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Quote of the Month — October

October 16, 2014
Blue Lake larches

Blue Lake, North Cascades, Washington State. Photo excerpted from http://www.wta.org

October is a busy time for DNRs Urban and Community Forestry Program. In lieu of a quote this month, check out the following links to discover the finest locations for Washington’s fall colors: 

Fall hikes in Washington 

Washington fall color road trips

Fall color photography locations in Washington 

In pursuit of Washington’s golden larch trees 

Forest Service Fall Color monitoring page

Anniversary of the 1962 Columbus Day Storm

October 16, 2014
This tree would have benefitted by pruning to develop a strong structure when it was just beginning to grow. Photo: DNR

The Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm of 2006 slammed into the Pacific Northwest region between December 14, 2006, and December 15, 2006, causing 18 deaths and several million dollars in damage.

Wind storms are part of living in Washington state, but were you around when the Columbus Day Storm hit in 1962?

Considered the ‘granddaddy of all windstorms’ in these parts, the storm claimed 46 lives (7 in Washington state) and injured hundreds more. In the Willapa Hills of southwestern Washington, a wind gust of 160 miles per hour was recorded.

Sunday, October 12, was the 52nd anniversary of the 1962 Columbus Day Storm, the strongest non-tropical wind storm ever to hit the lower 48 states in recorded U.S. history.

Not around in 1962? Maybe you recall the Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm of 2006, a powerful storm that slammed into the Pacific Northwest region between December 14, 2006, and December 15, 2006, causing 18 deaths and widespread damage and power outages.

Weather events as large as these storms may be infrequent, but today’s Columbus Day Storm anniversary is a good reminder to be prepared.

What can you do to prepare for the ferocious wind storms that strike our state almost every winter? Check out the Washington State Emergency Management Division’s “Windstorms in Washington State” publication to get useful preparation and survival tips.

Whatever storm you’ve experienced, DNR encourages you to join other Washington residents in preparing your trees before the next big storm hits. Take action now to reduce the damage caused by windstorms. It could keep you from losing power in your area or even save your home from damage.

Coordinator’s Corner — In Support of Community Trees and Forests

October 16, 2014

To celebrate Governor Jay Inslee’s Urban and Community Forestry Month proclamation, DNR and other partners held a kick-off event in Olympia on Friday, October 3. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark reminded the crowd that trees contribute much to the quality of life in our communities and that planting trees is an expression of our commitment to the future and future generations. The Department of Enterprise Services, which manages the Washington State Capitol grounds, highlighted its recent reinvestment in the care and management of campus trees and landscaping. The City of Olympia declared the day as Arbor Day and proudly celebrated their 21st year as a Tree City USA. Puget Sound Energy generously donated trees for the site and was on hand to help us all celebrate.
The dynamic life cycle of trees was fully enacted at the ceremony. Attendees to the event admired a beautiful wood-slat bench crafted at DNR’s Cedar Creek Corrections Center with wood salvaged from three black locust trees that had been removed from the site. Children from a local day care center helped ‘plant’ three replacement dogwood trees, then reveled in their work by indulging in some tree-shaped cookies (okay, we adults indulged in cookies too).

Now fall is fully upon us. The days are getting shorter and storm season is right around the corner. Take this as a reminder to care for your trees. If you see anything out of the ordinary, or have questions about the health of your trees, you may want to call a consulting ISA-certified arborist. These well-trained professionals will thoroughly examine a tree and provide suggestions on how to keep your tree in top shape.

Enjoy the beauty of the season.

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

Carbon Policy and Urban Forestry in Washington

October 16, 2014

Gov. Inslee’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force will be presenting its final recommendations 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 mark@skintour.com.  

Council Communique’ — Weeds or Wealth?

October 16, 2014

Weeds or Wealth? Alternative Values from Community Forests

Washington Community ForestryA community need not be large to take advantage of all the values that their community forest can provide. Many of us understand the intrinsic values of community forests and recent research demonstrates the economic values associated with ‘Ecosystem Services’ provided by community trees. However, there are other unsung layers of value in community forests that include: edibles, specialty woods, native crafts, medicinal’s, landscape plants, floral greenery, and Christmas greenery.

