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Quote of the Month — May

May 20, 2015

Terrill Collier, of Collier Arbor Care in Portland, Oregon

“I have been a volunteer for various committees and boards in our industry for the past 30 years. When I volunteer, I get back more than the time I have put in. Working with leaders in arboriculture helps advance my skill and knowledge. I encourage young arborists to step forward. It will pay back to you many fold.”

~Terrill Collier

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Terrill Collier is an icon of arboriculture who, among his many achievements, helped pioneer the now-persistent culture of volunteerism that distinguishes the Pacific Northwest ISA Chapter. It is with a heavy heart to report that Terrill Collier passed away earlier this month. He will be greatly missed, however his legacy lives on in the people and the trees he touched. 

Coordinator’s Corner

May 20, 2015

Who doesn’t love a sunny day? And we’ve had plenty of them this spring. You have to love the combination of sunshine, brilliant blue skies, and shiny green trees during the lovely month of May.

Leaves are fully unfurled and many trees are in full bloom, here on the west side of Washington. It’s a good time to go outside and take a peek at our leafy friends. For most, trees are easier to identify when they are sporting leaves, but in addition to revealing the identity of our neighborhood tree, leaves often provide clues about the health of a tree. Observations might reveal branch die-back, unusual coloring, or misshapen leaves which should prompt an appointment for a closer inspection.

Trees, as community assets, require a long-term management commitment in order to assure they are healthy, safe, and provide the benefits we expect of them. A tree inventory is a great way to get initial base-line information about the community tree resource. When it is consistently used as a dynamic, ongoing tool, a tree inventory can be used to compare tree condition and growth over time. Observing and keeping track of changes in a community forest provides insight into the health, performance, condition, and trends of all or individual trees, and assists in proactive management.

This year, DNR Urban and Community Forestry is offering a workshop about tree inventories. The workshop teaches what an inventory is, how data is collected, the tools used to collect data, and how you can use the data to manage your community tree resource.

Check out this month’s Tree Link calendar for dates and locations. The same workshop is offered throughout the state. It is likely there is one coming to a community near you. Questions? Can’t attend a workshop? Call Ben Thompson at 360-902-1382 or send a note to urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov.

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

Register Today: Asset Management for Community Trees Seminar

May 20, 2015

The first two installments of the DNR Urban Forestry Program’s new seminar, “Asset Management for Community Trees,” held in Ellensburg and Chelan, were advertised directly (by email) to potential participants in those regions of the state. However, this approach was less effective than we expected and we’ve received a number of questions about the registration process for other events, prompting us to rethink our direct-email approach.

So, we’re taking this opportunity to announce an open registration process for any of the upcoming seminars: Simply send an email to urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov and indicate which seminar you want to register for by listing the name of the host city (see below), and provide the name of your organization as well as the first and last names of the individuals from your organization who wish to reserve a seat. We will confirm receipt of your email RSVP and follow up with specific event details 7-10 days in advance of each individual seminar.

Municipal staff are our target audience, however, the invitation is not exclusive; other public employees, non-profit staff, and community volunteers are welcome to attend. No ISA CEU’s will be offered, but we are pursuing and intend to offer CM credits for AICP planners.

This seminar will explore options for inventorying public trees, information-based strategies for managing your community forest, and tips on how to make the most of a tree inventory or similar type of natural resource assessment.

Each seminar will take place from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Seminars will be free of charge; however, all attendees must pre-register in advance and provide their own lunches.

The following is a list of seminar dates with the host cities and associated regions for each one:

  • June 9: Vancouver; Southwest Washington
  • June 11: Olympia; South Puget Sound
  • August 25: Poulsbo; Peninsula
  • August 27: Mount Vernon; Northwest Washington
  • September 15: Bellevue; Seattle Area
  • October 13: Tri Cities; Mid-Columbia
  • October 15: Spokane; Spokane Area

A sample agenda is as follows, though it is subject to change based on feedback from prior seminar events:

9:00-9:30: Attendees arrive

9:30-9:45: Welcome and introductions

9:45-10:15: Introduction to Asset Management for Trees

10:15-10:45: Tools and Technologies for Natural Resource Inventory

10:45-12:00: Field Exercise: Collecting Tree Inventory Data

12:00-12:30: Break for Lunch

12:30-1:00: What Data to Collect and Why

1:00-1:45: Making your Inventory Work for you

1:45-2:15: DNR Inventory Grants

2:15-2:30: Wrap-up

WA Labor & Industries Offers Conference for Arborists

May 20, 2015

Washington Department of Labor and Industries is offering a half-day conference in several locations around the state to address issues related to injury statistics, worker’s compensation, claim rates, and health and safety risk classification categories for those in the tree care industry.

