A lot of new trees have been planted in the past year after many were uprooted by last year’s tornadoes and storms. The organization Root Nashville, led by the Cumberland River Compact and Metro Nashville, is working hard to replant trees and bring their benefits to Nashville. “We’ve set a record at Nashville of 8,000 trees planted as of last season,” Campaign Manager Meg Morgan said. But now that we’ve hit a dry spell, all of those trees really need extra care in the form of water that they aren’t getting right now. Morgan says the first three summers of a new tree are critical. “Without this watering time over the summer, all these efforts to replant and bring benefits of trees to the neighborhood actually won’t matter if you don’t take care of the trees over the summer,” Morgan said. New trees need 10 gallons of water each week. For every week it doesn’t rain at least one inch, Morgan says trees need help with supplementing. There are a couple of simple ways you can do that. For example, leaving the hose on low at the base of your tree for 10 minutes or for twice a week you can drill small holes in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket (average heavy-duty bucket size) and leaving at the base of each tree for slow soaking…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, May 22, 2021: A Milford family is helping to reforest Charles Island, 1 tree at a time

Like many city residents, Bill Pursell has seen how Charles Island Natural Area Preserve has changed over the years. Deer overpopulation, a fungal tree disease and storms, for example, have greatly reduced the forestation on the island, according to wildlife biologist Pete Piccone of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Now, Pursell hopes to lead a tree comeback using trees native to the area to restore Charles Island’s landscape. It is a piece of land Pursell is familiar with: He said his grandfather bought a cottage in 1941 that has a view of the island. So, after talking to some family members, Pursell said he decided to help reforest the 14-acre bird sanctuary, one tree at a time…

Ottawa, Ontario, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, May 24, 2021: Voracious caterpillars threatening Ontario’s trees

They’re only about four to six centimetres long, but gypsy moth caterpillars are a massive threat to Ontario’s forest cover. Scientists are warning that 2021 is shaping up to be a bumper year for the invasive species, brought to North America around 1860 by a French entomologist who hoped to cross-breed them with silkworms. The good news is that landowners can help battle the bugs using burlap and soapy water. “A caterpillar can eat about one square metre of leaves as it goes from a little tiny new caterpillar to a great big adult one that’s ready to pupate. That’s a fair amount of foliage for just one caterpillar,” noted Chris MacQuarrie, a research scientist with the Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., one of five research centres that form part of the Canadian Forest Service. The gypsy moth caterpillar (Lymantria dyspar) isn’t fussy about what it eats, either. “It really likes oak and birch and aspen,” said MacQuarrie. “It also eats maple and beech, and it’ll even eat some of the softwood species such as white pine and balsam fir and … Colorado blue spruce…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, May 22, 2021: Staking trees in your garden can do more harm than good

A newly planted young tree may look like it needs help to stay upright. Yet in most cases, tying the tree to stakes is not good for it, according to Julie Janoski, Plant Clinic manager at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “Staking a tree can limit its movement, which can keep the trunk from strengthening the way it should,” she said. As the wind moves a slender sapling, its trunk and its anchoring roots will respond by becoming stronger, making the tree more stable long term. A sapling restrained by stakes can’t build that strength. The best way to help a young tree grow stable and sturdy is to plant it properly, in a hole that is wide and not too deep, Janoski said. The wide hole, refilled with tamped-down soil, will encourage the tree to grow strong anchoring roots. Another risk from tree staking is damage to the bark, Janoski said. Rope or wire used to secure the tree to the stakes can rub right through the bark and the important layer just beneath the bark, where the tree grows and where it transports water and nutrients between the leaves and the roots. “If that layer is cut, the tree can’t function,” she said…

Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer, May 24, 2021: New orchard of chestnut trees begins on Cherokee territory

Imagine waking up 150 years ago, opening your window and looking out onto the Southern Appalachians. Within view would be any one of the billions of American chestnut trees that once covered the landscape. Places that are now considered coal country were chestnut country. Today, not so much. The tree is considered functionally extinct, thanks to a fungus imported in on a tree from Japan in the late 1800s. The airborne fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica, flings its spores onto the American chestnut until its bark develops sickly looking blisters that soon spread throughout its body, destroying the tree’s ability to grow tall enough to reproduce. But all hope is not lost: a new partnership between the American Chestnut Foundation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians aims to repopulate the region with the lost tree…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, May 20, 2021: The Cost Of Defensible Space: Growing Problem Arising From Downed Trees

A growing problem in California is what to do with all the logs, clippings and brush associated with clearing defensible space or downed dangerous trees. “The problem is too easily solved. Why there isn’t a solution is baffling to me,” said Daniel Hovarter, a tree professional. Hovarter was downing a eucalyptus tree on 38th Street in Sacramento, right over Daisy Gutierrez’s home. “This is a very dangerous tree and I have two kids,” Gutierrez said. “If it’s a hazard to the home or a potential fire hazard to the home, they’re required to take the tree down or the homeowner’s insurance will drop them,” said Hovarter. Hovarter says due to the storms with high winds in January, and now the drought, his business has almost tripled. The problem is, so have fees at area landfills. “I pass those expenses along to the homeowner and at that rate, nobody gets their tree done,” he said. For example, the eucalyptus tree costs $15,000 to cut down and it will cost nearly $13,000 to dispose of the 200 tons of wood. Insurance won’t pay for preventative maintenance, so it comes out of pocket…

Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, May 20, 2021: Trees pull carbon out of air, fighting climate change. Let’s plant 1 trillion of them

To win the future, we need to embrace bold ideas and innovative, long-term climate solutions. As we chart solutions to address climate concerns, we must remember that we owe it to future generations to be responsible stewards of our environment — as well as our economy. The Trillion Trees Act, which I’m proud to again reintroduce this Congress, is a solution designed to do just that. Despite the marvels of modern technology, planting trees remains the largest, most cost-effective and most environmentally friendly method we have for sequestering carbon. Trees naturally remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their roots, bark, and branches, all while filtering pollution and emitting pure oxygen. Studies show that planting a trillion trees worldwide would sequester 205 gigatons of carbon, roughly two-thirds of all the man-made carbon emissions created since the Industrial Revolution. The Trillion Trees Act, led by my friend and colleague Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, the House Natural Resources Committee’s lead Republican, will solidify the U.S. as a global leader of the World Economic Forum’s One Trillion Trees Initiative to conserve, restore and grow a trillion trees worldwide…

Phys.org, May 21, 2021: Carbon storage offers hope for climate, cash for farmers

The rye and rapeseed that Rick Clifton cultivated in central Ohio were coming along nicely—until his tractor rumbled over the flat, fertile landscape, spraying it with herbicides. These crops weren’t meant to be eaten, but to occupy the ground between Clifton’s soybean harvest last fall and this spring’s planting. Yet thanks to their environmental value, he’ll still make money from them. Farmers increasingly have been growing offseason cereals and grasses to prevent erosion and improve soil. Now, they’re gaining currency as weapons against climate change. Experts believe keeping ground covered year-round rather than bare in winter is among practices that could reduce emissions of planet-warming gases while boosting the agricultural economy, if used far more widely. “For too long, we’ve failed to use the most important word when it comes to meeting the climate crisis: jobs, jobs, jobs,” President Joe Biden said in his April address to Congress. One example, he added: “Farmers planting cover crops so they can reduce the carbon dioxide in the air and get paid for doing it.” Clifton, 66, started growing cover crops several years ago to improve corn, soybean and wheat yields. Then he read about Indigo Agriculture, a company that helps businesses and organizations buy credits for carbon bottled up in farm fields. He signed a contract that could pay about $175,000 over five years for storing greenhouse gases across his 3,000 acres (1,214 hectares)…

Greenwich, Connecticut, Patch, May 20, 2021: Battle Brewing Over Trees At Greenwich High School

Following a ruling by the Town of Greenwich Tree Warden, a battle is shaping up over trees related to the Cardinal Stadium improvement project. Earlier this week, Tree Warden Dr. Gregory Kramer issued a ruling after a contentious public hearing on trees within the construction site. The Board of Education had requested the removal of 34 trees so that an ADA compliant parking lot, rain garden for drainage, and access road could be built. That number was later changed to 21 after Russell Davidson, President of KG+D Architects, said on the day of the hearing that 13 trees would not need to be removed for the current phase of the construction project. Kramer ruled that a handful of trees for the proposed rain garden must stay, as well as two trees along East Putnam Avenue. Twelve trees were approved for removal as part of the ADA access and parking area. Additionally, Kramer ruled that the trees will be removed upon the planting of 68 trees in the area, double the original removal request from the Board of Education of 34. Board of Education member Joe Kelly heavily criticized Kramer’s ruling, saying that “100 percent, under no conditions could the stadium be done according to the proposal of the tree warden.” The ruling, Kelly added, could delay the opening of the stadium, even though he pledged that work will continue elsewhere until completion…

Anniston, Alabama, Star, May 19, 2021: Fallen tree a quandary for Anniston woman — and city council

Carol Malet was getting ready to leave her house on the morning of Palm Sunday when a vine-covered tree fell on her 2005 Scion. Malet, 78, has been carless ever since. “The insurance company told me that because it was a living tree, not a dead one, it was an act of God and there was nothing they could do,” Malet said. Malet, who lives on Woodland Court in Anniston, is one person with a very specific problem — one that isn’t directly related to the tornado that struck Calhoun County in late March, leveling acres of forest and damaging hundreds of buildings. But her problem is one that fell through the cracks, leaving her without a car for more than six weeks. On Tuesday, her problem landed in the lap of the Anniston City Council. “I’m asking the council to take some action to help this lady get her car repaired,” said City Councilman Jay Jenkins… Malet’s house is near a creek that runs down a hillside, shaded by trees. The creek — and the trees — are the city’s property. Five years ago, one of those trees fell on Malet’s house, she said. Later she asked the city to cut down five or six additional trees that seemed ready to fall. City workers cut them down…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, May 17, 2021: Growths on your trees may indicate a deeper problem

Proclaiming that galls in trees are simply cosmetic and not a problem is not quite right. The abnormal growths don’t usually cause a problem, but they can indicate one. When present in small scatterings throughout the canopy, they are usually more cosmetic than damaging. But when trees are heavily infested with galls, there’s a problem. The tree is under stress and needs healing. This year has another factor to consider: freeze damage. Trees that are off color or have scarce growth on the top limbs may have galls show up more heavily, a reminder to do nothing that will stress the trees further. In addition to galls, you might also see an increase in diseases, insects, woodpecker holes or rodents chewing bark. Another symptom of ill health that’s starting to show up is white scale on crape myrtles. The answer is to stop poisoning your soil and your trees. That means making sure the landscape company you’re using (if you’re in that lucky category) stops poisoning your trees as well. What would my yard guy possibly be doing to poison my trees? Lots of things. At the top of the list would be using high-nitrogen synthetic fertilizers, nitrogen-only fertilizers and especially “weed and feed” fertilizers. Fertilizing too much is also a serious problem, as is watering too much — especially this year, with all the rain we’ve had…

National Geographic, May 18, 2021: A never-before-documented flower blooms on one of world’s rarest trees

As far as the plant scientists at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis know, the tiny purple-and-white flower that recently grew in their greenhouse has never before been seen, at least by experts like them. On May 3, Justin Lee, a senior horticulturist at the garden, was checking on a group of Karomia gigas tree saplings in a greenhouse when he spotted the flower. The tree, related to mint and originally from Africa, is one of the world’s most critically endangered tree species. The one-inch-long flower had a halo of light purple petals that sloped downward while a cluster of four white, pollen-bearing stamens poke out. “It’s a bit odd for a mint flower. It looks flipped inside out,” says Lee. The mint family, Lamiaceae, more commonly puts out tube-like flowers. The tree’s caretakers think it’s likely the flowers attract pollinating bees, butterflies, and moths, but it’s also possible that the tree is capable of self pollinating…

Phys.org, May 18, 2021: Tree species diversity is no protection against bark beetle infestation

In recent years, foresters have been able to observe it up close: First, prolonged drought weakens the trees, then bark beetles and other pests attack. While healthy trees keep the invaders away with resin, stressed ones are virtually defenseless. Freiburg scientist Sylvie Berthelot and her team of researchers from the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources and the Faculty of Biology are studying the importance of tree diversity on bark beetle infestation. They are investigating whether the composition of tree species affects bark beetle feeding behavior. The team recently published their findings in the Journal of Ecology. In a 1.1 hectare experimental set-up in Freiburg, six native deciduous and coniferous tree species from Europe and six deciduous and coniferous tree species from North America were each planted in different mono- and mixed plots. After the severe drought in the summer of 2018, the Sixtoothed spruce bark beetle mainly attacked the native species: the European spruce and the European larch. “We were surprised that the beetles exhibited only a slight interest in the exotic conifer species, such as the American spruce,” Berthelot says. While measuring the infestation, the researchers found that the position within the experimental site was also crucial. The treesat the edge were attacked the most. Therefore, Berthelot suspects that the bark beetle entered the testing plot from outside. “In addition, environmental influences weaken the unprotected outer trees more, so they are more susceptible…”

Stars and Stripes, May 18, 2021: Tiny bats put kibosh on power line tree-cutting for two months

Tree-cutting on a key stretch of a $1 billion hydropower project in western Maine is going to stop almost as soon as it started to protect the newly born young of a federally protected bat. The New England Clean Energy Connect has a narrow window of only two weeks to begin work on the power line after a federal appeals court gave the green light to proceed last week. Tree removal will have to stop in June and July when the pups of northern long-eared bats are born and cannot yet fly. A permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers in November prohibited tree-cutting during June and July, and tree crews who’re already on the job had planned to stop during the two-month period to protect the bats, whose populations have been decimated by so-called white-nose syndrome. “NECEC Transmission LLC has been aware of this prohibition since the beginning of the federal consultation and permitting process and will comply with it,” NECEC said in a statement. The northern long-eared bats are tiny — the size of a small mouse — and they live in trees instead of caves. The bats are listed as threatened by the federal government and endangered by the state government because of white-nose syndrome, which has killed 90% to 95% of all bats in Maine, said Nate Webb, wildlife director at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife…

Spokane, Washington, KXLY-TV, May 18, 2021: DNR Report: Damaged tree branch fell on Avista power line, starting devastating Malden wildfire

A previously damaged tree branch falling onto an Avista power line caused the wildfire that destroyed most of Malden and Pine City last fall, according to a report completed by the Department of Natural Resources. 4 News Now obtained the report through a public records request. The fire, named the Babb Road fire, swept through the area September 20, 2020. It burned 15,266 acres, 121 homes, eight commercial buildings and 94 other structures. The report details the investigation from beginning to end, starting with an interview with a man who lived in a fifth wheel on the south side of Babb Road. The man saw the first signs of smoke and called 911, pointing to a tree line at the base of the hill that leads up to the John Wayne Trail. That led investigators to the man who owned the property, who showed them the area where he believed the fire started. “He said that he had been over to an area that he believes is the area of the origin, as there was a tree with a yellow ribbon around it next to the power lines,” the report says. That property owner was retired from Inland Power and Light Company, “but the distribution line where the fire started belonged to Avista Power, which feeds the natural gas station located on Babb Road west of his residence…”

Medford, Oregon, Mail Tribune, May 18, 2021: Arborist hired after outcry about excessive tree cutting