Most of these values can be obtained as byproducts of traditional tree maintenance programs, if the managing agency makes a point of doing so.

For example, when native red cedar trees are removed or pruned, almost all parts of the plant can be used for purposes greater than mulch or firewood. The bark can be used for making baskets and other traditional crafts. The foliage removed by pruning can be used as Christmas greenery and in bedding for dogs and cats to control fleas. All the wood parts can be used, including the limbs, roots and twigs.

The key to gaining the best values is know what they are and who would like to have access to the products.

Users can range from local native families that need plant parts for their traditional products to wood crafting associations looking for supplies of specialty woods. Large specialty saw mills can be a useful resource when single trees are removed as part of an infrastructure improvement program or after a storm event.

If you are interested in obtaining additional values from your community forest, contact James R. Freed at 360-789-7529 or freedj@wsu.edu

This article authored and submitted by James R. Freed. James is a forestry professor for Washington State University with a program focus on all the products besides fiber and lumber that come from the forests in Washington State, including community forests. He currently fulfills the “WSU Extension” seat on the Washington Community Forestry Council.

Ceremony Kicks Off Urban & Community Forestry Month

October 16, 2014

planting treesHelping Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark kick off Urban & Community Forestry Month on Friday, October 3, in Olympia were several dignitaries, a dozen pre-school children from a nearby daycare facility, two wooden benches, and three large boxes of tree-shaped cookies. More about the benches and the cookies in a minute.

DNR sponsors Urban & Community Forestry Month in Washington state as part of its effort to provide technical support, advice and encouragement to community forestry programs across the state. Today’s brief ceremony took place near the Natural Resources Building in Olympia. Also at the ceremony, Sheila Gray, chair of the Washington Community Forestry Council, presented the City of Olympia with an award marking its 21st year as an official ‘Tree City’ (there are 84 Tree Cities in Washington state).

tree bench

Three recently planted starlight dogwood trees at the site were commemorated by the reading of a short poem by several children (followed by cookies!). The dogwoods replace three black locust trees that had grown too large for the narrow streetside median strip in which they had been planted. With a potential height of 80 feet, extensive root systems, and a tendency for limbs to break in high wind, the locust trees were just in the wrong place. In contrast, dogwoods are highly adaptable to urban sites.

DNR made good use of the wood from the removed trees; inmates at Cedar Creek Correctional Camp milled the wood into several items, including two benches (see photo). Black locust is one of the most rot-resistant woods available… you just might not want it growing in your yard or on your street.

Learn more about DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

Poll: How Do You Get Your Tree Questions Answered?

October 16, 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 mostly closely represents where you often turn for the majority of your tree-related questions or concerns.

New Specs and Standards for Tree Planting

October 16, 2014

Dr. Ed Gilman of the University of Florida; Jim Urban, FASLA (Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects); and Brian Kempf and Tyson Carroll of the Urban Tree Foundation have developed an up-to-date and peer-reviewed set of details and specifications in AutoCAD, PDF, and Microsoft Word formats for the green industry. These tools are designed specifically for landscape architects, engineers, architects, contractors, urban foresters, arborists, municipalities, and state agencies.Tree planting

All of these files are open source, free, and can be edited by the user. You and your colleagues are welcome to use these details and specifications for your projects without charge and without the need to credit the Urban Tree Foundation or any of the project team members. Although the group encourages modification to fit your specific site and project needs, make your changes only after carefully considering all the pertinent variables at the planting site.

Funding for this project was provided by the California Department of Forestry, Urban Forestry Program.

Bigleaf Maple Dieback in Western Washington?

October 16, 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, amy.ramsey@dnr.wa.gov or 360-902-1309, at DNR.

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

Storm Water Runoff, Community Forests, and Water Quality

October 16, 2014

Trees reduce stormwater runoff by intercepting rainfall in their canopies and roots. Photo: Guy KramerStorm water runoff – the rain that falls on streets, driveways, rooftops, and other developed land — is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in Washington state. It carries oil, grease, fertilizers, soaps, and waste from pets and failing septic systems into streams and other bodies of water.

DNR has set a goal to clean up and restore Puget Sound, because even the clean water that originates in the upland forests we manage can become polluted as it flows through urban and suburban areas.

