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Quote of the Month — November

November 21, 2014

“When the trees their summer splendor
Change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns mellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When the squirrels hide their acorns,
And the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year.”

-   Carol L. Riser, Autumn 

Coordinator’s Corner — ‘Tis the Season, for Grants and Tree City USA

November 21, 2014

November and December are always busy months for us. No sooner did we complete Urban and Community Forestry Month celebrations, then it was time for the 2015 grant season.

If you missed the announcement, there are three grant opportunities available to communities, educational institutions, nonprofits, and tribal governments for 2015: Community Forestry Assistance Grants, Tree City USA Tree Planting Grants, and Public Tree Inventory Grants. If you have a great urban forestry idea or special project that could use additional funding, visit our Grant Resources Page or check out the article about our grant program in this edition of the Tree Link to find more information. The deadline for applications is December 19.

Also due in December are Tree City USA applications. Applications can be submitted online, even if you are a first-year applicant, but you need to request a password to log in to the system; so make sure you don’t wait until the last minute!

Achieving a Tree City USA designation is a great way to start growing your community forestry program, but don’t stop there. You can receive additional kudos and continue to grow your program by applying for a Growth Award. Visit the Tree City USA Growth Award page at Arbor Day Foundation to review the four categories of projects and programs that are eligible for points toward a Growth Award. Contact Ben Thompson at 360-902-1382 if you have questions.

By Linden J. Lampman, Program Manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program

Council Communique’ — Are you the next Council member?

November 21, 2014

Washington Community Forestry

So, you’re reading the Council Communique, but what is the Council and what do we do?

The Washington Community Forestry Council advises the Commissioner of Public Lands and staff at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on policies and programs affecting urban and community forestry in Washington. I’ve served as a member of the Council for the last nine years, a time in which the Council has been engaged in many interesting and rewarding endeavors, such as:

  • Working with Audubon Washington to champion the Evergreen Communities Act which aims to restore, retain and establish more trees and forests in Washington cities, towns and counties. (Note: progress on fulfilling provisions of the Act have stalled due to lack of funding; however, work on this continues at DNR as resources permit. We hope for a future when this Act is revitalized.);
  • Recognizing many inspiring volunteers who have worked in their communities to develop parks and arboretums, to teach others about tree care, and to spend long hours pulling invasive English ivy from trees;
  • Developing brochures and factsheets about the benefits of trees, the benefits of being a Tree City USA, and anti-tree topping information;
  • Visiting with cities and towns across Washington to learn about their accomplishments and challenges, and to support their local community forestry efforts; and
  • Working more recently to spread information about the benefits that community forests provide for stormwater mitigation and management.

Being on the council is also a chance to connect with others who are equally committed to the proliferation of trees and their benefits. Out in the world it can often be a struggle to promote trees in the face of competing interests that undervalue them, but in our quarterly meetings, we’re plugged into a network of experts and fellow champions for community forestry.

My term on the council is ending, and I’m passing the baton to a very capable and enthusiastic person. Urban forestry in Washington state will always benefit from the participation of motivated professionals on the Washington Community Forestry Council. From time to time, there are openings for representatives from stakeholder groups, such as government agencies, educational institutions, professional organizations, and private companies.

Think you might be a good fit for the Council? If so, please contact Linden Lampman or Ben Thompson with the DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program at 1-800-523-8733 or

This article authored and submitted by Sandy Salisbury. Sandy is a professional landscape architect and roadside and site development manager for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). She currently represents WSDOT on the Washington Community Forestry Council through the end of 2014.

Announcing the 2015 Urban Forestry Grants — Grants Available in 3 Categories

November 21, 2014

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program (UCF) 2015 grant applications are now available on our grant resources page. 

UCF is offering three grant opportunities:

  • Community Forestry Assistance Grants;
  • Inventory Grants; and
  • Tree Planting Grants.

If your community is a Tree City USA, the announcement and links to applications will be sent directly to your community’s Tree City USA contact.