Oregon is hiring a Pacific Northwest-based arborist to review the state’s removal of trees in wildfire burn areas after recent concerns that the operation has been hasty and excessive. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management announced Monday that Galen Wright has been hired as an independent contractor to review the hazard tree effort, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. Wright is president of Washington Forest Consultants, Inc. He is tasked with providing a full assessment of Oregon’s program and his recommendations are due in June. “As this adaptive and evolving emergency response operation continues to make significant progress, Oregonians deserve to have confidence in the good work underway,” said Mac Lynde the Oregon Department of Transportation’s head of the three-agency Debris Management Task Force. It has been coordinating the tree-removal program in the aftermath of the 2020 wildfires that burned over 1 million acres. The state is in the midst of the giant effort to cut down an estimated 140,000 burned trees that could be dangerous to people on state roads or burned properties. Transportation officials told a legislative panel two weeks ago that it would bring on an independent arborist after several workers publicly voiced concerns about the hazard tree program. They have said the operation, led by a contracting firm out of Florida, has irresponsibly marked trees for removal that weren’t dead or dying…

London, UK, Financial Times, May 18, 2021: How much is a tree worth? Investors seek to build a market for nature

Wall Street is built on trading in stocks and bonds. Now it is turning its attention to the financial value of the natural world and how to fit that value into investment strategies. This has left academics puzzling over weighty questions, like ‘what is a bee worth?’ Earlier this year, the Natural Capital Investment Alliance was founded by HSBC venture Pollination, Lombard Odier and Mirova. It aims to raise $10bn by 2022 and to latch on to new revenue streams from natural habitats, such as forests, oceans and coral reefs, as part of projects designed to protect or restore these environments. These natural capital initiatives have ranged from simple solutions, like investments in companies preventing plastic pollution, to more esoteric ones such as purchasing and improving undesirable land. In the longer run, advocates hope to create a diverse array of assets linked to nature. Banks are also starting to include nature-based goals in sustainability-linked loans. Last year, in a loan it arranged for Mexican cement company Cemex, BNP Paribas agreed to provide a financial incentive for the company to preserve biodiversity at its quarry sites and improve its water usage in arid regions. The idea of earning or saving money for declining to destroy the natural world is anathema to many climate activists. But proponents say innovations such as paying companies not to rip up forests could become a way for green-minded investors to put their money to work beyond simply buying green bonds or excluding oil producers from their portfolios…

Greenwich, Connecticut, Time, May 17, 2021: To save tree, Greenwich will spend $12K to move accessible parking spot. Advocates say it’s ‘unconscionable.’

A compromise has been reached between the town and those looking to preserve a tree on Greenwich Avenue but it doesn’t satisfy a leading advocate for the disabled in town. As part of intersection improvements at Greenwich Avenue and Elm Street, the town planned to remove a pin oak tree located at 235 Greenwich Ave. in front of TD Bank to install an accessible parking space with a ramp. Members of the community and business owners objected, however, to the tree’s removal. The compromise: The tree stays and the accessible parking space will be moved to the opposite side of the street, Deputy Commissioner of Public Works James Michel said Monday. Michel said putting the space on the southeast side avoids the location of the tree but comes with an additional cost to the town of $12,000, which will come from the existing Department of Public Works budget. “This was the location that that was able to meet the required slopes while minimizing the amount of replacement of the pavement. We wanted the project to be completed in a timely manner,” Michel said…

US News and World Report, May 16, 2021: How This Tree Can Yield Better Kentucky Bourbon in Future

On a Central Kentucky hillside, over a thousand American white oak stand in neat rows, just barely towering over nearby blades of grass. These trees, currently just seedlings, have sat in this field on the Maker’s Mark Starhill Farm for less than a month. But years from now, researchers hope they can provide answers on how to protect a species endemic to many American forests and necessary for the creation of the amber liquid that has become one of the state’s most famous exports. In mid-April, project participants descended on the grassy hillside outside Loretto and planted the first volley — over 1,400 trees — of what will become the world’s largest repository of white oak. The repository was made possible because of a three-way partnership between University of Kentucky researchers, the Maker’s Mark distillery and barrel-makers from the Independent Stave Company. The collection of white oak will also tie in nicely with another Maker’s Mark and UK effort to map the entire genome of the white oak species. Researchers and distillers alike hope the projects will yield stronger, healthier trees and maybe, just maybe, more flavorful bourbon. Charred white oak barrels are key to the bourbon aging process…

Houston, Texas, KHOU-TV, May 16, 2021: Dead inside: Zombie trees caused by February freeze could come back to haunt you

Warm weather is here, flowers are in full bloom and our lawns are green again. Even so, the February freeze continues to haunt some Houston-area homeowners with potentially dangerous zombie trees. Experts say the troubled trees often look fine outside but are slowly decaying inside can pose a problem to people or property. Some can be saved, but others will need to be removed. How to spot a zombie tree: Dead wood, decay or fungus: Dead trees and large, dead branches can fall at any time. Cracks: Deep splits through the bark that extend into the wood of the tree’s trunk or limbs. Peeling bark: Look for patches of bark that are peeling off. Heavy Canopies: Excessively thick branches and foliage catch more wind during stormy weather. This increases the risk of branch breakage and uprooting. Discolored foliage or leaves with dying tips: Extreme weather like the arctic front that hit Texas in February and heavy flooding can cause leaves to wilt or die-back early. Prematurely falling leaves on a mature tree are another sign. Root problems: Check if the soil near the base of the tree is cracked or lifting on one side. If construction has taken place nearby, closely examine that area of the tree. Nearby construction may sever large roots or compact the soil, reducing root growth. Without a strong root system, trees are more likely to be uprooted or blown over in storms…

Toronto, Ontario, CTV News, May 17, 2021: Group of Toronto residents ‘totally horrified’ by plan to cut down dozens of old trees

Homeowners in an Islington Village neighbourhood are hoping to spare dozens of old trees slated to be ripped down for a townhouse development. Valerie Gibson has lived across the street from the site for 30 years, which is located near Burnhamthorpe Rd. and Dundas Street West in Etobicoke. Gibson doesn’t understand after three years of fighting, why more than 40 trees should come down to make way for the project. “I went into shock, total shock,” Gibson said. “[The trees] are heritage because most of them are over 100 years old. The tall pines are 120 years old. Down the street, Chris Grant is stumped too. On top of time, he said he’s spent around $90,000 hiring a lawyer and planner because the project pushes into his quiet residential neighbourhood. Some of his main concerns are traffic and a driveway for the complex. Grant said it’s planned to go in just a couple homes away from where he lives. “Kids play on this street,” Grant said. “The density, the height, and everything is massive. It’s too big to fit into a neighbourhood scheme…”

CNet, May 14, 2021: Ghost forest ‘tree farts’ are releasing greenhouse gases, scientists say

Large swaths of coastal wetland forest areas in North Carolina have taken on an apocalyptic appearance, with dead trees standing out like bare sticks. A research team at North Carolina State University is studying the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions from these “ghost forests.” Researchers have given the tree gas emissions the catchy nickname of “tree farts.” Greenhouse gases can trap heat around the Earth, contributing to a warming planet. The team measured carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide gases from standing dead trees (called snags) and from surrounding soil. “Snags can act as conduits for soil produced greenhouse gases and can also be sources as they decompose,” the study said. The paper appeared last week in the journal Biogeochemistry…

Houston, Texas, KTRK-TV, May 17, 2021: Zombie trees? Yes, they’re real and here’s how to prevent them in your neighborhood

Half dead and half alive, the name “zombie trees” was coined to perfectly describe the eyesores somewhere in between. Curt Smith with Davey Tree Expert Group gave ABC13 the information that could help residents identify and treat them. “The ‘zombie tree’ is [either] alive and dead, or dead and alive and doesn’t know it,” he said. “This year [they are] very common.” Zombie trees have been here for awhile, but this year they appear worse. The winter storm in February did a number on not only Texas’ electric grid but also on the state’s vegetation. Trees that might otherwise survive flooding or drought may be hiding the fact it couldn’t overcome a week of below freezing temperatures. Smith, an arborist, said the danger in these zombie trees is that if left unrecognized or untreated, they can fall without warning and cause property damage or injury anyone nearby. The Texas A&M Forest Service agrees that the Houston trees have had a rough year. Just two months after the freeze, experts said that oaks all over the state had a hard time recovering. Shrubs, bushes and vines were also susceptible…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, May 16, 2021: Invasive buckthorn makes up 1 in 3 trees in Chicago — here’s why it’s bad for your yard and the environment

You might have noticed a dense hedge, large shrub or small tree in your yard. Does it have glossy, broad green leaves that open early in spring? It might be buckthorn, one of the most troublesome invasive plants in the Chicago region. According to the recently released 2020 Chicago Region Tree Census from The Morton Arboretum, 36% of all the trees in Chicago and the seven surrounding counties are a single species, European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). Very few of those trees were planted on purpose, according to Melissa Custic of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, or CRTI, a partnership based at the Arboretum in Lisle. Most grew from seeds spread by birds that eat buckthorn berries. The plants can then expand into dense thickets by sprouting from underground roots. “Buckthorn spreads very easily, and it’s able to crowd out most other kinds of trees,” Custic said. “That’s what makes it an invasive plant. It takes over any area it can get into.” Why is buckthorn so destructive? It crowds out and outcompetes other trees and shrubs for water, nutrients and space. In natural areas such as forest preserves, it overpowers wildflowers and other native plants. Buckthorn has a longer growing season than most native trees, leafing out earlier in the spring and keeping its leaves longer in the fall. “That gives it an advantage,” Custic said…

St. Louis, Missouri, May 16, 2021: Cedar Rapids tries to turn city of stumps into tree oasis

Until one afternoon last August, Cedar Rapids had always been a lush, leafy island surrounded by a sea of corn and soybeans, with its giant oaks, sycamores and other trees towering over the community’s neighborhoods and providing a shady refuge from Iowa’s steamy summer heat. It took 45 minutes to shred nearly all of those trees, as a rare storm called a derecho plowed through the city of 130,000 in eastern Iowa with 140 mph (225 kph) winds and left behind a jumble of branches, downed powerlines and twisted signs. Power was restored in the following weeks, and workers continue repairing thousands of homes battered by the hurricane-force winds, but nine months later Cedar Rapids is not back to normal — because of the trees. “A lot of people once took the trees for granted, for what they provided,” said city arborist Todd Fagan. “That’s not the case anymore.” Now, city officials, businesses and nonprofit groups have teamed up with ambitious plans to somehow transform what is a city of stumps back into the tree-covered Midwestern oasis along the Cedar River…

Washington, DC, Counterpunch, May 13, 2021: Emergency Federal Protections Sought for Imperiled Joshua Tree

WildEarth Guardians has submitted emergency petitions (here and here) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to immediately provide federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for both the eastern and western species of Joshua tree, icons of California’s Mojave Desert. Guardians submitted these petitions to list the Joshua tree on an emergency basis under the ESA, while simultaneously challenging the Service’s 2019 decision under the Trump administration to deny Joshua trees protected status as a “threatened” species in federal court—a listing decision that was prompted by a previous petition submitted by Guardians in 2015. Guardians’ emergency petitions were submitted in advance of what is expected to be yet another severe fire season in Southern California. Last summer, the Mojave Desert reached a record-breaking 130 degrees while enormous wildfires like the Dome Fire also decimated thousands of acres of Joshua tree habitat, destroying an estimated 1.3 million Joshua trees. Joshua trees have existed for over 2.5 million years, but multiple published, peer-reviewed climate models show that climate change will eliminate this beloved plant from the vast majority of its current range, including its namesake National Park, by century’s end without robust efforts to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and address threats from invasive grass-fueled wildfires…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, May 13, 2021: When it comes to sucking up carbon, not all trees are equal

This newsletter has often looked at the part trees can play as part of the climate change solution, with their ability to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and store it. As with so much else, however, there is nuance — we need to be careful about assuming trees alone can save us. With wildfires and natural die-off, trees sometimes give off more carbon than they absorb. And when it comes to sequestration, some trees and their ecosystems appear to be more effective than others over time. With that in mind, it is noteable to see a new tree-related carbon project finding favor with some high-profile corporations. Proctor and Gamble, Apple and Gucci have all announced projects to protect and restore the mangrove, a woody tree or shrub living in salty coastlines in the tropics and subtropics. Mangroves (like the one being repopulated in the photo above) hold a particular allure as carbon sinks. “At a high level, [mangroves] are salty and wet, and that keeps the carbon from breaking down,” Jen Howard, senior director of the blue carbon program for the American non-profit Conservation International, told GreenBiz. Conservation International says mangroves, which have been in decline in recent years, can sequester up to 10 times as much carbon compared to terrestrial forests…

Toronto, Ontario, Star, May 13, 2021: Mature trees are ‘carbon-capture heroes.’ This community program helps them live even longer

A lot of big old trees could use some fixing, and there’s a group of honest-to-goodness tree huggers trying to come to their rescue. My recent columns about mature trees that stand out for their size and place in neighbourhoods prompted lots of email about local trees that readers love or are trying to save from development or other predations. One that jumped out came from Toni Ellis, manager of an Elora-based group called Tree Trust, which raises money to pay arborists to work on old trees that wouldn’t otherwise get the care needed to extend their lifespan. Toronto and other municipalities put substantial resources into maintaining trees on city property, even pruning and removing limbs. That leaves trees on private property to fend for themselves, unless the owner maintains them. Ellis, an environmentalist and former co-manger of the old borough of East York’s recycling program, founded Tree Trust in Elora in 2019, as a way to preserve mature trees that she describes as “ecological workhorses.” A mature tree captures and stores tonnes of carbon, releases oxygen into the atmosphere and provides shade for people and habitat for birds and animals, making them far more valuable than it might seem, she said. “What we’re doing is stalling the inevitable,” she said. “Trees are living things. They only last so long. But you can give them a lot more time to do their job by taking care of them…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, May 13, 2021: Texas veteran defends right to fly flag from tree after HOA cites him for violation

A Texas-based Navy veteran has flown his American flag in the same spot for the past 17 years, but he’s now being told to change it. Gary Pirics said the flag has always been displayed on a tree in the front yard of his Avery Ranch neighborhood home in Austin, per Fox News’ Audrey Conklin. It’s been up for so long, the bark of the tree has started growing around the bracket, per CBS Austin’s Walt Maciborski. But in December, Pirics received a letter from the homeowner’s association saying the placement violates U.S. Flag Code and Texas Flag Regulations.””The flag’s important to me for several reasons. One is both my father and my wife’s father were World War II veterans,” said Pirics, as reported by Conklin. “I served in the United States Navy as an officer in Charleston, South Carolina, during the Vietnam War. So that flag does several things.” Kirsten Voinis, a neighbor of Pirics’, also received a violation letter over her flag, which she’s flown in her yard since 2003, according to Maciborski. These violations inspired Jim Dufner, another neighbor, to fly an American flag in solidarity. Dufner has since been served with two violations, per Maciborski. According to the HOA, the residents were never asked to remove the flag — just to fly it in accordance with local and national codes…

Vancouver, British Columbia, The Guardian, May 13, 2021: Chainsaw massacre: tree poaching hits Canada amid lumber shortage

Two tree stumps signaled to Larry Pynn that something was wrong. Jutting from a mossy forest floor in western Canada, the fresh stumps were the final remnants of two western red cedars that had been chopped down by chainsaw. Nearby, a set of deep tire tracks ran for nearly a kilometer in the mud before terminating at the main road. “I immediately suspected that this is the work of poachers,” said Pynn, a journalist who lives nearby. “These are clearly valuable trees and they were likely cut because of that.” Since January, local officials on central Vancouver Island say at least 100 trees have been illegally chopped down. As lumber prices across the continent soar – prompting a flurry of memes and conspiracy theories – ecosystems full of valuable old growth trees have increasingly become a target for poachers. The section of forest Pynn found the stumps in is part of a municipally owned 5,000 hectare swath of woods known locally as Six Mountains. The area, popular with hikers and mountain bikers, is also home to the endangered coastal Douglas fir ecosystem, which is on the verge of vanishing after centuries of logging and urban development…

Georgetown, South Carolina, Post & Courier, May 10, 2021: Georgetown tree ordinance update could protect more trees from development

In light of the heavy development happening around Georgetown, specifically in the Waccamaw Neck, county planning director Holly Richardson is proposing updates to its tree ordinance to ensure more of the region’s beloved forestry is preserved. One of the main changes to the ordinance is a site inspection requirement before any ground is broken. Richardson said previously, tree site inspections would sometimes occur in tandem with stormwater site inspections, but not because of any written requirement. Making it a requirement to have specific tree site inspections will ensure less foliage is cut down sooner, Richardson said. Other amendments include adding in a tree fund, which would fund landscaping, public parks and the replanting of trees in the county from fines developers pay for various violations, such as cutting down unapproved trees…

Popular Science, May 12, 2021: Trees need wind to reproduce. Climate change is messing that up.