“Businesses in the tree care and pruning industry continue to express concern about fellow employers who under-report workers’ compensation hours and create unsafe working conditions that cause serious injury. Both drive up costs of insurance premiums paid by all. This conference will address why premium costs go up, what to do to help control those costs, and provide participants with the opportunity to discuss these issues and provide input to L&I.”

Check out the conference program.

City Foresters Energized by 2015 Municipal Forester Institute

May 20, 2015

The Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI) is an advanced training course for managers of trees in urban landscapes. This week-long intensive educational program is sponsored by the Society of Municipal Arborists in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and focuses on the following four points:mfi logo

  • Developing a leadership approach to your position
  • Thinking and planning strategically to advance urban forestry programs
  • Working effectively with boards, coalitions, and non‐profit organizations
  • Managing the relationship between people and trees

This year, the 2015 MFI Course was held at the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton, Oregon, February 22-27. Scholarship monies made available through the DNR Urban Forestry Program provided financial assistance to four municipal arborists from Washington to attend: Angel Spell, City of Spokane; Charles Ray, City of Vancouver; Curt Nedved, City of Longview; and Phil Bennett, City of Snoqualmie.

These foresters were asked about their experience and offer the following words to anyone else that is considering attending MFI in 2016:

What is the most valuable thing that you have learned or experienced as a result of attending MFI?

“To think strategically about developing and placing an urban forestry program within the larger context of a municipality. Advocating for trees as a utility that provide benefits, and tying them to utility rates is a great direction to explore.”

“It is a great program and an excellent opportunity to information share and discuss issues with peers who are facing similar issues. I was able to take what I learned and check off tasks right when I returned with great success.”

How will your attendance at MFI translate into benefits to your urban forestry program or the community you serve?

“Being more informed and well versed in any new knowledge, information or technology will make me and my program more efficient and effective.  This also will assist in making the program more credible and better known throughout the community.”

“I realized in MFI that I need to build more partnerships, and get the community more involved in the urban forest, so that the weight of it is carried by many hands, and so it is protected by the advocacy of many, even if personnel involved in the program transition.”

Would you recommend MFI to other urban forestry professionals?

“Definitely recommend MFI–it is a very intense learning program with an immense amount of information presented during the week but it is well worth the time and effort to attend.  Without the knowledge you gain, just the contacts and peer group I have gained was worth it.”

“I sure would recommend MFI: I have a totally different view of how to run an urban forestry program now, and I think that will pay dividends.”

Poll: When is the Optimal Time to Plant Trees in Washington?

May 20, 2015

The Washington State Arbor Day is always the second Wednesday in April, but some Washington cities plant trees at other times of the year.

This month’s poll aims to settle the debate over when the most optimal time is to plant trees in Washington. We recognize, however, that opinions might be split between eastern or western Washington due to differences in climate and other planting conditions.

Not to fear, there are TWO POLLS this month–one for each side of the state. Feel free to participate in just one or both of them, but only vote in both polls if you have experience planting on both sides of the Cascades.

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, please pay close attention to whether you are voting in the eastern or western Washington poll and choose the season that you feel is the most appropriate for tree planting.

Happy voting, and Happy planting!

A Tree to Try — Willow Oak (there’ll be no weeping for this “unlikely” tree)

May 20, 2015

Willow Oak, Quercus phellos 

Willow oak leaves. Photo by wikimedia commons

The common name of this tree may be misleading, however, if you’re savvy on your Latin botanical names, then you’ve already recognized this tree as oak tree of the Latin genus Quercus. The willow oak gets its name from its leaves which are long and narrow like willow tree leaves. Though unlike willow leaves, these oak leaves lack serrations along the leaf margins and don’t have a stipule at the base. Willow oak is a member of the red oak family, but unlike any of its cousins, its leaves have no lobes and do not turn brilliant red in the fall.