Grants, offered in partnership with the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program, may be awarded to local units of government, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, or tribal governments. Community tree volunteer groups and neighborhood associations, while not directly eligible to apply, are encouraged to develop their projects in conjunction with an eligible organization.

Examples of projects that may be funded through Community Forestry Assistance Grants include:

Program Development and Planning:

  • Urban Forestry Ordinance Development or Revisions
  • Urban Forestry Board or Commission Development or Training
  • Urban Forest Resource Canopy Assessment and Mapping
  • Efforts toward becoming a Tree City USA
  • Planning or Management Document Development, i.e., Street-tree Master Plan or Urban Forest Strategic Management Plan
  • Advanced training for tree management staff (scholarships to Municipal Tree Management Institute, for example)
Participants in Plant Amnesty's  Spanish language pruning class, funded through a Community Forestry Assistance Grant, show their certificates of completion. Photo: Plant Amnesty.

Participants in Plant Amnesty’s Spanish language pruning class, funded through a Community Forestry Assistance Grant, show their certificates of completion. Photo: Plant Amnesty.


  • Urban Forestry Education Curriculum and Materials Development
  • Urban Forestry Reference Library Establishment or Enhancement
  • Research Projects that include an explanation of how the results will be shared
  • Public Education and Outreach

Community Forestry Tree Inventory Grants are open to local, municipal or tribal governments or institutions. The purpose of this grant is to fund implementation of a public tree inventory system to be used as a basis for managing a jurisdiction’s urban forest. Inventory collection will be undertaken by professional arboriculture consultants under contract with DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. Data collection is standardized but allows flexibility to meet individual community needs. Participating communities will receive a report summarizing the composition and condition of the community forest, along with pertinent resource management recommendations. Collected data will be provided to the community. An urban and community forestry specialist will be available for technical assistance to help develop future maintenance and management plans.

Good planning starts with an nventory.
Good planning starts with an inventory.

Tree planting grants are offered to Tree City USA communities who plan for, maintain, and manage landscape trees with a goal to increase canopy cover over time. Nonprofit organizations [501 (c)(3)], educational institutions, or tribal governments may apply in partnership with eligible communities. Communities that qualify for Tree City USA, but have not received recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation, may apply for grant funds contingent upon DNR approving a Tree City USA application.

Tree City USA Ritzville received a planting grant in 2013 that helped replace trees lost in a severe fall storm.
Tree City USA Ritzville received a planting grant in 2013 that helped replace trees lost in a severe fall storm.

Contact us if you have questions: 360-902-1703 or

Carbon Policy and Urban Forestry in Washington

November 21, 2014

Gov. Inslee’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force presented recommendations to the Governor’s office on November 17, but what does this have to do with urban and community forestry?

The Task Force appears to be leaning toward recommending a cap-and-trade law here in Washington. Here is the quick summary on how cap and trade works:

  • The carbon emissions of large carbon emitters are capped;
  • The large carbon emitters can meet these caps on emissions in three ways. They can:
    • clean up their own emissions,
    • use allowances that are given or auctioned by the state to meet their capped emissions, and/or
    • buy carbon credits from offset projects. The offset projects remove carbon from the air to generate carbon credits that can be sold to the carbon emitters.

Offset projects can include urban forest tree planting projects. California adopted a cap and trade law several years ago and included both urban forest and wildland forest projects in their offset project options.

If Washington adopts a cap and trade law and includes urban forest offset projects, urban tree planting projects in Washington could generate carbon credits that could be sold to the carbon emitters. This creates a funding source for urban forest projects and would be an exciting development in Washington, where urban forest projects often struggle to find funding.

Yet, there are many obstacles to capitalizing on the work (or potential work) of the task force. These obstacles are as follows, in order of occurrence:

  1. The task force needs to recommend cap and trade;
  2. A cap and trade bill needs to be introduced and pass the legislature;
  3. The cap and trade bill needs to contain an offset component that includes urban forest offset project type(s);
  4. A protocol for executing urban forest offset projects needs to be drafted to meet the needs of Washington state.

We will follow these developments and keep you updated.