Trees may seem sedentary, but movement is a big part of their lives. To reproduce, many trees rely on wind to move their pollen and seeds around, says Matthew Kling, a postdoctoral researcher in plant biogeography at the University of California, Berkeley. A study led by Kling, published on April 27 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examines how wind patterns affect the exchange of DNA between populations of trees. Their findings suggest that factors such as wind strength and direction can help mold the genetic makeup of forested landscapes. As the climate heats up, some plants won’t thrive as well in their current environments, and will need to be in historically cooler locations to stay within a comfortable temperature range, says Kling (for many plants, this is already happening). But plenty of questions remain around precisely how the plants will get there, he says, “and one of the biggest areas of uncertainty in plant movement is related to wind,” because wind dispersal can be tricky to measure at large scales. Kling and his coauthor David Ackerly, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley used 72 previously published scientific papers to gather genetic data on nearly 2,000 populations of trees belonging to nearly 100 different tree species around the globe. The researchers took this genetic data and compared it to a “windscape” model they developed, which pulls from three decades of hourly wind data. The wind model provides a prediction for the way we would expect dispersal of seeds and pollen to take place across large geographic scales and long time periods, says Kling. “And the genetic data provides a measured estimate, totally independent of the wind data, of the way that the seeds and pollen have dispersed across large landscapes in the past.” The authors then compared the predictions made by the wind model to the observed genetic patterns, allowing them to test whether the wind was actually driving them…

Phys.org, May 12, 2021: Earliest forest fires evidence of ancient tree expansion

The Earth’s first forest fires appear to have occurred earlier than previously thought, pointing out a link between widespread wildfires and ancient tree evolution, according to researchers at The University of Alabama. Although small wildfires of primordial vascular plants without leaves, branches or a developed root system, and sparked by lightning or lava occurred as early as 420 million years ago, these are not believed to be widespread because the plants needed water or a wet climate to survive. However, using fossil charcoals and geochemical signals from ancient rock layers, UA researchers found the early forest fires started to spread about 383 million years ago. This is also evidence that more mature plants of trees and shrubs spread through forestation into relatively arid and inland environments. The study was an invited submission and published recently in a special issue of the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. It demonstrates the methods used to find evidence of these ancient forest fires are useful to discover more about paleoecological and paleoclimate indicators…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, May 10, 2021: Mass Audubon promised to preserve wildlife. Then it made millions claiming it could cut down trees

The Massachusetts Audubon Society has long managed its land in western Massachusetts as crucial wildlife habitat. Nature lovers flock to these forests to enjoy bird-watching and quiet hikes, with the occasional bobcat or moose sighting. But in 2015, the conservation nonprofit presented California’s top climate regulator with a startling scenario: It could heavily log 9,700 acres of its preserved forests over the next few years. The group raised the possibility of chopping down hundreds of thousands of trees as part of its application to take part in California’s forest offset program. The state’s Air Resources Board established the system to harness the ability of trees to absorb and store carbon to help the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals. The program allows forest owners like Mass Audubon to earn so-called carbon credits for preserving trees. Each credit represents a ton of CO2. California polluters, such as oil companies, buy these credits so that they can emit more CO2 than they’d otherwise be allowed to under state law. Theoretically, the exchange should balance out emissions to prevent an overall increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. The Air Resources Board accepted Mass Audubon’s project into its program, requiring the nonprofit to preserve its forests over the next century instead of heavily logging them. The nonprofit received more than 600,000 credits in exchange for its promise. The vast majority were sold through intermediaries to oil and gas companies, records show. The group earned about $6 million from the sales, Mass Audubon regional scientist Tom Lautzenheiser said…

Seattle, Washington, KIRO-TV, May 10, 2021: Olympia homeowner loses fight to save ‘boundary tree’ from chainsaws

An Olympia homeowner who challenged the city of Olympia and a builder lost his struggle to save a 150-foot Red Cedar tree, which stood on the boundary between his property and a construction site, where a housing development is being built. On Monday morning, the tree was cut down on the development side while the homeowner and several neighbors leaned against the other side in protest. Nearby, five Olympia police officers looked on, warning the protesters not to cross the property line. “They cut the tree over the top of our heads,” said Andrew Hannah, the homeowner who owns the property. He admitted only a small fraction of the tree was on his side. “The majority of it is on his property, and only a portion of it is on my property,” said Hannah, while pointing out state law, which states if two property owners share a part of a tree, then they own the tree equally. This time, the city of Olympia settled the dispute. Below the tree, the city of Olympia posted a sign, stating the city’s urban forester, engineer, and certified arborist determined the tree could not be preserved in a healthy condition because the construction project would damage the tree’s critical root structure. A city spokesperson told KIRO 7 the building permit allowed the developer to legally take the tree down…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, May 10, 2021: Tree experts stumped by case of ‘elephant trunk’

While out in the woods at Murphys Point Provincial Park near Perth, Ont., in late April, chief park naturalist Mark Read stumbled across a tree unlike any he’d seen in his seven years on the job. “I thought it looked very much like a palm tree,” Read said. Though a common local species, the trunk of the American beech Read was looking at had an uncommon wrinkled appearance. “I did pass the photos around and I had comments back that said, ‘That looks like an elephant’s trunk,'” he said. “[The discovery was] totally new for me. Quite amazing.” The consensus among both Facebook sleuths and more seasoned tree experts seems to be that “rippled beeches,” while documented and possibly more common in the United Kingdom, aren’t well understood. While Read isn’t sure what’s creating the effect, he believes it likely occurred during the tree’s earlier development. Paul Sokoloff, a botanist at Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Nature and a member of the board of directors of the Field Botanists of Ontario, confirmed it’s a rare find, and a first for him, too. “My first impression was, oh, the bark is slipping off, which is of course not what’s happening,” Sokoloff said…

Houston Texas, Chronicle, May 10, 2021: Houston-area oak trees are still recovering from the winter storm

More than two months following the record cold temperatures of Winter Storm Uri, Texans are noticing that some oak trees are still struggling to recover. This has left many of our state’s experts wondering why. Even Neil Sperry, a Texas gardening and horticulture expert known across the country, has been stunned by the variability, and the scope, of damage left behind by the freeze. Followers of his Facebook page have submitted over 2,000 photos of struggling oak trees, including all varieties of species and from every single region of the state. “I have been in this business professionally since 1970, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Sperry. “We think of oaks as permanent as concrete and steel, and for them to selectively be affected by this freeze is particularly odd.” After spending weeks responding to residents and landowners who are concerned about the health and condition of their trees, Sperry decided to pull together a blue-ribbon panel of certified arborists, foresters, extension specialists, nursery leaders, horticulturists and garden communicators to send out a unified message. Their advice to those wondering what they should do, and whether they should cut down their valuable trees, is simple: just wait…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, May 9, 2021: Oregon’s post-fire logging is taking trees that may never be hazards, experts say

Tree No. 252256 is a 95-foot Douglas Fir that stands south of Oregon 22 east of Mehama, one of dozens of trees in this patch of the Santiam Canyon that has been tagged to be cut as part of the state’s troubled hazard tree removal program. The massive undertaking is slowly creeping westward, leaving swaths of denuded highway and private properties in its wake. This particular tree, one of nearly 143,000 that officials estimate needs to be removed statewide, was inspected March 21, and its removal was approved by a certified arborist from Pennsylvania who is now working in Oregon. Details about the tree come from a mapping database that CDR Maguire, the contractor monitoring the program under a $75 million contract, is maintaining to document the work for reimbursement by the federal government. The data includes pictures of every tree, some basic measurements, and the names of the inspectors and arborists who evaluated it. But there’s not much information on the call to cut No. 252256. “Condition: Poor; Recommendation: Remove” Yet the owner of the land and two independent tree experts who toured the forest patch Monday raised concerns about this tree and others tagged in this tiny portion of the immense project. “Light to moderate” bark char extends only 15 feet up the trunk of the tree, they said, and the crown – the top branches – look healthy. “There is just very light cosmetic damage to the tree,” Rick Till, a certified arborist and qualified tree risk assessor from Portland, said after shaving off a bit of blackened bark with his hatchet. “If it did fall, it would fall into the woods. It is a very low-risk tree, yet it’s marked for removal, and someone’s going to get paid a few thousand bucks for cutting down this tree, which should take about 10 minutes work…”

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune, May 8, 2021: What if trees covered half of New Orleans? City teams with nonprofit to try

Walking along Nunez Street, Old Algiers native Alex Selico Dunn Sr., 65, waves his hand toward nearby rooftops. “When I was young, that would all be trees,” he said, recalling how leafy giants once towered above and between houses. There are still trees in Old Algiers. But as in much of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina’s vicious winds and prolonged flooding laid much of its canopy to rest. About 100,000 trees were lost citywide, earning New Orleans a spot among the nation’s most deforested cities. Under then-Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City Hall in 2010 set an ambitious goal in its master plan to increase the tree canopy to cover 50% of the city by 2030. Now, 11 years later, city officials have taken the next step, signing an agreement last week with a local environmental nonprofit to develop a $140,000 reforestation plan. Founded by Susannah Burley, Sustaining Our Urban Landscape, or SOUL has led volunteer plantings in several neighborhoods since 2016, including one that added almost 900 trees in Old Algiers. Next, it will plot the city’s plans toward reestablishing the canopy…

Southern Living, May 10, 2021: We Love the Yellow Flowering Magnolias for Small Yards

While white- and pink-blooming magnolias blanket the South, there’s something wonderfully unexpected about yellow magnolia blossoms, and every year, we’re seeing more of them planted in lawns and gardens. Best of all, some of them grow compactly, making them ideal for small yards and tight spaces. Many different sorts of magnolias produce yellow blossoms, but two of our favorites are ‘Daphne’ and ‘Golden Gift.’ ‘Daphne’ magnolia is one of the most vividly yellow bloomers. It produces big, long-lasting flowers in deep yellow hues. The blooms are held above the foliage. The tree itself has a narrow, upright form, which is great for tight spaces, and it grows from 10 to 20 feet tall. It can thrive in many climates, from the coastal south through the lower, mid-, and upper south regions. Another magnolia that produces beautiful deep yellow blooms is ‘Golden Gift.’ This is a smaller magnolia that grows from 8 to 15 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide. The deep yellow blooms are 2 to 5 inches wide and appear throughout the spring. It can also thrive in a variety of areas and has been grown successfully from the coastal south all the way through to the upper south. There are several other members of the magnolia genus that grow compactly and produce yellow blooms. Some of our favorites are… Magnolia figo, also known as banana shrub, is an evergreen shrub planting that grows slowly. It will typically reach 6 to 8 feet tall, sometimes 15 feet tall in the right conditions. It has glossy leaves and blooms heavily in spring. This magnolia produces blossoms that are small and creamy yellow, as well as a strong fruity fragrance…

Reuters, May 8, 2021: Mexican president pushes trees-for-visas plan in call with Harris

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pitched a tree-planting jobs program in Central America that he said should lead to U.S. work visas, in talks with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday about root causes of migration. At the start of the call, Harris said the United States and Mexico must fight violence and corruption together, to help diminish migration from Central America. “Most people don’t want to leave home and when they do it is often because they are fleeing some harm or they are forced to leave because there are no opportunities,” said Harris. Lopez Obrador, 67, said he had a specific proposal he wanted to discuss with Harris. He did not give details, but told reporters minutes earlier that the tree planting idea was at the top of his mind. “We agree with the migration policies you are developing and we are going to help, you can count on us,” he said. The Mexican leader told reporters at a news conference Friday morning that legal routes were the best solution to migration. “If there’s a regular, normal and orderly migratory flow, we can avoid the risks migrants take who are forced to cross our country,” he said. The trees-for-visas proposal was met with some surprise when Lopez Obrador previously raised it at a Washington climate summit in April…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, May 6, 2021: Tree poaching on Vancouver Island prompts spike in forest patrols

The municipality of North Cowichan, B.C., is stepping up patrols of the region’s forest reserve, after an increase in timber theft in the area, which lies 70 kilometres north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Since January, approximately 100 trees, including Douglas fir and Western red cedars have been poached and local residents and officials believe the spike is likely tied to the surge in lumber prices. North Cowichan resident Larry Pynn stumbled upon a large cedar tree stump along slabs of crudely cut wood while he was out for a walk two weeks ago in a forested area known as Stoney Hill. “I immediately thought that this had to be the work of a poacher,” he said in an interview with CBC News. “Something like this is not being taken for firewood. It’s a valuable tree.” Pynn estimated the tree was 87 years old because he counted the rings on the remaining stump. Not far from it, the mossy ground had been torn up by what appeared to be ATV tracks…

Washington, D.C., Post, May 6, 2021: Pipeline tree stand protesters get jail time, fines

Two Mountain Valley Pipeline protesters have been sentenced to months in jail and ordered to repay the cost of removing them from tree stands they were chained to along the pipeline’s path. The Roanoke Times reports that Montgomery County General District Court Judge Randal Duncan convicted Alexander Lowe, 24, of Worcester, Massachusetts, and Claire Fiocco, 23, of Dorset, Vermont, on Wednesday of obstructing justice and interfering with Mountain Valley’s property rights. Fiocco, who occupied a tree from early January until March 23, was sentenced to 158 days. Lowe was sentenced to 254 days after occupying a tree from November until state police removed him on March 24. Later in the day, the pair appeared before Circuit Court Judge Robert Turk, who ordered them down from the trees. Turk fined Lowe $17,500 and Fiocco $10,000 for defying his order. He also ordered them to pay more than $140,000 to Mountain Valley to cover the cost of extracting them. A crane hoisted two state police officers to where the protesters were chained on wooden platforms about 50 feet above the ground. “I appreciate the passion you had in your protests,” Turk told them before they were taken away. “You just did it the wrong way…”