Also unlike other oaks, this tree is at home in heavy or wet soils such as those common to its native riparian habitats in the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States. Also to its credit, this tree transplants easily and is tolerant of many other stresses such as heat, drought, compaction, and pollution.

Willow oak is also unlike many more popular landscape specimens in that it lacks what are commonly desirable characteristics; there are no showy flowers, it has relatively plain-looking bark, and its pale-yellow-to-dull-gold fall color, while pleasant, isn’t particularly dramatic. This tree does however have a very elegant appeal in the landscape thanks to features that are more subtle: it has lustrous, dark green leaves, a graceful growth habit, and prominent stature at maturity that is rivaled only by other oak trees.

And yes, like other oak trees, the willow oak is a long-lived tree that will become massive if given enough time, growing up to 120 feet tall and producing a trunk several feet wide. It is best to keep its eventual size in mind at the time of planting by locating it in parks, front yards, wide planting strips, or other generously sized planting sites free of overhead power lines. Willow oaks prefer full sun and do not do well in shaded sites.

Mature willow oak tree. Photo by Bear Creek Nursery

You might think such a large tree would also have large fruit, however, its tiny acorns are only about ½-inch long and wide with a greenish-brown ‘cap’.

Willow oaks tend to be resilient to storm damage given their desirable structure, whereby the tree produces a single, dominant, central leader with evenly spaced branches that are strong, flexible, and well-proportioned to the diameter of the trunk. Willow oak is generally considered to have good resistance to insects and diseases and is an excellent low-maintenance, long-lived tree where there is plenty of space for it to show its stuff.

Show your stuff as a tree expert by selecting this “unlikely” tree for your next planting. Plant it in the right place and you’ll not regret the choice.

Timely Tree Tips – Ehhh, what’s up [with my tree] doc?

May 20, 2015

The term “Tree Doctor” implies that such a professional can effectively diagnose a plant health problem and offer advice or prescriptions for resolving it.

Although not known as tree doctors these days, arborists are often called upon by their clients for exactly this service, since diagnosing plant health problems takes specialized knowledge and experience. Some diagnoses are straight-forward when dealing with common problems; however, other plant heath issues can be frustrating to diagnose in cases when symptoms are elusive or when circumstances conspire to obscure the signs that something might be wrong.

The best plant health diagnosticians out there will tell you that it takes decades of study and diligent practice to get really good at it–and even then, the most experienced will still consult textbooks and research articles to help verify their conclusions.

So whether you’re a professional looking to beef up your skills on how to triage a tree issue or a homeowner with general concerns about the plants in your yard, consider consulting the following sources that outline the process of plant problem diagnosis:

1. Article: “Plant Disease Diagnosis” from the American Phytopathological Society (APS).

2. A companion powerpoint presentation to the above APS article.

3. “Diagnosing Plant Problems” as excerpted from the University of Kentucky’s Master Gardener Manual.

4. “Diagnosing Tree Disorders” from the Colorado State Extension Master Gardner program

As any doctor can tell you, the most crucial step toward healing is having the right diagnosis. If the disease is precisely identified, a good resolution is far more likely. Conversely, a bad diagnosis usually means a bad outcome, no matter how skilled the physician.”

~Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.

Fire Adapted Communities in Washington State

May 20, 2015

A new network of communities working to live with wildfire will be launched in Washington this spring, modeled after the national Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network. In early January, the Fire Adapted Communities concept was adopted for Washington state at a meeting that brought together representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, several conservation districts, The Nature Conservancy, Department of Defense Joint Base Lewis-McChord, fire departments, the Pacific Northwest Wildfire Coordinating Group and other organizations.

Fire Adapted Communities are communities that take action to reduce their risk of losses from wildfire; a key component of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. They recognize that each of us has a role in those actions. Nationally, we have seen many benefits for communities that take steps to live with fire; we have also seen how important it is for those communities to share information and learn from each other.

The National Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network is a program designed to share best practices and innovations with the goal of accelerating the adoption of fire adapted community concepts nationwide. Across the nation, there are 17 hubs participating in the national Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network—a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, US Forest Service, Department of Interior, and the Watershed Research and Training Center.

“The Learning Network has been incredibly helpful for us,” explained Annie Schmidt, director of the Chumstick Coalition, a participant in the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network.