This article was authored and submitted by Mark McPherson, a Seattle-based attorney and supporter of urban forestry. Mark has served on the work group that created the second Urban Forest Protocol for the Climate Action Reserve in California. He has created an email group to keep urban forest stakeholders in Washington aware of these developments as they unfold.  If you wish to be included on his listserv, please email him at  

Poll: How Do You Get Your Tree Questions Answered?

November 21, 2014

Our last Tree Link poll was designed to assess and understand the professional backgrounds of our dedicated readership.

This month, we’re wondering who you turn to when you have a tree question.

Please take a moment to participate. It takes just a few seconds, your response is completely anonymous, and results will help DNR staff continue to provide meaningful content in future editions of the Tree Link.

When selecting your answer, choose the response that most closely represents where you often turn for the majority of your tree-related questions or concerns.

Bigleaf Maple Dieback in Western Washington?

November 21, 2014
Bigleaf symptomatic

Healthy bigleaf maple leaf (left) and symptomatic leaf (right). Photo: DNR.

Bigleaf maples (Acer macrophyllum) are an important ecosystem component in the forests of western Washington, providing shade, food, habitat, and structural diversity in riparian and upland areas. Over the past several years, concerned landowners, the general public, and forest land managers have contacted forest health specialists from the University of Washington, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the US Forest Service (USFS) about what they perceive to be increased levels of bigleaf maple decline and dieback. Symptoms frequently reported include yellow flagging of large branches, small leaf size, and partial or entire crown dieback.

Verticillium albo-atrum and Verticillium dahlia – causal agents of Verticillium wilt — are reported as damaging agents of bigleaf maple (Minore and Zasada 1990). V. albo-atrum and V. dahliae are soilborne fungi that invade the xylem of host trees and can cause leaf drying, leaf curling, defoliation, wilting, dieback and tree death (Sinclair et al. 1987). A project in 2011 investigated whether or not Verticillium wilt was the primary cause of bigleaf maple decline and dieback in western Washington. Sixty-one sites were surveyed across western Washington and branch samples were submitted to the Washington State University Puyallup Plant & Insect Diagnostic Lab for microscopic examination of V. albo-atrum and V. dahlia. Verticillium was not found in any of the submitted samples. Signs of other root diseases were found in a portion of the trees surveyed, (Armillaria root disease in 11 percent of the trees surveyed, Ganoderma root disease in 3 percent of tree surveyed), but these results do not suggest that either root diseases are the primary causal agents of bigleaf maple dieback in western Washington.

Bigleaf symptomatic2

This bigleaf maple shows dieback and other signs of stress. Photo: DNR.

This year, 2014, another survey project investigating the causal agents of bigleaf maple dieback and decline was cooperatively initiated among DNR, USFS, Oregon State University (OSU), and the Oregon Department of Forestry. DNR staff visited 55 sites in western Washington with symptomatic bigleaf maple late this summer, tagging a tree at each site for long term monitoring of the symptomatic trees. In a month or so, visits will be made back to each site, and the trees will be examined for microscopic root diseases by collecting soil and fine root samples and sending them to OSU for processing.

Here is a link to the report from the 2011 survey. If you have any questions or comments about this project, please contact Amy Ramsey, or 360-902-1309.

This article was written and submitted by Amy Ramsey, forest pathologist, Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Timely Tree Tips — Factors Contributing to Tree Failure

November 21, 2014

It’s storm season. Healthy, well-maintained trees do well to weather many storms, however, unique circumstances of storm events can still bring down trees and limbs. The incidence and severity of tree failure during storms will vary depending on the interaction between tree- site-, and storm-specific factors. Consider the following if you have concerns about trees where you live:

Tree-specific factors:

Tree defects. Tree defects may be any tree part that is dead, dying, diseased, or decayed. Other defects include but are not limited to cracks, splits, or other evidence of physical injury; branch unions with included bark; uncorrected leans; and low live crown ratios on limbs, leaders or entire trees.