New York Magazine, May 6, 2021: Suzanne Simard Changed How the World Sees Trees

Suzanne Simard has given her life to the study of trees. She sweated for them. Bled for them. Damn near died for them — once at the claws of a grizzly, and once from the invisible clutch of cancer. (Working with toxic herbicides and radioactive isotopes in the course of her research likely contributed to her breast cancer, which resulted in a double mastectomy.) But Simard’s sacrifices as a forest ecologist have paid off. Her work with herbicides uncovered the fact that denuding tree farms doesn’t help them grow faster — a finding that overturned the forestry industry’s prevailing logic for half a century. Later, upending basic Darwinian logic, she showed conclusively that different trees — and even different tree species — are involved in a constant exchange of resources and information via underground fungal networks, known technically as mycorrhizae and popularly as the Wood Wide Web. Her long fight against the twin patriarchies of the logging industry and the scientific Establishment has yielded startling discoveries about tree sociality — and even, some believe, about tree sentience. Now Simard, a professor at the University of British Columbia, has published a memoir, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest — which is being adapted into a film, with Amy Adams set to star. We spoke recently about what studying trees has taught her about how to live in our increasingly tenuous world, and how forests can help fix our compounding problems…

Discover, May 6, 2021: 10 Golden Rules For Reforestation Show How To Plant Trees The Right Way

Large-scale tree planting is often presented as a simple solution to conserving the environment and preventing climate change through carbon capture. But reforestation is more complicated than it looks. “It’s very easy to say, you’re going to plant a tree,” says Erin Axelrod, the program director for Jonas Philanthropies’ Trees for Climate Health initiative. “It’s very, very complex, to actually follow that pledge through to the outcome of having a tree that is not only effective at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but also effective from the standpoint of doing all the other great things that trees can do.” In recent years, massive reforestation efforts have included shockingly high numbers of tree-planting goals linked to them as a low-cost, high-impact solution to climate change. In 2019, Ethiopia claimed to have planted 350 million saplings in under 12 hours, breaking the world record for trees planted in a day. China is on course to plant 87 million acres of trees by 2050 to make a “Great Green Wall” the size of Germany. And just last year, the World Economic Forum began its 1t.org project, aiming to conserve, restore or grow one trillion trees by 2030…

Santa Rosa, California, Press-Democrat, May 5, 2021: Giant sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park still smoldering from 2020 Castle fire

A giant sequoia has been found smoldering and smoking in a part of Sequoia National Park that burned in one of California’s huge wildfires last year, the National Park Service said Wednesday. “The fact areas are still smoldering and smoking from the 2020 Castle fire demonstrates how dry the park is,” said Leif Mathiesen, assistant fire management officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in Central California. “With the low amount of snowfall and rain this year, there may be additional discoveries as spring transitions into summer.” The smoldering tree was found recently by scientists and fire crews surveying the effects of the blaze, which was ignited by lightning last August and spread over more than 270 square miles (699 square kilometers) of the Sierra Nevada. It took five months to fully contain. Most of California is deep in drought, with severe to extreme conditions in the mountain range that provides about a third of the state’s water. On April 1, when the Sierra Nevada snowpack is normally at its peak, its water content was just 59% of average, according to the state Department of Water Resources. The dryness could set the stage for a repeat of last year, when wildfires, many of them ignited by thousands of dry lightning strikes, burned a record 6,562 square miles (16,996 square kilometers) in the nation’s most populated state…

Ashland, Oregon, Daily Tidings, May 5, 2021: Hazard tree logging should stop temporarily

There is plenty to debate about salvage logging of burned trees after wildfires. The timber industry says it’s important to cut down and remove still-usable trees before they rot and become worthless for lumber, and then replant to replenish the forest for future generations. Environmentalists say cutting down burned trees does more harm than good, damaging fragile soils and making logged areas more vulnerable to future fires, not less. But some burned trees must be removed because they pose a hazard to human life and property. But there are rules about how many can be cut and where, and those rules should be followed. It appears unscrupulous contractors may be ignoring those rules, and that should stop. So-called hazard trees, if left standing after a fire, can fall across roads and highways, potentially causing injury or death to motorists, and those standing near homes can pose a danger as well. The Oregon Department of Transportation has contracted with companies to remove hazard trees left standing after last year’s wildfires. But in testimony before the Senate Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery Committee in Salem last Wednesday, whistleblowers, landowners and others told lawmakers the program lacks oversight and is plagued by unqualified staff, disputes over what trees should be cut and even outright fraud. If confirmed, the allegations could jeopardize funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is reimbursing the state for the work…

New York City, WNBC-TV, May 5, 2021: NY’s Attempt to Cut Down Thousands of Trees for Snowmobile Path Blocked By Court

New York cannot cut down thousands of trees for a 27-mile snowmobile trail in the Adirondack Park without voters approving an amendment to the state constitution, the state’s top court ruled Tuesday. The 4-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals is a victory for environmentalists who sued over the partially built snowmobile trail, a wide “Class II” connector trail that was to be part of a larger network. Opponents claimed the Class II trail violates the “Forever Wild” clause of the state constitution, which protects state-owned forest preserve land. Lawyers for the state Department of Environmental Conservation argued that the number of trees affected per-mile would be relatively small and that any impact would be justified by increased recreational opportunities in the popular winter tourist destination, according to the decision. But the court wrote that the Class II trail, which requires rock removal, grading and cutting down 25,000 trees, is “constitutionally forbidden” without a voter-approved amendment…

Phys.org, May 5, 2021: Trees may work together to form resource-sharing networks with root grafts

A length of steel pipe and a heart monitor are the unlikely tools underpinning new research which suggests that trees may work together to form resource-sharing networks, helping the group collectively overcome environmental challenges. The findings, laid out in a paper published today in Communications Biology, offer fresh insight into how forests around the world might adapt to the increasing environmental stresses of climate change. Researchers from universities in the UK, Germany, France and Mexico partnered on the project, which investigated how mangrove trees form networks of root grafts in a Mexican coastal lagoon. Root grafts are physical connections between tree roots which can allow them to exchange water, carbon and mineral nutrients. Trees with less access to sunlight have been shown in previous studies to survive by sharing resources supplied from root grafts with better positioned neighboring trees. Very little research has been conducted into resource-sharing in more extensive networks, however, because mapping root grafts between trees requires costly, time-consuming and difficult excavation work…

Des Moines, Iowa, Register, May 4, 2021: Indianola replacing city’s canopy after thousands of trees fell over the last decade

Indianola’s tree lines have been devastated over the last decade after the city lost hundreds due to disease, construction and powerful storms. Despite the losses, Indianola Parks and Recreation Director Doug Bylund says the city remains dedicated to replanting what’s been lost with a diverse collection of new saplings. The city’s West Highway 92 tree planting project, which will get underway in early May, will plant 21 young trees in southwest Indianola, replacing ones that were downed in 2012 and 2013 when the roadway was expanded. Bylund said the highway project will end up costing more than $8,000, but the funds come in the form of a reimbursement from the Iowa Department of Transportation at no cost to the city. He said the planting will likely be completed by the end of May, but low tree nursery stock is happening right now because of the 2020 derecho storm. Plans for Treeline, a 25-home development by Savannah Homes on the city’s northeast side, include 100 maple trees alongside the single-family homes, according to the project developer’s website…

Bobvila.com, May 4, 2021: How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Tree?

Trees are a wonderful part of nature, but roots or an overgrown tree can become problematic over time. Roots can break through sidewalks and driveways or damage underground pipes. Overgrown branches could damage a house. On rare, unfortunate occasions, trees may need to be removed after falling during a storm.When a homeowner considers removing a tree from the yard, a common question is: How much does it cost to remove a tree? On average, it costs $750 to remove a tree, but this can range from $200 to $2,000, depending on the size and condition of the tree. Factors that affect the cost to remove a tree include accessibility, tree height, trunk diameter, condition of the tree, stump removal, cleanup, and any extra equipment required. A tree service company can quickly identify any tricky situations that would make tree removal challenging or hazardous. In some cases, the tree is located too close to a home or fence, which means extra care is needed. Trees with smaller diameters or shorter trunks are often less costly to remove than large, old trees. According to HomeAdvisor, a tree’s location and accessibility can affect the cost of tree removal by 25 to 50 percent. Large branches growing over the house should be lowered by rope when they’re cut, rather than dropped, to prevent damaging the home. If a large tree is growing in a small space between a fence and structure, it will likely cost more to remove…

Boston, Massachusetts, WBUR Radio, May 4, 2021: Trees Talk To Each Other. ‘Mother Tree’ Ecologist Hears Lessons For People, Too

Trees are “social creatures” that communicate with each other in cooperative ways that hold lessons for humans, too, ecologist Suzanne Simard says. Simard grew up in Canadian forests as a descendant of loggers before becoming a forestry ecologist. She’s now a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia. Trees are linked to neighboring trees by an underground network of fungi that resembles the neural networks in the brain, she explains. In one study, Simard watched as a Douglas fir that had been injured by insects appeared to send chemical warning signals to a ponderosa pine growing nearby. The pine tree then produced defense enzymes to protect against the insect. “This was a breakthrough,” Simard says. The trees were sharing “information that actually is important to the health of the whole forest.” In addition to warning each other of danger, Simard says that trees have been known to share nutrients at critical times to keep each other healthy. She says the trees in a forest are often linked to each other via an older tree she calls a “mother” or “hub” tree. “In connecting with all the trees of different ages, [the mother trees] can actually facilitate the growth of these understory seedlings,” she says. “The seedlings will link into the network of the old trees and benefit from that huge uptake resource capacity. And the old trees would also pass a little bit of carbon and nutrients and water to the little seedlings, at crucial times in their lives, that actually help them survive…”

San Francisco, California, KGO-TV, May 4, 2021: Critical fire conditions: 1,000 acres of dead trees in Bay Area parks pose yet another threat

There is now a red flag warning in effect in Solano County, fire season is nearly upon us, and firefighters are saying ‘”beware.” They’re also highlighting a growing problem – dead trees. Monday we flew our SKY7 chopper above the East Bay Hills. While what we saw may not look concerning to you, look closer and you’ll see dead trees in some areas, something that is alarming to firefighters in the East Bay Regional Park District, which covers 123,000 acres in the Bay Area. “When you have trees that are dead and standing like that, if they do catch fire, the danger is that they’re going to throw embers aloft up in the wind,” says East Bay Regional Park District Fire Chief Aileen Theile. Chief Theile says there are 1,000 acres of dead trees scattered amongst the brush in their park land, located in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The park service has been working to remove them, but will up their efforts next week in Redwood Regional Park. Some of the dead trees are in Tilden Regional Park. Some people we talked with don’t notice any major differences. “It’s a little bit drier than it normally would be but in general, nothing too different than a usual year,” says Andrew Coulter of San Francisco. Others do notice changes that have come earlier in the season…

South Bend, Indiana, WTHR-TV, May 3, 2021: South Bend’s new invasive plant ban includes Bradford pear

South Bend is saying “sayonara” to a very pretty but invasive tree known for its distinctive smell. Dozens of invasive plant species, including a commonly planted flowering tree, will be banned from being sold or planted in South Bend starting this fall under a new ordinance. The South Bend Common Council unanimously approved the ordinance last week. The ban takes effect Sept. 1, but it does not apply to anything that’s already planted, and many of the plants it covers aren’t sold in garden stores. But the list does cover the callery pear tree, which includes a cultivar known as Bradford pear. That tree is often planted for its bright white spring flowers, but it is very invasive. The Bradford pear can currently be seen in bloom, with its small, white blossoms and distinctive smell. And South Bend isn’t the only Indiana city that doesn’t want to see (or smell) the tree anymore. City leaders in Fort Wayne shared a word of warning for homeowners heading into the spring planting season: Don’t plant the stinky tree. However, it’s not just the smell that has the city asking homeowners to turn their backs to the tree. The trees aren’t native and are considered to be invasive, fighting with native plants and trees for space and resources…

Phys.org, May 3, 2021: 17-year cicadas and tree damage: Expert on what to expect from Brood X bugs

Noisy Brood X periodical cicadas will soon emerge in parts of southeastern Michigan and in a handful of other states in the eastern half of the country, after developing underground for 17 years. Cicadas do not bite and are harmless to humans. However, they can damage small trees and shrubs if too many of them feed from a plant or lay eggs in its twigs. The city of Ann Arbor says covering vulnerable or smaller trees with mesh or netting is the best defense against cicadas and that insecticides should not be used. Overall, cicadas may be good for forests, which may experience a growth spurt the year after an emergence, said University of Michigan entomologist Thomas Moore, a professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and at the Museum of Zoology. Cicada emergence holes allow sunlight, air, water and nutrients to penetrate more rapidly and to greater depths into the soil than typically, according to Moore. In fact, the very presence of cicadas is a sign of a robust forest, he added…

Newport News, Virginia, Daily Press, May 3, 2021: Gypsy moths can quickly defoliate trees. Virginia has been spraying to control them around Chesapeake

Quarantine has become synonymous with global pandemic. But for the gypsy moth — an invasive species released accidentally in the United States more than 150 years ago — it’s just another Sunday. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services works each year to control the spread of the gypsy moth, which can now be found across much of the eastern United States, including in Hampton Roads. One control method might sound familiar: prevent their spread from an infested area to a non-infested one. In recent weeks, farmers in southern Chesapeake have reported seeing traps set by the state that lure male gypsy moths in so their population numbers and locations can be tracked. Then, the state comes up with a plan on where to spray. About 10 days ago, the state used low-flying planes in the area of Ballahack Road and Lake Drummond Causeway. The planes dumped a bacteria known as Bacillus thuringiensis as they buzzed over the tree canopy where the moths, mostly in caterpillar form, feed on leaves. A second bacteria dump was done on Tuesday…

PennLive.com, May 4, 2021: There are more destructive, invasive pests lurking in Pa. than the spotted lanternfly. Here are a few

In its Hungry Pests campaign against the “Top Invasive Pest Threats,” the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA has created an interactive website to provide details on each of the destructive insects and plant diseases that “cost the U.S. an estimated $40 billion each year in damages to trees, plants, crops and related management efforts.” The website allows visitors to draw out a directory of the threat species by state, and for Pennsylvania it includes the following species we should be alert for their presence. Asian gypsy moths are several species native to Asia but detected recently in Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington. They are similar to the European gypsy moth already found throughout the northeastern U.S. but have a much broader host range. Each female moth can lay hundreds of eggs that, in turn, yield hundreds of voracious caterpillars that may feed on more than 500 tree and shrub species. Their ability to fly long distances makes it probable that the moths could quickly spread throughout the U.S. A wide variety of North American tree and shrub species could be at risk, including alder, larch, sweetgum, apple, popular, oak, willow, linden and elm…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, May 2, 2021: In the past 10 years, millions more ash trees have died, and the invasive buckthorn now makes up 36% of the Chicago region’s trees, census shows