“We have been able to talk to other communities who are facing the same challenges and learn from their approaches,” Schmidt continued. “Last summer, we were able to reach out to other communities who had experienced similar fire seasons and talk to them about what our next steps should be. Those conversations were invaluable.”

The Bureau of Land Management is supporting acceleration of Fire Adapted Communities in Washington state through funding for a state-level learning network in Washington. The Washington Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network will begin with a small group of communities. Those communities will receive support and some funding as needed from network staff to help increase their capacity and share lessons with each other. We are working together with the national Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network through communicating, sharing, and learning, in order to make the greatest difference possible for Washington State communities.

The Washington Network plans to be up and running early this spring. The ultimate goal?  A resilient, fire-adapted Washington made up of communities that understand both their role and the role of fire in the landscapes we share. By stepping up and contributing to the solution, we can reduce our risks from wildfire.

By Ryan Anderson, WA Fire Adapted Communities Executive Coordinator, ryan@scwrcd.org

Web-ucation: Links to Help You Learn

May 20, 2015

The emerald ash borer is marching westward
Yikes! The emerald ash borer has decimated ash trees and urban forests throughout upper midwestern states and has recently been discovered in Colorado. Let’s hope it never makes it to Washington. In the meantime, you can prepare for this worst-case scenario by learning to assess your ash tree for signs of emerald ash borer from the Colorado State Extension Service.

City trees are threatened by string trimmers
If you need to teach others about how damaging lawn maintenance equipment can be to trees, this succinct little video from Portland’s Friends of Trees will do just the trick.

A year in the life of a forest
While this may not be specifically educational in nature, we can learn a lot by observing nature’s rhythms. Check out “A Forest Year“.

Green cities can improve the health of people, scientists say
Research into the public health benefits of urban greenery has been on the rise in recent years. This article does a nice job summarizing just a few of examples of research outcomes.

What will the climate in your city be like by 2060?
The Scenario-Based Projected Changes Map is an online map that provides easy access to localized scenarios of projected changes in annual total precipitation, precipitation intensity, annual average temperature, 100-year storm events, and sea-level rise from EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool.

Teach kids about invasive species in Washington
The Washington State Department of Agriculture publishes what it calls the Invasive Species “Fun Book,” an educational activity book for children focused on the impacts of invasive plants and animals in Washington.                                                     

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

May Calendar of Events, Activities and Opportunities

May 20, 2015

May 26: L&I Conference for Arborists

When: Tuesday, May 26; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: L&I — Tukwila Office, 12806 Gateway Dr S, Tukwila, WA 98168

Cost: Free

To Register: Sign up at www.lni.wa.gov/Workshops or by calling 360-902-4599.

May 27: L&I Conference for Arborists

When: Wednesday, May 27; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: L&I — Bellingham Office, 1720 Ellis St, Suite 200 Bellingham, WA 98225

Cost: Free

To Register: Sign up at www.lni.wa.gov/Workshops  or by calling 360-902-4599.

June 9: First Annual Southwest Washington Urban Forestry Seminar: Asset Management for Community Trees

When: Tuesday, June 9; 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Where: Vancouver, WA. Additional details will be provided in an announcement via email to public agency staff from neighboring jurisdictions.

Cost: This seminar will be free of charge however participants must RSVP in advance and provide their own lunches

For more information, contact urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov

June 10: L&I Conference for Arborists

When: Wednesday, June 10; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: L&I — Vancouver Office, 312 SE Stonemill Dr, Suite 120, Vancouver, WA 98684

Cost: Free

To Register: Sign up at www.lni.wa.gov/Workshops  or by calling 360-902-4599.

June 11: First Annual South Puget Sound Urban Forestry Seminar: Asset Management for Community Trees

When: Thursday, June 11; 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Where: Olympia, WA. Additional details will be provided in an announcement via email to public agency staff from neighboring jurisdictions.

Cost: This seminar will be free of charge however participants must RSVP in advance and provide their own lunches

For more information, contact urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov

June 16: L&I Conference for Arborists

When: Tuesday, June 16; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: L&I — L&I Headquarters — Tumwater, 7273 Linderson Way SW, Tumwater, WA 98501

Cost: Free

To Register: Sign up at www.lni.wa.gov/Workshops  or by calling 360-902-4599.