Improper pruning. Improper pruning can create tree defects that might not have otherwise occurred. Examples of improper pruning may be referred to as topping, lion’s-tailing, or wind-sailing. Such detrimental practices can compromise tree health and structure, predisposing them to storm damage.

Pest and/or disease issues. Trees under stress from drought, heat, compacted soils, or other adverse conditions are those most vulnerable to pests and diseases. Nonetheless, pests and diseases can decrease overall tree health, increase tree stress, and weaken or kill branches, leaders, or entire trees if attacks are severe or prolonged.

Landscape trees planted too deep. Trees without a visible root flare where the trunk meets the soil grade may have been planted too deeply. Such trees may have root problems, decay, or other structural weaknesses. It is not uncommon to see storm-related tree failures associated with the consequences of improper planting.

Root structure. Shallow root systems often take the blame, however, poor soil conditions may have more to do with trees’ uprooting. Compacted soils or soils with a high water table can force trees to develop shallow root systems that are more prone to failure in storms.

Site-specific factors:

Saturated soils: The force of friction between roots and soil particles is what helps a tree remain vertical and resist uprooting in heavy winds. In saturated soils, however, water acts as a lubricant that decreases friction between soil and tree roots and can lead to trees uprooting in strong winds.

Land disturbance: Sites that have experienced excavation, grade changes, compaction from heavy equipment, or other forms of disturbance may have damaged soils and adjacent trees, making them more susceptible to storm damage or wind throw.

Exposure. If trees are removed from a naturally forested setting, such as occurs in new developments, remaining trees will be exposed to new wind patterns. These remaining, newly exposed trees may be more susceptible to wind damage.

Storm-specific factors:

Wind Speed. Even healthy, defect-free trees can still be damaged if wind speeds are great enough. Severe thunderstorm warnings are issued once wind speeds first exceed 58 mph; anecdotally, this is when tree damage tends to increase during storm events.

Wind Direction. Trees adapt to ‘typical’ conditions of their environment as they grow, allowing most healthy trees to tolerate moderate to heavier winds coming from the prevailing wind direction. Winds that occasionally come from other directions may cause greater damage since trees are less adapted to those winds.

Rain, snow, and ice. Precipitation sticks to leaves, twigs and branches, adding additional weight that can burden leaves, twigs branches, and entire trees. Ice is particularly damaging to trees, especially when coupled with high winds.

This list is not comprehensive but covers many factors that can contribute to tree damage in storms, depending on the circumstances. If you are concerned about specific trees where you live, consider enlisting the services of an ISA Certified Arborist to assess their health and condition.


This article was co-authored by Tree Link Editor Ben Thompson and Cindy Maitland-Deffé, environmental sciences instructor at Spokane Community College and member of the Washington Community Forestry Council.

We all want to live in Tree City, USA; Communities can now apply for Tree City status

November 21, 2014
Apply now to be a Tree City USA! You don’t want to miss out on the fall color. Photo: Janet Pearce/DNR

Apply now to be a Tree City USA! Photo: Janet Pearce/DNR

Is your city or town a Tree City? Tree City USA communities bring recognized benefits to their citizens because trees and forests, when well cared for, help boost community health, safety, and character.

Tree City USA helps cities and towns build a foundation for effective, well-organized tree care programs. Cities and towns that pursue the designation recognize that good stewardship of natural resources is a reliable investment in the future of their community. In addition to the many benefits that trees provide, communities earning the Tree City USA award may also position themselves to receive financial support from DNR for projects that enhance community livability.

Communities can achieve Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards: dedicating a citizen tree board or city staff to address tree-related issues; having a community tree ordinance, tracking tree-related expenditures and activities; and by celebrating Arbor Day.

Approximately 35 percent of Washington residents live in a Tree City USA and currently, there are 84 designated Tree City USA communities in Washington state. See if your city is one of them. Tree City USA is an inclusive program. Any incorporated city or town can participate, regardless of size, location, climate, or economic factors. Find out how your city can become a Tree City USA. Be sure to plan ahead, because the deadline for applying is December 15.