When Shirley Rounds Davis moved to her home on the Far South Side decades ago, she could see a maple tree through the window. Over the years, she watched it grow. “And the birds would come,” Davis said. “In the morning, they would wake me up, and my children too, they’d wake us up with their song in the morning.” The tree reminded her of the mulberry tree she passed by on the way to Bible class growing up, with berries sweet enough to eat — until the day it was cut down. “I grew up loving trees,” Davis said. Recently, she watched the last ash tree go. Now, she’s hoping the invasive tree of heaven, which has taken hold across the street, doesn’t reach her home. Davis is one of many Chicagoans caring for the trees that make up the regional canopy coverage, which has increased by 2% since 2010, according to a new tree census from the Morton Arboretum. But that finding comes with some caveats. A jewel-toned beetle fond of ash trees is killing Chicago’s canopy. An invasive tree is eclipsing other species. Some neighborhoods continue to enjoy tree-lined sidewalks while others long for shade as temperatures climb and climate change threatens more warmth. Like the layers of a forest, the view from the top doesn’t tell what’s happening below. In Chicago — where the tree canopy has actually decreased 3% — people who care about trees are fighting to save them, plant them and care for them…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, May 2, 2021: ‘It’s absolutely insane’: Swaths of trees cut after Oregon fires amid allegations of mismanagement

As the hazardous tree-removal program overseen by the Oregon Department of Transportation goes into high gear after last fall’s devastating wildfires, many of Oregon’s most scenic and beloved areas are being transformed into post-apocalyptic stretches of roadside clearcuts, gargantuan log piles and slash. “A person really has to come and look at it to get a sense,” said Ron Carmickle, mayor of Gates, which was ravaged in the Labor Day fires that raged through the Santiam Canyon and is now seeing heavy post-fire cutting on both public and private property. “The scale of it … ” he said. “It’s absolutely insane. You have to see it.” State officials estimate there are 142,000 hazard trees along roadways, rivers and on private properties burned in the fires. The tree removal program, being carried out by several contractors monitored by the Florida-based disaster recovery firm CDR Maguire, has already removed some 29,000. But a growing number of arborists, landowners and environmental advocates are concerned that CDR Maguire is mismanaging the tree-removal program. They also say the state is failing to oversee the firm, which was hired under a $70 million contract to monitor the logging and debris removal and ensure the state is reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency…

York, Pennsylvania, Daily Record, May 2, 2021: A man was hospitalized after the porta-potty he was using at the historic Gettysburg battlefield was crushed by a tree

Barlow Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Joe Robinson has been a volunteer firefighter for 30 years, so there’s not much he hasn’t seen on the job – until Friday. At around 3:52 p.m., Robinson was called to Little Round Top in Gettysburg for a rescue with entrapment. “I thought maybe it was someone in a car or a UTV,” Robinson said. When he got to the scene, he walked by a vehicle that had a tree on it. He looked inside, but did not see anyone. “When I got there, park rangers were there, so I asked them if everyone was out,” the assistant chief said. “They said yeah, everyone was out of the vehicle, but not out of there.” “There” was a porta potty, where a man was trapped by the fallen tree. “It was an interesting call because there were a lot of other calls going on and, with the wind being so high, it was hard to communicate with dispatch, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting into until I got there,” Robinson said. At the time, crews all across the region were handling calls of downed trees and wires, as well as fires. The majority of those were related to the wind, Robinson said…

Maine.gov, May 2, 2021: Right Tree – Right Place

We all know the benefits of trees in our landscape – shade, beauty, wildlife habitat – to name just a few, but if you don’t choose the right species for your site, it won’t thrive or even survive. First of all, know your Hardiness Zone. The U.S.D.A. has determined 11 zones throughout the U.S. that provide an annual range of temperatures for those areas. These are very helpful in determining which trees will survive where you live. Most of Maine is in zones 3-5. Find your zone here. Second, know your property. It is best to observe your property for a full year before investing in and planting something as permanent as a tree. Where are the sunny spots? Is one corner very windy? Where does the sun hit in the winter versus in the summer? Many microclimates can exist in one small plot of land. A sun-drenched ell against your house can be many degrees warmer than a windy field. You also want to consider moisture availability. A sandy dry corner near the road isn’t the perfect spot for a water-hungry willow. Trees need a substantial amount of water, especially as they get established. Will you be able to water the tree often and deep enough? A couple of days of lugging heavy watering cans for multiple trips can soon sabotage your good intentions. Remember that trees also can provide cooling in the summer and solar warmth in the winter. A big, leafy maple can shield your house from the hot sun in the warmer months, yet can let the sun strike your house once the leaves have fallen when the temperatures drop. A row of evergreens can provide a windbreak from an open field – or a noise buffer from a busy highway…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, WCCO-TV, April 29, 2021: How Do Communities Decide Where To Plant Trees?

Friday is Arbor Day — a chance to celebrate and improve nature by planting trees. Many Minnesota cities will host events, and encourage residents to plant alongside forestry crews. But how do communities decide where to plant trees? WCCO spoke with arborist Greg Hoag. “Think back to the 70s. Every tree along the boulevard was an elm tree, They’re almost all gone now,” Hoag said. Then emerald ash borer was discovered in Minnesota in 2009. Now, many cities are simply trying to replace the ash trees they’re cutting down. “We work very hard at diversifying the stock of trees with the type,” Hoag said. He says his forestry crew will first plant trees in neighborhoods where trees are being removed. “We move all around the city, and don’t just focus on one area,” Hoag said. The money for tree planting in Brooklyn Park comes from grants. In other cities, it’s part of their budget. In Minneapolis, the-80 person forestry department falls under the park board, according to Philip Potyondy, the board’s sustainable forestry coordinator. “We’re working in all the neighborhoods all the time,” Potyondy said…

San Francisco, California, Courthouse News Service, April 29, 2021: Judge Won’t Order PG&E to Expand Power Blackouts

A federal judge will not make Pacific Gas and Electric alter its fire-prevention power-shutoff program in a way that would expand blackouts, citing opposition from California regulators, but he strongly recommended PG&E adopt those changes anyway. U.S. District Judge William Alsup had proposed making the company consider all trees capable of striking powerlines when it decides where to cut power during windstorms in areas of high fire danger. In response PG&E offered to consider the top 30% of trees most likely to strike its powerlines. Recent estimates predict adding that criteria would have increased the number of hours PG&E customers went without power by 29% in 2019 and by 21% in 2020. At a hearing last month, a PG&E lawyer told Alsup the company “believes this is the right approach” and supports altering its power-shutoff program in time for the 2021 wildfire season, which typically starts in June. But the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services strongly opposed the proposal. They said power shutoffs should be a last resort and that wildfire risk must be measured against risks associated with outages, such as disruptions to emergency communications and the loss of electricity to power medical devices…

Portland, Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting, April 29, 2021: Lawmakers investigate reports of irresponsible tree-cutting after wildfires

More and more workers are lining up to blow the whistle on a state project that they say is irresponsibly removing trees along roads and properties that burned in last year’s wildfires. Multiple people who have worked for Oregon Department of Transportation contractors have now come forward to flag problems with the state’s hazard tree removal project. Lawmakers heard many of their concerns at a hearing before the Senate Natural Resources and Wildfire Committee on Wednesday, and are now considering their options for trying to stop the work until it can be reviewed. On Thursday, committee chair Jeff Golden, D-Ashland, sent a letter to Gov. Kate Brown asking her to suspend the state’s tree removal operation and order an investigation of the allegations shared in Wednesday’s testimony. He flagged concerns that mismanagement of the state contracts could jeopardize Federal Emergency Management disaster funding that the state is counting on to help pay for wildfire cleanup work. “The testimony was alarming,” Golden wrote. “There are multiple allegations that core elements of the project’s stated purpose and specifications are being violated. … If any of these allegations are substantially true, the negative consequences for our state would be grave in a number of ways.” Golden told the governor his committee is not qualified to assess the allegations, but that no more trees should be felled under the existing contracts until an “on-the-ground inquiry” can “ascertain the facts…”

Roanoke, Virginia, Times, April 30, 2021: Editorial: Can we bring back the chestnut? Should we?

In 1904, the forester for the Bronx Zoo noticed something unusual. Some of the zoo’s trees were sick. They looked wilted and scorched, with ugly cankers growing out of them. Hermann Merkel called in a mycologist, a fungus expert. By the time William A. Murrill figured out the cause two years later, the disease had spread as far south as Virginia. And that is how the great chestnut blight began. Within just a few decades, most American chestnuts were gone, whole forests wiped out by something we couldn’t see (at least not without a microscope). Today, we don’t fully appreciate what happened with the chestnut. That’s because we’re living in the arborial equivalent of a post-apocalyptic horror, with no real memory of what came before. For us, the forests we see around us are normal, yet they’re not normal. They are what remained after their most dominant species was rendered functionally extinct. Today is Arbor Day, a day we set aside to think about trees (and maybe plant a few more). We are also still in a global pandemic. If we combine those two thoughts, Venn Diagram-style, we wind up thinking about tree pandemics. Perhaps the greatest of those was the chestnut blight that swept through Virginia in the early 1900s and completely changed the look — and the culture — of Appalachia…

Santa Rosa, California, Press Democrat, April 28, 2021: Community vows to replant after beloved tree cut down in Sonoma

A tree has fallen in Sonoma ‒ and the sound is reverberating throughout the community. In the early morning hours of April 25, Sonoma’s iconic little roadside tree, dubbed “Arnold the Tree” by locals who drive past it on Arnold Drive, was destroyed by an unknown vandal equipped with what locals believe was a hand saw. In recent years the tree has been embellished with seasonal-appropriate crafts and other baubles ‒ with Halloween, Christmas and Easter-themed decorations festively displayed for the enjoyment of passing drivers. No one seems to know who cut the tree or why Arnold was targeted, but local social media pages have been rife with the news since the first photos of Arnold’s destruction were posted on Sunday. Gary Gudmundson lives nearby, just off Arnold Drive, and he told the Index-Tribune that it is he who has been quietly decorating the tree since 2015. “I was retired and had some time on my hands and I thought the decorations might bring a smile to people’s faces as they drove by,” he said. The small, slightly bent pine tree rose to local fame when it was credited with helping lift Sonoma’s spirits after the October 2017 wildfires…

Phys.org, April 28, 2021: Low-income blocks in 92% of US urban communities have less tree cover and are hotter

A new analysis of thousands of U.S. communities finds that, on average, low-income urban blocks have less tree cover and are hotter than high-income blocks. Robert McDonald of The Nature Conservancy in Arlington, Virginia, and colleagues present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on April 28, 2021. Mounting research links urban tree cover with human health benefits, including reduced air pollution, better cardiovascular function, and improved mental health. Tree cover can also cool urban areas, mitigating the effects of heat waves. However, research from the U.S. and other countries suggests that urban tree cover is unequally distributed, with low-income and minority communities often having less tree cover. In the new study, McDonald and colleagues sought to quantify urban tree cover and temperature disparities in the U.S. at the resolution of individual blocks. They used digital images from the National Agriculture Imagery Program to examine tree cover in the 100 largest urban areas of the U.S, covering 5,723 cities, towns, and other Census-designated places that are collectively home to 167 million people. They also used Landsat imagery to analyze summertime temperatures in these communities…

Fairfield, Connecticut, Patch, April 28, 2021: Fairfield Cherry Trees Are Gone, But Debate Over Removal Rages On

The four cherry trees that once stood in the center of town have been gone for weeks, but the debate over their removal shows no sign of stopping. Attorneys met Tuesday with Judge Barry Stevens to discuss a legal complaint challenging the town’s decision to allow the Kwanzan cherry trees to be removed and requesting an injunction to save them. Now that the trees are down, plaintiffs James Hughes and Alyssa Israel intend to pursue sanctions, fines and monetary damages. The town has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. “I don’t think the motion to dismiss has legs to stand on,” Hughes, a Fairfield lawyer, said in a phone interview following Tuesday’s conference. A remote hearing for the complaint is scheduled for June 8, when arguments are expected to take place concerning the motion to dismiss. “I feel quite confident the matter will be dismissed,” Town Attorney James Baldwin said in an interview Tuesday…

Treehugger.com, April 27, 2021: This Program Recognizes Cities That Prioritize Their Trees

On a site named Treehugger, we can’t help but get excited about all things tree-related. One thing that we’re loving right now is Tree Cities of the World, an annual recognition program for cities “seeking excellence in urban forest practices and management.” The program, created in 2018, is a partnership between the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the Arbor Day Foundation. This program encourages cities to educate residents and motivate local governments to protect, care for, and expand their urban forests, as these provide so many benefits. Trees yield three to five times their cost in overall benefits to a city, in the form of stormwater management, erosion control, and reduced energy costs. A 2018 study by the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station found the country’s urban forest canopies, which are home to some 5.5 billion trees, “provide roughly $18 billion in annual benefits to society through the removal of pollution from the air ($5.4 billion), carbon sequestration ($4.8 billion), reduced emissions ($2.7 billion) and improved energy efficiency in buildings ($5.4 billion)…”

Honolulu, Hawaii, KHNL-TV, April 28, 2021: After 261 complaints from 1 person, city orders trees cut in Pacific
Palisades

Some Pacific Palisades residents say the city is forcing them to cut down trees on city sidewalks fronting their homes. They say it’s ironic given that the city has set a goal of planting 100,000 new trees by the year 2025. The city recently sent out notices to dozens of residents in the community, saying the trees on the sidewalks were unauthorized. The city said they must cut down the trees — paying hundreds of dollars of their own money — or they can seek a variance, which can also be costly and time consuming. “People are really upset,” said Pearl City Neighborhood Board member Charmaine Doran. “A lot of residents have been forced to pay to have the trees removed and many of these trees have been here for decades.” Doran said her next door neighbor recently cut down four palm trees at a cost of about $500. She said that was unfair because the trees were planted more than two decades ago by previous owners. Doran also believes the city is singling out her community, saying it issued similar notices of violations to at least 40 other Palisades residents. But the city denied the allegation. “To be clear, we are not targeting the Pearl City or Palisades communities. We are responding to a citizen’s complaints, which is part of our duties,” the Department of Planning and Permitting said in an email. But the complaints, according to the DPP, came from a single person who filed a total of 261 complaints during a two-day period back in October. The complaints alleged unauthorized trees or planting on sidewalks — not just in Palisades but throughout Pearl City, Halawa, Aiea, and Waipahu, the department said…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, April 27, 2021: Ameren urges right tree in right place

Now that Spring has arrived, many homeowners are heading outdoors with landscape beautification plans in mind. Ameren Illinois is offering customers important safety advice when it comes to tree planting and safe digging. Before the first shovel is turned into the ground, homeowners or contractors should call JULIE at 8-1-1 to have underground utilities properly marked. Digging without first calling JULIE can disrupt utility service to an entire neighborhood, lead to injuries and result in hefty repair costs and possible fines. There is no charge for JULIE utility locating services and the call must be made at least two business days before digging. George Justice, Vice President of Electric Operations for Ameren Illinois, encourages the planting of shrubs and trees, which can help reduce a homeowner’s energy costs by keeping homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. However, he suggests consulting with a nursery or an arborist to help select “the right tree to plant in the right place” to avoid potential problems in the future. “Many folks plant trees and shrubs without understanding the future problems that can arise when planting near power lines,” Justice said. “When tall trees are too close to electrical power lines, strong winds, wet snow and ice storms can cause tree limbs and even entire trees to fall into those power lines. Downed wires can cause extensive power outages and pose a safety risk to members of the public…”

Pennlive.com, April 27, 2021: Arbor Day should be about growing trees, not just planting them