One of the best ways to mitigate the negative impacts of urban and suburban storm water runoff is to reduce how much of it ends up in natural waterways. Trees and shrubs are part of the solution because they help detain storm water on-site, in addition to slowing its flow and reducing erosion. October is an excellent time to recognize the many benefits that trees provide, including reduction and filtration of storm water runoff, because they:

  • Reduce storm water runoff by intercepting rainfall in their canopies where it is later re-released into the atmosphere.
  • Slow down runoff rates and reduce pollutants by absorbing storm water through their roots.
  • Store pollutants and transform them into less harmful substances.
  • Create healthy soil conditions that allow rainwater to filter into the soil so that less flows down streets, sidewalks, gutters, and storm sewers.

Here’s what you can do to help the trees in your community do a better job of filtering and managing storm water runoff:

  • Decrease the amount of hard surfaces (like concrete) that block water from infiltrating into the soil.
  • Advocate for more trees and vegetation in your community.
  • Preserve healthy, established trees through proper maintenance and care.
  • Minimize the clearing of trees and vegetation ­– you’ll also help reduce soil erosion.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing or over-watering your trees and lawn.
  • Route excess storm water to a natural retention area, such as a vegetated area with healthy soil which can filter out pollutants, reduce runoff rates and volumes, and prevent soil erosion.
  • Retrofit parking areas and other locations with extensive hard surfaces with new plantings of trees, shrubs and other plants — strategically located, they can intercept storm water and allow it to filter into the ground.

Trees, of course, are not the only means to address the challenges of storm water runoff, but here at DNR, we believe they are a big part of the solution, which is why we support Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to proclaim October as Urban and Community Forestry Month.

For more tips and ideas, visit the Washington State Urban and Community Forestry Program, which operates with support from the US Forest Service.

Web-ucation: Links to Help You Learn

October 16, 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. Firstly, 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 Slate.com.

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.

October Calendar of Events, Activities and Opportunities

October 16, 2014

October is Urban & Community Forestry Month. How are you celebrating?

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program has solicited a list of statewide events that celebrate trees throughout the month of October. Visit our webpage and look for the “events” link under the Urban and Community Forestry Month banner.

October 21, PlantAmnesty’s October Meeting of Like Minds

When: Tuesday, October 21, 7-9 p.m.

Where: The Center for Urban Horticulture, NHS Hall, 3501 NE 41st Ave, Seattle

More information: Todd Murray, the entertaining entomologist, will inform us about recent plant pests (such as the lacebugs currently talking out evergreen azaleas and even rhododendrons everywhere) and cures (like what’s the scoop on imidaclorprid?). This meeting is brought to you by the Heritage Tree Committee. Our featured speaker will entertain and enlighten us. Help yourself to the good potluck food, beer, and wine. We also have a fun auction and news of current PlantAmnesty events.

November 3 & 4: Fiftieth Annual Society of Municipal Arborists’ Conference and Trade Show

When: Monday, November 3 and  Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Where: The Westin Charlotte, 601 S. College St., Charlotte, NC 28202

Cost: Visit the Society of Municipal Arborists website for more information as it is made available

November 5 & 6, 2014: Partners in Community Forestry Conference

When: Wednesday, November 5 and Thursday, November 6, 2014

Where: The Westin Charlotte, 601 S. College St., Charlotte, NC 28202

Cost: Visit the National Arbor Day Foundation’s website for more information as it is made available

November 14, Intertwine Fall Summit:  “Play, Learn, Serve and Work: Youth Perspectives on Conservation and Nature”

When: Friday, November 14, from 1 to 7 p.m.

Where: The Oregon Zoo

Cost: Register here

As the Intertwine Alliance explores utilizing the Collective Impact framework to advance our efforts, a key piece is making sure all voices in our community are heard. This fall’s Intertwine Summit will focus on equity, inclusion, and developing the environmental leaders of tomorrow. This is not your dad’s Intertwine summit! We’ll hear directly from youth and young adults, including their perspectives on nature and its relevance to their lives present and future.

November 17-19, 2014: ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification course and exam

When: Monday, November 17 through Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where: Clackamas Community College, Oregon City, OR

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

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