If you have questions or need help to promote the program in your community, contact DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

WSU to Re-establish Forestry Major

November 21, 2014

In December 2011, Washington State University (WSU) phased out its long-standing major in forestry. This change coincided with the merger of the former Department of Natural Resource Sciences and the former School of Earth and Environmental Sciences to form the School of the Environment in January 2012. Since then, the School of the Environment has replaced the existing undergraduate degrees/majors with majors in “Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences,” “Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences,” and “Earth Sciences.” The unit has also hired several new faculty members over the past year in key areas. These and other changes have substantially strengthened program offerings and hold considerable promise.

As a part of the Washington State budget passed in the final days of June of 2013, WSU was mandated to re-establish its forestry major. After a year of work devoted to evaluating alternative approaches to re-establishing the forestry major on the Pullman campus, the college administration elected to establish a newly updated forestry major.

Staffing needs and the curriculum for the program are being evaluated. WSU will seek accreditation of the forestry major by the Society of American Foresters as soon as possible. Keith Blatner, chair and professor of forest economics in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University, has been appointed to guide this effort.

For additional information, contact Keith Blatner at 509-335-4499 or

Article reprinted from the DNR blog, Forest Stewardship Notes

Web-ucation: Links to Help You Learn

November 21, 2014

Managing tree related hazards and post-disaster tree recovery
The American Planning Association teams up with the US Forest Service and other partners to tackle this important topic. Find out more about their preliminary findings.

Minnesota unveils first-of-its-kind storm water crediting system for urban trees
We all know trees benefit storm water management, but Minnesota is taking the leap to quantify the contributions of trees to for municipal storm water management.

Plan for your urban forest for the future
Two great new resources are available. First, the urban forest management plan toolkit takes a step-by-step approach to helping you develop a management plan for your community’s trees. In addition, the American Planning Association in partnership with the US Forest Service has released “Planning the Urban Forest,” a tool to help communities develop urban forestry programs to capture the social and environmental benefits of trees.

Can plants see, feel, hear, smell, communicate and think?
Check out this interview with Dr. Daniel Chamovitz, director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University and author of the 2012 publication, “What a Plant Knows.”

Urban forests provide human health benefits; Does this mean that city trees save lives?
Research conducted by the US Forest Service on the connections between tree mortality and human mortality has been summarized in this video at

Is your community Rain Ready?
This water conservation initiative from the Chicago area has great ideas for people and communities to resolve common storm water issues in cities and towns.

Online graduate certificate in urban forestry
Oregon State University offers the first online graduate certificate in urban forestry for professionals interested in continuing education. If you’ve ever been interested in graduate-level education but felt you didn’t have the time, now there’s an new option. Check out this online certificate program.

November Calendar of Events, Activities and Opportunities

November 21, 2014

December 9-11, 2014: ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification course and exam

When: Tuesday, December 9 through Thursday, December 11, 2014

Where: UW Botanic Gardens, Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle

Cost: Visit the PNW-ISA’s website for additional information

December 15, 2014: DEADLINE: Tree City USA Applications due. Apply on-line!

December 19, 2014: DEADLINE: Urban Forestry Grant Applications must be received by 4:00 p.m., in our office at the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE, M.S. 47037, Olympia, WA  98504. Visit our Grant Resources page for more information.

January 11, 2015: Plant Amnesty Master Pruner Series:  Pruning Fruit Trees

When: Sunday, January 11, 2015 — 10 am – noon

Where: Sand Point Magnuson Park; Building 406 (The Brig)

Cost: $20/class; $15 for PlantAmnesty members; $5 for horticulture students and native Spanish speakers

For more information:  Contact PlantAmnesty at or 206-783-9813.

February 4, 2015: Defensible Tree Appraisal

When: Wednesday, February 4, 2015 — 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Where: Shoreline Conference Center, 18560 1st Avenue NE,Shoreline, WA 98155-2148

Cost: $160 for non-ISA members; $144 for allied professionals; $128 for ISA members; and $80 for students

For more information:  Contact The PNW-ISA at or visit the website to register.