For 149 years, Americans have marked Arbor Day on the last Friday in April by planting trees. Now business leaders, politicians, YouTubers and celebrities are calling for the planting of millions, billions or even trillions of trees to slow climate change. As ecologists who study forest restoration, we know that trees store carbon, provide habitat for animals and plants, prevent erosion and create shade in cities. But as we have explained elsewhere in detail, planting trees is not a silver bullet for solving complex environmental and social problems. And for trees to produce benefits, they need to be planted correctly – which often is not the case. It is impossible for humanity to plant its way out of climate change, as some advocates have suggested, although trees are one part of the solution. Scientific assessments show that avoiding the worst consequences of climate change will require governments, businesses and individuals around the globe to make rapid and drastic efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, planting trees in the wrong place can have unintended consequences. For example, planting trees into native grasslands, such as North American prairies or African savannas, can damage these valuable ecosystems…

The Atlantic, April 27, 2021: Why Dead Trees Are ‘the Hottest Commodity on the Planet’

Bitcoin? Blasé. Gold? Going out of style. “The hottest commodity on the planet,” according to Dustin Jalbert, an economist at the market-research firm Fastmarkets, is lumber. In North America, lumber is typically traded in units of 1,000 board feet; builders need about 15,000 board feet, on average, to construct a single-family home. From 2015 to 2019, lumber traded at $381 for 1,000 board feet, according to Fastmarkets. This month, it reached an all-time high of $1,104 for the same amount. The lumber shortage has added at least $24,000 to the cost of a new home, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. On its face, the surge in lumber’s price has a simple explanation: Demand for wood is really high right now. Over the past year, Americans have bought new homes, started renovations, and embarked on DIY projects at stratospheric rates. But the lumber story is not simply about record-breaking demand. The spike has hit just as lumber supply is dwindling and undergoing a major transition, analysts and scientists told me. Since 2018, a one-two punch of environmental harms worsened by climate change has devastated the lumber industry in Canada, the largest lumber exporter to the United States. A catastrophic and multi-decade outbreak of bark-eating beetles, followed by a series of historic wildfire seasons, have led to lasting economic damage in British Columbia, a crucial lumber-providing province. Americans have, in effect, made a mad dash for lumber at the exact moment Canada is least able to supply it…

Phoenix, Arizona, Republic, April 26, 2021: No, Phoenix isn’t planting trees at $833 per tree. Here’s what we’re doing

As someone who has spent years volunteering my time with others to help increase the tree and shade canopy in Phoenix, I feel it’s important for residents to have facts. In its trial budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Phoenix is proposing an increase of 1,800 new trees as part of its “Cool Corridors” program, in addition to the 4,500 trees already slated to be planted by various Phoenix departments. The trial budget has some people making the erroneous claim that the budget allocates $833 to plant each tree, when it supposedly cost $250-$300 per tree in prior years. In addition to being inaccurate, that number does not tell the whole story. The forest is being lost through the trees, you might say. The city is admirably proposing to plant 6,300 trees next fiscal year, which includes the increase of 1,800 new trees. At a cost of $2,127,500, that equates to $337.70 per tree – not the $833 per tree suggested by some people. The trial budget also proposes to add a new Department of Heat Mitigation and Response, which will bring in four new positions to the city – one in particular that is crucial to the success of the 6,300 new trees: a tree administrator. The tree administrator role, which was called for in the city’s adopted 2010 Tree and Shade Plan, will ensure government efficiency by functioning as the adhesive that binds all tree-related programs across city departments. Currently, tree planting is handled by several city departments. The tree administrator will ensure efficiency by highlighting and addressing areas of replication, inefficient processes, as well as identifying gaps in tree management…

Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, April 26, 2021: ‘It can never be replaced.’ What it takes to save a 190-year-old tree in North Texas

To say that Melissa Martin has deep ties to Arlington is an understatement. She identifies as sixth generation resident of the city, which was home to fewer than 8,000 people in 1950. In addition, her family donated a foundational 200 acres to the city’s celebrated River Legacy Park, and still owns several properties in the area. Martin has worked with an arborist for more than 20 years to preserve older trees on her properties, particularly those native to Tarrant County. “All of us have a responsibility to be good stewards for the earth and the environment,” Martin said. “We have a responsibility to preserve our history.” So, when Martin heard from a neighbor that city surveyors were at her 201 Jimat Street property with plans to build a sidewalk in early April, she immediately jumped into action. Her primary concern was how the project, on a vacant lot near the Arlington Woman’s Club on Abram Street, would affect a 190-year-old post oak that predates the founding of Arlington. The species, native to the Cross Timbers ecoregion in Texas, is drought-resistant and can live for hundreds of years. However, post oaks are very sensitive to construction and disruption to their root systems, according to Martin and her arborist, Danny Wright. “Post oaks have these really shallow root feeders that extend way out beyond the drip line of the tree,” Martin said. “Those tiny roots that lay just a bit below the surface are what brings all the nutrients and oxygen into the tree. Any heavy equipment going over them, cutting them, can absolutely kill the tree.” Martin’s frustration with construction echoes the stories of many North Texans raising concerns over the impact of rapid development on older trees, acres of which are often removed to make room for homes and businesses…

Santa Rosa, California, Press-Democrat, April 26, 2021: Resilient coast redwood forest a beacon of hope for fire-scarred California

Eight months after a lightning siege ignited more than 650 wildfires in Northern California, the state’s oldest park — which was almost entirely ablaze — is doing what nature does best: recovering. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is closed, but during a backcountry guided tour earlier this week, clusters of chartreuse shoots were budding on blackened redwood branches and trunks. Bright yellow bush poppies, white violets and star lilies dotted the scorched landscape. Hillsides of purple California lilac shrubs were fixing nitrogen in the soil. And new Knobcone pine trees, which need temperatures above 350 degrees to pop open their cones and drop their seeds, were sprouting. “I think nature is finding a way,” State Parks senior environmental scientist Joanne Kerbavaz said. Scientists, parks advocates and conservations say the resiliency of Big Basin Redwoods State Park is cause for hope well beyond the Santa Cruz mountains. In California, COVID-19 infections and deaths have dropped rapidly as a widespread vaccine rollout appears to be turning the corner. And in the burned communities that lost homes in last year’s fires, construction vehicles crowd narrow roads to lay new foundations. At first glance, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a mess. The entire 18,000-acre park, which has about 1 million visitors a year, burned hard and fast for 24 hours and is still smoldering in a few spots, causing nearly $200 million in damage. More than 100 structures were destroyed, including the historic park headquarters, tent cabins, picnic tables, viewing platforms and trail railings. Dozens of bridges are gone, and logs litter the forest floor. In some places, smoldering subterranean root balls are still smoking, leaving dangerous underground ash pits, Kerbavaz said…

London, UK, Independent News, April 26, 2021:Government agrees to release parasite wasps to kill invasive pests attacking sweet chestnut trees

Thousands of parasite wasps are set to be released in England in an effort to kill an in invasive pest attacking sweet chestnut trees. The Government has granted approval for Torymus sinensis, a type of parasite wasp, to be introduced in order to attack the invasive Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp. Concern has been mounting about the fate of England’s sweet chestnut trees after the Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp was first spotted in Kent in 2015. The wasp’s larvae causes abnormal growths – known as ‘galls’ – on the leaves of sweet chestnut trees. Large infestations can weaken the host tree, making it more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Torymus sinensis will be used in England as a ‘biological control agent’ in an effort to stop the spread of the Chestnut Gall Wasp. As a parasite, it specifically targets Chestnut Gall Wasps. Females lay their eggs in the chestnut tree galls, leaving their larvae to feed on Chestnut Gall Wasp larvae. The parasite is the most effective known method to target Chestnut Gall Wasps. “Threats to sweet chestnut trees have increased as a result of tree pests and diseases such as Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp and Sweet Chestnut Blight,” said the UK’s chief plant health officer Nicola Spence. “The release of this biological control agent represents a huge step towards protecting the health of sweet chestnut trees and will further enhance the resilience of our treescape…”

US News and World Report, April 24, 2021: U.S. Vice President to Speak With Mexican President on Tree-Planting Proposal

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will speak with Mexico’s president on May 7 about his proposal to expand a tree-planting program to Central America as a way to reduce poverty and migration, Mexico’s foreign minister said on Saturday. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has suggested the U.S. government offer temporary work visas and eventually citizenship to those who take part in the tree-planting program, called “Sembrando Vida,” or “Sowing Life.” Harris’ senior advisor and chief spokesperson, Symone Sanders, confirmed next month’s virtual meeting between the U.S. vice president and Obrador. “This meeting will deepen the partnership between our countries to achieve the common goals of prosperity, good governance, and addressing the root causes of migration,” Sanders said in a statement. The program aims to create 1.2 million jobs and plant 3 billion additional trees through expansion into southeastern Mexico and Central America, Lopez Obrador said at a White House virtual climate summit last week. He also said U.S. President Joe Biden “could finance” the program’s extension to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador…

Bloomberg, April 23, 2021: Lumber’s Unusual Price Surge Inspires TikTok Videos and Sticker Shock

It started with toilet paper and bleach wipes. Then came price surges inBitcoin, silver and even puppies at one point. Now many are being confounded by a spike in a commodity few ever really think about: wood. Lumber prices have tripled since June 2020, soaring to more than $1,300 per 1,000 board feet. This has meant some serious sticker shock for many who were planning home-improvement projects this spring and summer. It has also had a knock-on effect on the booming U.S. housing market. Elevated wood costs have added more than $24,000 to the price of the average new American house, according to the National Association of Home Builders. In what may be a first, lumber prices also inspired a TikTok video. Why is this happening and what should you do about it? Here’s what analysts and a financial planner have to say: The lumber industry has been struggling with a labor shortage for many years. The number of loggers in the U.S. has dropped almost 40% from 20 years ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many jobs have been automated. Some of those that remain are dangerous and low-paying. So just as wood is more in demand, there isn’t an adequate supply of workers…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2021: The Newest Status Symbol for High-Net Worth Homeowners: Trophy Trees

For decades, Walter Acree operated a modest landscaping business in Deerfield Beach, Fla. A self-described rebel, he mowed lawns in his bare feet, his then-long hair falling around his shoulders. Then, a few years ago, he stumbled into a lucrative niche business: helping South Florida’s superrich find trophy trees—the latest in status symbols for the most well-off Americans. “I’m kind of unique,” said Mr. Acree, now the owner of Green Integrity’s, a tree relocation and landscaping firm. “Not a lot of people do what I do.” Mr. Acree, 61, a so-called tree broker, regularly drives his wealthy clients around South Florida in search of the perfect tree for their garden, whether it is a giant kapok, an enormous canopied oak, a baobab, a ficus or a banyan. Together, they scope out trees in other people’s gardens and outside local businesses, then approach the owners with an unsolicited offer. Then, it is Mr. Acree’s job to find a way to transport the tree to his client’s property. Sometimes, that involves using a long flatbed truck, a barge or even a 300-ton crane. Mr. Acree has also developed his own technique, which he calls “arbor division,” for moving the largest trees. It involves slicing the tree vertically into several parts using 6-foot-long saws with specially hardened blades, transporting the individual pieces to the site, then reassembling the tree with steel aircraft cable, ratchet straps and bolts. Mr. Acree’s business has been flourishing for more than five years, but it went into overdrive this past year as hordes of ultrahigh-net worth home buyers piled into the South Florida market amid the Covid crisis. While trophy trees are a nationwide trend, Miami tree brokers have particularly benefited because of the area’s diversity of available trees. The city’s system of canals also makes it easier to transport trees by boat without having to cut back tree canopies…

Idaho Falls, Idaho, East Idaho News, April 25, 2021: Why one side of your pine tree turns brown and how to prevent it from happening

You may have had the unlucky experience this spring of finding that one side of your pine trees has turned brown, while the rest of the tree has stayed green and looks good. If this change occurred over the winter, and the tree was fine before winter started, then there is a good chance you have a mixture of damage due to wind desiccation and sunscald. Evergreens, and specifically pines, are more prone to having these two issues together. As small trees, they lack a large and established root system to be able to draw in enough water to keep the whole tree alive through the winter months. You have to keep in mind that pines and all other evergreen trees, like spruce or fir trees, actually do not go dormant like deciduous trees during winter. Instead they just “slow down” their natural processes of drawing in water through their roots and are technically still functioning and completing their natural plant processes. We live in such a dry arid climate and have dry winds throughout the wintertime. Since they are pulling in water throughout the winter, one side of our trees will often die back. To compound this issue, sunscald can occur during February and March when there is still snow on the ground. There are days where the daytime temperature spikes and the nighttime temperature drops to well below freezing. This can cause the fluids in the bark or needles on the side of the tree that gets the most sun to freeze during the cold of night, damaging the plant cells and killing off that side of the tree…

Reuters, April 22, 2021: Trees for visas: Mexico suggests US citizenship for reforestation

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday suggested the U.S. government offer temporary work visas and eventually citizenship to those who take part in a vast tree planting program he hopes to expand to Central America. In remarks at a White House virtual climate summit, Lopez Obrador said that Mexico aimed to expand his administration’s signature “Sembrando Vida,” or “Sowing Life,” program to Central America, which he said is planting 700,000 trees. Calling it “possibly the largest reforestation effort in the world,” Lopez Obrador said the program aims to create 1.2 million jobs and plant 3 billion additional trees through expansion into southeastern Mexico and Central America. At the two-day climate summit attended virtually by leaders of 40 countries, Lopez Obrador said U.S. President Joe Biden “could finance” the program’s extension to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. “I add a complementary proposal, with all due respect, the U.S. government could offer those who participate in this program that after sowing their lands for three consecutive years, they would have the possibility to obtain a temporary work visa,” Lopez Obrador said. “And after another three or four years, they could obtain residency in the United States or dual nationality,” he added…

Business Insider, April 22, 2021: Scientists hope genetic engineering can revive the American chestnut tree

A day before Earth Day, retired forester Rex Mann watched as scientists signed an agreement with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina to allow for the eventual planting of genetically engineered American chestnut trees on tribal land. Mann, who has heard countless stories about the American chestnut tree that once dominated the Appalachia region, was emotional as he witnessed the signing. “My dad loved the tree… and he understood what it meant to the way of life of these people in the mountains,” the 76-year-old from Kentucky said. “That way of life died with the tree.” In the early 20th century, a blight is believed to have wiped out some four billion chestnut trees that once grew across the eastern United States, from Maine to Georgia. Now, American chestnut advocates, like Mann, and a small network of scientists are hoping to restore the trees by genetically engineering a blight-resistant tree. Several experiments have been tried over the years, but so far scientists believe the greatest promise comes from a transgenic tree – engineered with a gene from wheat – known as Darling 58. They also hope that this initiative will encourage similar projects for other species…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, April 22, 2021: More than 1,500 tree planters prepare to head west to reforest B.C. Interior

More than 1,500 tree planters from Quebec and Ontario are expected to travel across the country to the B.C. Interior in the next two weeks to help plant millions of seedlings in the midst of a pandemic. They’ll join thousands of B.C. planters who are preparing to work on a major provincial reforestation effort, planting more than 300 million seedlings in the B.C. Interior this summer. The government’s plan to mitigate wildfire damage and address the impacts of climate change by replacing lost trees took shape well before the pandemic. Silviculture, or the growing and managing of trees, “is an essential service, because it’s considered an essential step to maintaining continuity in the global supply of pulp and paper,” said Jordan Tesluk, the B.C. forestry safety advocate who co-ordinates COVID-19 prevention strategies for silviculture in the province. Last year, a similarly large reforestation project in B.C. was delayed and nearly cancelled over community concerns tree planters would bring COVID-19 to remote communities…

Architectural Digest, April 22, 2021: These Trees Will Help You Lower Your Energy Bill

If someone told you that one mature tree sequesters 50 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, you’d probably think, Great, but what does that mean? Austin Mackrill, vice president of the Arbor Day Farm, part of the Arbor Day Foundation, knows that’s a challenging figure to wrap one’s head around, so instead he likes to tell people to look at it this way: A single mature tree provides enough oxygen for two people each year. In the last 49 years, the foundation has worked to celebrate trees and educate the public on the many ways they help us. “It’s something we know is important to nature, is important to our lives,” Austin says. “There isn’t really another substitute out there.” To date, the Lincoln, Nebraska–based organization has worked to plant approximately 300 million trees. It’s no small feat, but its mission for this year could dwarf it. The goal, Austin says, is to engage with 5 million first-time planters and put 100 million more trees in the ground worldwide by this time next year, just in time for the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day (which happens on the last Friday in April). One of the ways they plan to do that is appealing to homeowners looking to lower their energy bills… Depending on what type of tree is planted and where it is in relation to your house, it can help reduce air conditioning and heating costs. For instance, placing sturdy evergreen trees on the north side of a property helps protect from North Winds (especially in northern latitudes), making it easier to heat homes in the winter and saving up to 30% on heating bills. Similarly, homes with leafy, deciduous trees on the western side of the dwelling (which sees the hottest afternoon sun) create a leaf canopy, providing shade that can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 35%…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2021: New Carbon Market Pays Southern Pine-Growers Not to Cut

Here is a new way for Southern pine growers to get paid for their timber: Leave it standing. Companies eager to offset their emissions are paying Southern timberland owners not to cut more than a million acres of mill-bound pine trees until next year. The idea is that the longer the timber stands, the more carbon the trees can sponge from the atmosphere before becoming two-by-fours and telephone poles. The companies are credited with socking away carbon in wood, measured in metric tons and documented with tradable assets called carbon offsets. Companies buy offsets to scrub emissions from the carbon ledgers they keep to show investors and customers their pollution-reduction efforts. Landowners get a check as long as their trees remain standing. The market’s architect, SilviaTerra, plans to expand its Natural Capital Exchange this summer from Southern pine to hardwood forests there as well as to woods around the Great Lakes. The firm uses satellite photos, forest surveys and computer programs to size up timber, calculate how much carbon the trees can sequester and determine how many offsets their owners can sell. The price—$17 an offset—was set with an auction that landowners began by naming the price it would take to keep them from cutting…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, April 21, 2021: Hicks: Sullivan’s residents see the forest and the trees, and they’re voting

A lot of Sullivan’s Island residents tell the same sad story: They didn’t vote in the 2019 town elections, and now regret it. Don’t expect them to make that mistake again. That’s because a 1-vote margin for a single Town Council seat shifted the island’s balance of power two years ago. To say the new council majority made the most of that narrow victory is putting it mildly. Last fall, the majority scheduled a debate on the island’s biggest issue in the middle of a work day, during a pandemic, via Zoom … with minimal public notice. And then, on a 4-3 vote, signed an agreement to butcher the island’s popular maritime forest. Make no mistake: That’s the single-biggest issue in the May 4 election. The officials who engineered that settlement are urging voters to move on from “single issue” politics. Yeah, don’t count on it — because this isn’t simply about one thing. This election is about more than accreted land; it’s about the mindset that threatens it. And it’s about paid parking, as well as a commercial district that wants to creep into residential neighborhoods. Pretty much everything but a gate. That stuff tends to drive people to the polls, even in municipal elections that typically garner little interest…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, April 21, 2021: DeSoto rejected a plan to regulate developers’ tree removal, but activists have started a petition

The DeSoto City Council recently voted not to enact an ordinance regulating tree removal, but residents aren’t giving up. Terrence Gore of the nonpartisan DeSoto Progressive Voters League, along with members of Dynamic DeSoto, a resident feedback forum, created a petition to have the council reconsider the ordinance and address what they call the “indiscriminate clear cutting of the remaining woods and forest areas in DeSoto” by developers, Gore said via email. “Right now developers are coming in and clear cutting, like they do in the Amazon forest, for future development,” he said. “Landowners are doing the same. It’s easier and more profitable to sell developed land or ready to build than it is undeveloped.” Gore said the proposed tree ordinance would have required developers to make plans with minimal impact to existing trees and replaces ones that are cut down. But last month, Mayor Rachel Proctor and council member Andre’ Byrd voted against adopting the ordinance in a 5-2 vote. A 6-1 supermajority was needed because the Planning & Zoning Commission had recommended against it…

Austin, Texas, KXAN-TV, April 21, 2021: 90% of Austin’s palm trees are dead after winter storm, city beginning massive clean up

Starting next week, the City of Austin will undergo a massive clean up effort to remove the dead trees and vegetation from the historic winter freeze from streets, sidewalks, alleys and other public land. The Public Works Department estimates an astounding 90% of the city’s palm trees are dead. In order to ensure safety, the forestry department will begin proactively removing dead trees from high traffic areas, a job that must be completed sooner rather than later. Experts say the longer rotting palms are left standing, the heavier they become and the more likely to snap on unsuspecting pedestrians and drivers. If trees are believed to pose an immediate threat to public safety, residents and businesses nearby will be notified with a door hanger that provides information and contact numbers in case questions arise. Residents are responsible for caring for plants on their own properties or extend into the right of way. The city, however, will remove vegetation on private property if it extends into the right of way and is deemed a potential risk to the public. Other trees hit particularly hard by the deep freeze were Arizona ash and Chinese tallow trees, along with non-native palms and species of pine trees, the City says…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot-News, April 20, 2021: As extreme fires transform Alaska’s boreal forest, deciduous trees put a brake on carbon loss

Fire is a hot topic these days, particularly when it comes to the boreal forest, the vast expanse of trees that stretches across Alaska, Canada and other cold northern regions. Large fires have been burning more frequently and severely in these remote landscapes, driven by longer seasons of hot, dry weather and more lightning strikes as the climate warms. As forests burn, they release organic carbon that has accumulated in tree trunks, leaves and roots and in soils. This sets up a potentially dangerous climate feedback loop: More fires release more carbon from the land, which further exacerbates global warming, which means more hot, dry weather that can fuel more fire activity. It’s enough to keep scientists like ourselves awake at night. However, new results from our research team published in the journal Science on April 15, 2021, suggest there may be a natural brake on the system. We found that when black spruce forests that had recently burned in interior Alaska began regrowing, more aspen and birch trees were mixed in with the spruce. In fact, broadleaf deciduous trees like these were becoming the dominant species. This has two important effects when it comes to climate change and wildfires: The deciduous trees store more carbon, and they don’t burn as quickly or as severely as dry, resinous black spruces and their needles do…

Memphis, Tennessee, WMC-TV, April 20, 2021: Breakdown: Why a late Spring frost can damage trees

The last Spring freeze varies every year in the Mid-South, but a later date can have detrimental effects on our plants and trees. Although most vegetation can tolerate temperatures in the 30s, the cold can still damage leaves on trees and shrubs. Damaged leaves will look brown and shriveled. The worst damage typically occurs when temperatures drop into the 20s after a warmer stretch of weather. This is because leaves have started to regrow and are more susceptible to damage. However, you should not be alarmed if this happens in your yard. Trees and shrubs typically recover quickly and will usually have new growth within a week or two. For gardeners and farmers, Spring is the time to plant crops and flowers. However, picking the right time to plant can be essential for plant growth too. The last spring freeze has taken place as early as February 12 in Memphis, which took place back in 1878. The latest last spring freeze took place on April 25, 1910. On average, around March 19 is the last freeze to take place in Memphis. Due to this, you should consider cold-hardy plants that can handle a few frosts or wait until mid-April to plant anything…

Washington, D.C., Post, April 20, 2021: Washington area is seeing a long, intense tree pollen season. Get used to it.

Peak tree pollen season is here. The normal high point for the year in the Washington area is the third and fourth week of April. And the current season is showing consistently high pollen counts right on schedule. Washington’s worst allergy days tend to come when tree pollen explodes in early to mid-spring. This year, it actually peaked on March 11, when counts surged to their highest level on record, following an otherwise slow start to the season. The March 11 count of 2,758.47 pollen grains per cubic meter of air has not been tested since. Such an early spike was unusual, and it may not be surpassed moving forward, but the season so far has been punishing sinuses with a regular barrage of high-pollen days. That’s probably something we should get used to in a warming climate. According to data from the U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Lab in Forest Glen, Md., tree pollen counts first hit moderate levels on March 3. Before that, levels were depressed by unusually chilly February weather. But by the second week of March, counts quickly bounced too high and even very high levels in the second week of the month, climaxing on March 11…

NJ.com, April 20, 2021: N.J. forestry bills may be barking up the wrong tree

The road to unfunded mandates is paved with good intentions in the form of legislation. At least that’s my main take-away with one group of bills that the Legislature is now considering. In a nutshell, Assembly Bill 4843 and its Senate companion, S-3549, would require municipalities and nonprofit organizations that use state Green Acres funds to acquire forestland for parks or recreation to create and implement a “forest stewardship plan” if the property is 25 acres or larger. If the state itself is the buyer, the Department of Environmental Protection would be required to develop the stewardship plan. Being a public official from an urbanized community, I am not especially knowledgeable about forests or forest management. But I suspect that a “stewardship plan” will come with the need to hire professional consultants to do some combination of assessing, reporting and recommending, services that do not come cheaply. Once a plan is in place, implementation is also likely to require funding that cities like Bridgeton simply do not have. My initial concern is that a bill like this one should not be a one-size-fits-all proposition. The forest-like Pinelands are different in character from wooded areas that make up parts of Bridgeton City Park. Certain planning and management efforts that might make sense in the Pinelands don’t make sense for a section of a community park that has trails. I hope that any forthcoming legislation would acknowledge these differences…

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, April 19, 2021: Pine tree stood tall in Westminster

More than 100 feet and 60 years of marriage later, Charles and Gayle McGrew said goodbye to an old friend. A pine tree that stood next to their Westminster home since Gayle McGrew planted the two-foot-tall sapling a year after the couple married in 1959 had to be removed Monday, April 19. Crews had to use a 75-foot lift to cut down the pine, which was estimated to have grown to 110 feet tall, likely the tallest in the city. It was visible over City Hall from its place in a city parkway near the family’s home just behind the Civic Center. The city was paying for the removal. Charles McGrew said the family noticed last month the tree seemed dry at the top and the city had an expert out to take a look. Arborist Daniel Ruelas said he found rotting in the tree’s vascular system because of an irrigation problem…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, April 19, 2021: Charleston wants to make it easier to bury power lines and save the city’s tree canopy

Charleston’s elected leaders want to make it easier to put underground power lines through the city, saving tree canopies and improving the views along highways and in residential communities. In March, Charleston City Council passed an ordinance to make it easier to access millions of dollars in public funds that can be used to bury sections of the city’s power grid. The new law is expected to simplify the process for Charleston residents who want to remove the utility poles in their yards and install those electrical lines underground. It will also allow the city to shoulder more of the financial burden for those projects. The work will help to prevent utility crews from cutting down palmetto trees or slashing through the tops of grand oaks in order to maintain the electrical lines and protect the power system from storm damage…

Denver, Colorado, KCNC-TV, April 19, 2021: What Should You Do If A Tree Hits Your Car? City Of Denver Offers Tips

Maggie Zawalski was getting ready to go to her yoga class on Friday morning when she found an unpleasant surprise on her truck. A tree snapped from above and fell on her truck, damaging her side mirror and gas tank. “I keep calling it a branch. It’s huge,” Zawalski exclaimed. “The one thing that’s broken is my truck. You know, it sucks.” It was a similar story all throughout the Capitol Hill neighborhood as powerlines and broken trees blocked the streets. So, what should you do if a tree land on your car? Scott Gilmore, who is the Deputy Manager of Denver Parks and Recreation, says your first call should be to your insurance company. “That’s who’s going to take care of your car and repair your car, get your car repaired,” Gilmore said. Next, call a certified arborist to get the tree removed. “You want to find a company that actually will be able to remove the tree, pick it up safely, trim your tree up, and make sure your tree is taken care of,” he said. If a tree is blocking an intersection call 311 so the city can remove it. If there are any downed power lines, call Xcel and dial 911 immediately…

Raleigh, North Carolina, News & Observer, April 19, 2021: Arkansas man admits removing trees from national forest

An Arkansas man pleaded guilty Monday to illegally damaging or removing trees from the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. Jamie R. Edmondson, 46, pleaded guilty in federal court in Springfield to depredation of government property. He admitted that he cut and removed 27 walnut and white oak trees from the forest in Barry County without permission of the U.S. Forest Service. He sold the timber he took between June 1, 2019, and Jan. 31, 2020, to sawmills in the area. Prosecutors said Edmondson was caught after surveillance cameras were installed in the area and they recorded images of the truck he used. The timber was valued at about $20,000 and the ecological damage and remediation necessary was at least $44,000, prosecutors said…

CNet, April 18, 2021: Cicadas 2021: How to keep Brood X from tunneling your dirt and damaging your trees

Before you know it, the dirt mounds will rise and the unmistakable buzzing will begin. Cicadas — specifically Brood X — are arriving by the billions for the first time in 17 years. These insects emerge from underground for six-week lifespans, sometimes landing inside your home, and have the potential to wreak havoc on your smaller, young trees. You may also decide you don’t like the look of the rising dirt mounts in your yard and beneath your plants that signal the brood’s arrival. While cicadas do present some benefits, if insects give you the creeps, or if you’ve got new, expensive trees you’ve just planted, you may be wondering how to keep the critters away. While you’ve got limited time left before Brood X arrives, there are several preventative measures you can take to keep them off your young trees. And if they’re already there, we’ve got ways to get rid of them. Keep reading to find out what you need to do to keep the periodical cicadas out of your trees this spring. We’ll also tell you which chemicals or oils not to use — and why you might even relent and let Brood X stick around. (Plus, here’s what happens if your pet eats a cicada…

Fairfield, Connecticut, Patch, April 16, 2021: ‘I Was In Shock’: Fairfield Cherry Trees Removed; Lawsuit Filed

A week ago, Fairfield resident James Hughes was going about his day in the town center when he witnessed a startling sight. Four Kwanzan cherry trees outside the Sacred Heart University Community Theatre were being removed. “I was shaking, I was in shock, I was incredulous,” he said. The removal of the trees was particularly surprising because Hughes, an attorney whose office is a block from the theater at Post and Unquowa roads, had filed a legal complaint only days earlier challenging the town’s decision to allow the trees’ removal and seeking an injunction to save them. “The town was aware of the lawsuit, and yet they moved forward,” he said. The trees, which were owned by the town, were removed with permission by Kleban Properties as part of the ongoing redevelopment of the theater and surrounding area. They will be replaced with three different Kwanzan cherry trees and a northern red oak…

Washington, D.C., Post, April 18, 2021: Nothing is more beautiful than a redbud in bloom. Why won’t our tree comply?

If my house was ever on a garden tour, I’d take visitors to the corner of my backyard and say, “And this is the reddud tree.” Someone might respond, “You mean, ‘redbud?’ ” “No,” I would answer. “Reddud. Do you see any buds on it? I don’t.” “But —.” “I suppose I could call it a ‘deadbud,’ but that would imply that the tree was dead. Or the buds. Oh, it’s alive, all right. Sentient, even. But evil. Or cursed. No, don’t leave! Come back! Don’t you want to see my daffydils? They’re daffodils that grow backward.” That’s how I imagine it would go. That’s probably why my house won’t ever be on a garden tour. The yards — front and back — have come to disappoint My Lovely Wife and me. Certain once-hardy bushes have started dying — ancient azaleas; long-lived laurels — and so we’re forced to ponder a landscape upgrade. There’s only so long you can go with your front door flanked by brown and crispy shrubs, like something out of a Charles Addams cartoon. We tried to brighten things up with daffodils, planted last fall on the slope in front of our house, but I don’t consider them a complete success. For some reason, the daffodils don’t all face the same direction. Some offer their yellow faces to the north, some to the south. I don’t know how that’s even possible for a heliocentric plant, unless these narcissus are as stupid as they are vain: literally dim bulbs…

Northampton, Massachusetts, Daily Hampshire Gazette, April 18, 2021: Metal fence proposed to protect 400-year-old Buttonball Tree in Sunderland

Since local citizens voiced concerns about an upcoming road reconstruction project and its potential impact on the historic Buttonball Tree, the town has negotiated putting up a metal fence around the tree and designating a “tree protection zone” during the work. Select Board member Tom Fydenkevez said at a board meeting last week that he and Town Administrator Geoff Kravitz met at the Buttonball Tree on April 9 with a representative from the state Department of Transportation, the contractor for the project, arborists and others to consider ways to protect the tree, an American sycamore on North Main Street (Route 47) believed to be roughly 400 years old. A plaque, embedded in a rock in front of the tree, states the National Arborist Association and the International Society of Arboriculture in 1987 jointly recognized the tree as having been in Sunderland when the U.S. Constitution was signed 200 years earlier. “Not to say things may not change, but the first thing is the town has negotiated with the contractor and we’re going to be putting a metal fence to designate the tree protection zone around the Buttonball Tree to better define it,” Fydenkevez said. “We also are strongly considering eliminating the turnoff that’s presently there…”

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, April 15, 2021: PG&E’s 2020 tree trimming failures lead to extra regulatory oversight

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has been forced to submit to increased regulatory scrutiny because of its failure to trim trees adequately around its power lines most at risk of starting wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday ordered PG&E to create a plan detailing how the utility will ensure that its most dangerous electric circuits are prioritized for vegetation management work this year. It’s a response to an earlier commission audit showing that less than 5% of PG&E’s enhanced tree trimming occurred on the company’s 20 highest-risk power lines in 2020, based on the company’s own rankings. The commission vote places PG&E in the first of a six-step escalating regulatory enforcement process created last year when the company concluded a year-and-a-half-long bankruptcy prompted by its responsibility for years of disastrous wildfires. PG&E could lose its operating license if commissioners placed the company at the most extreme end of the new enforcement process. But regulators opted Thursday to impose the least-strict step, which requires the company to submit a plan by May 5 explaining how the company will avoid a repeat of its 2020 tree trimming failures. PG&E must report back every 90 days until the commission decides otherwise…

Phys.org., April 15, 2021: Deciduous trees offset carbon loss from Alaskan boreal fires, new study finds

More severe and frequent fires in the Alaskan boreal forest are releasing vast stores of carbon and nitrogen from burned trees and soil into the atmosphere, a trend that could accelerate climate warming. But new research published this week in the journal Science shows that the deciduous trees replacing burned spruce forests more than make up for that loss, storing more carbon and accumulating it four times faster over a 100-year fire interval. The study, led by a team of researchers at the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society at Northern Arizona University, suggests that these faster-growing, less flammable deciduous forests may act as a stabilizing ‘firebreak’ against escalating fire patterns and nutrient loss in the region. The study began in the wake of the dramatic 2004 fire season in Alaska when an area seven times the long-term average burned. Historically, more than half of this forested terrain has been dominated by black spruce, but after fire, faster-growing aspen and birch are replacing some of these stands. The team, made up of researchers from Northern Arizona University, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Auburn University, and University of Saskatchewan surveyed 75 black spruce stands that burned in 2004 and followed their recovery over the next 13 years. They also collected a range of data from trees and soils of different ages and burn severities to construct a chronosequence, a kind of scientific time-lapse that lets researchers fast-forward through a 100-year fire cycle to see how forests recover and change. “In 2005, I thought that there was no way these forests could recover the carbon they lost in this fire,” said Michelle Mack, a professor of biology at Northern Arizona University and the lead author of the study. “The literature is full of papers suggesting deeper, more severe fires burn more carbon than can be replaced before the next fire. But not only did we see these deciduous trees make up for those losses, they did so rapidly…”

Hilton Head, South Carolina, Island Packet, April 16, 2021: Despite pressure from officials, Dominion won’t alter plan to cut Bluffton palmetto trees

Dominion Energy said Thursday it has begun cutting down 29 palmetto trees in Bluffton’s historic district, despite pressure from state legislators and outcry from town residents. Dominion Energy began removing the 90-year-old trees on Monday because they touched electrical wires and were a risk to the public, officials said. Earlier this week, there was hope that the utility might postpone the project, giving town officials and legislators time to fast-track a plan to bury the power lines and save the trees, a dilemma officials are also grappling with in Charleston. But on Thursday, Dominion Energy confirmed that nine trees had already been cut and said the project would continue. “Safety is our top priority, and due to increased foot traffic in the community during this weekly event — and as a courtesy to the town, the residents and participating vendors — work in the area will primarily be scheduled Monday through Wednesday as the project moves forward,” wrote Dominion spokesperson Paul Fischer. The energy company plans to work with Bluffton officials to plant future trees “in the right place to avoid trimming or removal as vegetation matures,” Fischer said…

Detroit, Michigan, News, April 15, 2021: Bradford pear trees on the way to becoming pests

Each spring for the last few years, I’ve taken the opportunity to voice my opinion on this blog about an invasive plant species issue that is relatively small right now but has the potential to explode into a major problem. I’m talking about Bradford Pear trees, those white-flowered, lovable, lollipop-shaped trees that everyone seems to adore. There are so many around and more are being planted every year. When first brought to market, they were thought to be sterile and unable to reproduce in the wild, therefore they were not considered a threat to the native landscape. And that seemed to be true for decades. Lately however, they are beginning to make their escape into the wild and are taking over plots of land. It’s been several years since I was made aware of the potential problem by a natural history biologist when she pointed out small clusters of wild Bradford pear trees popping up in spots across the area…

Portland, Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting, April 14, 2021: Arborists say ODOT post-fires tree cutting is
excessive, rushed

Oregon has a lot of cleanup work to do after more than 1 million acres of land burned in last year’s wildfires. That cleanup involves removing burned trees near roads and structures that could fall and create safety hazards. But which burned trees are truly hazardous and need to be removed? More than 20 conservation groups sent a letter Tuesday to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opposing the post-fire roadside logging proposed or actively being carried out by federal agencies. And a growing number of people are sounding alarms over excessive tree-cutting along scenic highways and protected rivers as the Oregon Department of Transportation and its contractors proceed with plans to cut nearly 300,000 trees deemed as hazardous. The critics include arborists who have worked on the project and say the reckless tree-cutting operations across the state are being mismanaged and need to be stopped…

Washington, D.C., Post, April 14, 2021: Maryland lawmakers vote to let developers replace cut trees by preserving existing forest

Maryland lawmakers voted late Monday to allow developers and home builders to replace some trees they cut down by preserving existing forest, a measure that local planning officials said was necessary to keep development moving. The legislation, passed in the final hours of the General Assembly session, came in response to a state attorney general opinion in October that said local planners had erred for decades in allowing developers to offset tree losses by preserving forest off-site. The state’s 1991 Forest Conservation Act, the opinion said, required that developers offset cleared trees by planting new ones. The legislation, sponsored by Del. James W. Gilchrist (D-Montgomery), would allow developers and builders to resume buying “credits” from “forest mitigation banks” created by farmers and other landowners who agree to preserve the required acreage. Planners in some counties had allowed that practice for decades but stopped it in the fall, following the attorney general’s opinion that it was improper…

Norfolk, Virginia, Virginian-Pilot, April 14, 2021: ‘The tree is the biggest asset the lot had’: ‘Spider oak’ draws couple to Virginia Beach’s North End

Home builders are trained to focus on certain elements of a plot of land. Zoning, surveying and demolition are among them. But for builder Chip Iuliano and his wife, Lisa, who were shopping for their own personal residence, a brawny southern live oak on the edge of a North End property sealed the deal from the beginning. “That was one of the things that drew us to the lot,” said Lisa Iuliano. “That tree is gorgeous sitting on the corner.” Known by neighbors as the “spider oak,” the tree’s burly branches spread low from its trunk like the legs of an oversized arachnid. This gentle giant has stood its ground on the corner of 88th Street and Atlantic Avenue for more than a century…

Kansas City, Missouri, Star, April 14, 2021: Sneaky thieves are cutting down large trees in Tennessee. What’s behind crime spree?

An unusual crime alert was issued this week in Tennessee, involving thefts of something most people ignore: Trees. Hardwoods are vanishing in the night thanks to thieves who are experts at getting in and out without being noticed, the state’s Department of Agriculture warns. “We’ve had reports of oak trees, poplar, and some hickory stolen in Middle and East Tennessee,” Agricultural Crime Unit Special Agent LaLonna Kuehn said in a news release. Last month, the National Park Service reported more than a dozen trees disappearing from Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park in northern Georgia, “including several old-growth oaks.” A park ranger noticed a road where there should be no road and evidence trees were being dragged away. An arrest was made and the suspect took a plea deal, the National Park Service said. The motive is big money, Tennessee officials said. Timber prices are up — particularly for some species — and that is enticing thieves to take risks in the illegal logging trade…

Yahoo News, April 12, 2021: How tree pruning can reduce the risks during spring storms

Experts say proper tree pruning can reduce the risk of property damage and injuries during spring severe weather season and the upcoming hurricane season. When the winds pick up, trees can come crashing down. A thunderstorm snapped a tree near Shreveport, Louisiana, hitting a mobile home and killing a man inside. An EF-1 tornado in north Louisiana sent trees toppling over, one injuring a grandmother inside this home. She was trapped inside her house for hours after an EF-3 tornado in central Alabama until crews and neighbors could cut their way through and get her to safety… Everybody loves trees, but trees are very heavy. And they can be deadly if they’re not taken care of… Pat Edmonds owns Edmonds Tree Service and says above-average rainfall across much of the South means more trees are uprooting and toppling over… The biggest safety risk is large trees growing too close to homes. It may cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, but Edmonds says removing a hazardous tree is worth the investment…

Phys.org, April 13, 2021: Airborne laser scanning of gaps in Amazon rainforest helps explain tree mortality

A group of researchers led by Brazilians has used an innovative model to map gaps in the Amazon rainforest and identify factors that contribute to tree mortality. Water stress, soil fertility, and anthropic forest degradation have the most influence on gap dynamics in the world’s largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest, according to an article on the study published in Scientific Reports. Forest gaps are most frequent in the areas with the highest levels of soil fertility, possibly because the abundance of organic material drives faster tree growth and shorter life cycles. The main method of data collection used in the study was LiDAR (light detection and ranging), a remote sensing method that uses pulsed laser light. Coverage extended to remote parts of the Brazilian Amazon where fieldwork is very difficult and satellite images can be imprecise, owing mainly to heavy cloud…

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Courier-Post, April 12, 2021: Lawsuit: Borough ‘disregarded’ warnings before historic tree fell onto house

A local woman claims borough officials ignored her warnings about the dangerous condition of a historic tree here — a massive black oak that ultimately fell during a storm and destroyed her house. Brenda Zadjeika has sued the municipality and its Shade Tree Commission, contending they “disregard” her concerns about the centuries-old tree on the 200 block of Lake Street. Her lawsuit also alleges negligence by New Jersey-American Water Co., which owned the property where the tree stood. That site holds a pump house across the street from Zadjeika’s former home at the corner of Lake and Colonial Avenue. The tree, which was some 60 feet high and had a six-foot diameter, toppled during a thunderstorm on June 3, 2020. Almost three weeks earlier, Zadjeika had contacted borough officials about the tree’s “apparent dead trunk” and expressed fear “of the tree possibly falling” on her house, says the suit. She previously had alerted the borough in April 2020 that branches had dropped from the tree onto Lake Street and had made complaints in October 2019 and April 2015, the suit says. “It was in pretty bad shape,” the homeowner’s lawyer, Dennis Crawford, said of the tree. “Brenda put the township on notice and it’s something that could have easily been avoided,” said the Audubon attorney…

Phys.org, April 13, 2021: Cascading effects of noise on plants persist over long periods and after noise is removed

Though noise may change moment by moment for humans, it has a more lasting effect on trees and plants.
A new Cal Poly study reveals that human noise pollution affects the diversity of plant life in an ecosystem even after the noise has been removed. This is the first study that explores the long-term effects of noise on plant communities. It was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. In a study conducted twelve years ago near natural gas wells in New Mexico, researchers found that there were 75% fewer piñon pine seedlings in noisy sites as in quiet ones. This was most likely due to the noise driving away the Woodhouse’s scrub jay, which plants thousands of pine seeds while storing them to eat during the winter months. A research team recently returned to the sites to find out whether the piñon pine had recovered over time. Because companies change the sites where they use noisy compressors to help produce natural gas, some of the previously noisy sites had become quiet. In these areas, there were fewer seedlings and saplings compared to sites that didn’t have compressors added to the wellpad to speed up gas extraction. The decrease in saplings results from the time when the site was noisy, but the decrease in seedlings shows that piñon pine seeds still weren’t sprouting once the noise was removed. “The effects of human noise pollution are growing into the structure of these woodland communities,” said biology professor and senior author Clint Francis. “What we’re seeing is that removal of the noise doesn’t necessarily immediately result in a recovery of ecological function…”

Phys.org, April 12, 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…

Swampscott, Massachusetts, Wicked Local, April 12, 2021: Swampscott tree huggers keep to-do list full

The half-dozen residents who sit on the Swampscott Tree Advisory Taskforce are quite the industrious bunch. Members dutifully assist the Swampscott Department of Public Works in the protection, planting and care of the town’s public trees – from developing policies to securing resources. “Swampscott trees are important: The town would be a very different place without them,” Swampscott resident Verena Karsten, who serves on the advisory task force, in a Friday call. “They play a critical part in everything: For animal life, for climate change, for public shade, for our quality of life.” Concerned residents established the advisory task force in 2018 after a conveyor belt of big storms wreaked havoc on Swampscott trees. “We had a couple nor’easters that took down a lot of our public-shade trees,” said Karsten. “So we started this group, and we’ve been meeting monthly ever since.” The advisory task force’s latest project – Swampscott Town Hall Tree Replacement – seeks community input and financial suppo