Skip to content

Coordinator’s Corner — May

May 10, 2016

‘Arbor Month 2016’ is behind us. DNR staff, with assistance from Washington Community Forestry Council members, attended city council meetings and Arbor Day events in 34 communities to present their Tree City USA awards and publicly recognize their achievements.

mayor selby

Olympia mayor Cheryl Selby climbs a tree on Arbor Day. Photo by City of Olympia.

Arbor Day ceremonies, whether small or large, simple or complex, are joyful events; community members and city staff gather to celebrate trees and those who work to maintain a healthy, safe, resilient community forest. And by celebrate, I mean to say that these ceremonies are lots of fun!

This year in Auburn, Mayor Nancy Backus engaged the entire crowd in reading the Arbor Day proclamation by lifting her hand to cue a smiling chorus of ‘WHEREAS!’ between each line of the proclamation.  Shelton, one of our new communities, held a city-wide barbecue. The cities of Lacey and Yelm participate in a long-standing ‘tree exchange’ where every year the city council of one will gift an Arbor Day tree to the other and vice-versa. And this year in the City of Olympia, they held a tree-canopy climb, where Mayor Cheryl Selby and State Forester Aaron Everett did a ‘high-five’ 100’ up in the air!

Urban foresters focus on sharing the social, environmental and economic benefits of trees in our community but tend to be very business-like when doing so. We inventory, quantify, budget and manage in order to be taken seriously by city decision-makers and residents. All of this is very important work and necessary to build a visible and essential urban forestry program.

However, it is also important to remember that urban forestry is more than just ‘the numbers.’ Trees are fun to climb and fun to hug. (The record for simultaneous tree hugging is held by the City of Portland.) People yarn bomb trees and paint them blue to make them even more visible to passersby. Just being in their presence can calm, rejuvenate and relax. Trees provide us with a sense of awe and wonder. And the great thing about urban forests is that we can find the reinvigorating respite as near as a city park or natural area or in our own back yards.

As you gear up for a summer season of care and maintenance, remember to stop and smell the trees. It will put a smile on your face.

by Linden Lampman, program manager, coordinator, DNR Urban & Community Forest Program

Exciting Educational Opportunities on the Horizon

May 10, 2016

If you’re keeping up with your Tree Link, then you know we are actively recruiting students for the 2016 Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI), but it’s worth mentioning again since it is probably the most exciting educational opportunity on the horizon.

Below are details about other exciting events coming up in Seattle, Portland, and Spokane.


Sustaining the Urban Forest During Densification

Explosive population growth is underway in the Puget Sound Region. The 2016 Urban Forest Symposium will explore approaches to sustaining the urban forest in the face of this rapid densification. Speakers will introduce the tenets of Smart Growth initiatives which have been widely adopted by policy makers, influencing land use decisions and the urban forest in Seattle and around the world. Case studies of successful approaches from Seattle and other cities will offer insights into ways to creatively address our local challenges. Free lunch to the first 100 registrants.

8th Annual Urban Forest Symposium, Hosted by PlantAmnesty and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens

Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Time: 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reception to follow, 4 to 6 p.m.

Location: University of Washington Botanic Gardens Center for Urban Horticulture 3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98105

Cost: $85 general admission. Free lunch to the first 100 registrants. $45 students and Washington Conservation Corps members (no free lunch – limited availability)

Register: Click here to register

Contact: or 206-685-8033



Maintaining Magnificence: Tree Preservation in Our Community Forests

We know the myriad benefits trees provide, but how do we value, preserve, and care for healthy mature trees, stands of trees, and forested corridors in and around our cities? Can large beautiful trees co-exist with new housing developments? Is there a better way to include and plan for the care of these great community trees that have literally stood the test of time? What options do satellite and GIS technologies provide in assisting communities to effectively maintain the magnificence of these trees?

Date: Thursday, June 2, 2016
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (PDT)
Location: World Forestry Center, Miller Hall
Register and ContactClick for more details and to register.



Physics of Pruning, Structural Analysis, Cabling and Rigging

Join us on Monday, June 27, for a one-day intensive Tree School workshop taught by Brian Kane, Massachusetts Arborists Association and Professor at the University of Massachusetts. Arborists use physics every day they work in the trees. When pruning, cabling, rigging, and doing tree risk assessments, understanding some basic physics will help you work more safely and communicate to clients and co-workers why a particular pruning, rigging, or cabling technique might be safer or more effective at reducing the likelihood of tree failure. This workshop will cover some basic physics concepts and show how the concepts are related to different aspects of arboricultural practice. Participants will receive 6 ISA credits.

Date: Monday, June 27, 2016
Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., check-in at 8:30 a.m.
Location: Enduris Training Facility, 1610 S Technology Blvd, Suite 100, Airway Heights, WA 99224
Cost: $100 – scholarships available for Veterans, includes lunch and light breakfast
Registration closes Thursday, June 23, and seating is limited; register early to secure your spot.

Urban Forestry Restoration Project; Applications Accepted June 1 to June 30

May 10, 2016

Crew member Hannah Campbell battles blackberries in Arlington WA. Photo by Christopher Andersson

We are pleased to announce that the Urban Forestry Restoration Project will be accepting applications for Puget SoundCorps crew assistance from June 1 through June 30, 2016.

Applications will not be accepted before June 1 or after 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 30. The 2016-2017 application form and supporting information is available online at

The Urban Forestry Restoration Project (UFRP), now entering its fifth year, is generating increasing interest and we believe this year’s application process will be highly competitive. Be thorough, succinct and persuasive to make your application as compelling as possible.

The application is designed to be simple and concise, however the details of your application are very important. Here are a few tips for drafting your applications:

  • The more we know about how the project work is planned and how it will be cared for after the crew’s work is finished, the better. Describe how the crew’s work will help accomplish goals, who will be in charge on a daily basis, acquisition of any materials necessary to complete the work, ongoing stewardship, etc. Supplemental materials such as maps and project descriptions add important contextual detail to the application.
  • Tell us, in a few sentences, how project work will support the larger goals of your community as expressed through a comprehensive document such as an Urban Forestry Management Plan or Comprehensive Plan. This might also include stormwater management objectives, which are especially important to the UFRP.
  • We encourage volunteer stewardship to help take care of urban trees and forests. List not only any groups that may be currently active, but also groups that may be potential sources of volunteers. This section will be stronger if there’s a brief description of how potential volunteer partners will be recruited and engaged in site stewardship.

Remember, although non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are eligible to apply for crew assistance, project work must occur on publicly-owned land. If the applicant is an NGO, a current letter of permission and support from the underlying land owner (city, county, state, tribe, PUD) must accompany the application.

The application is a fillable PDF form; text boxes will accept more text than fits within the space indicated. The text boxes will not expand; rather, a slider bar will appear to the right of the box, indicating to the reader that additional text is contained in the space.

The entire application process is designed to be done electronically via email. Hardcopy/paper applications will NOT be accepted.

Questions about the program or the application process can be directed to the Urban Forestry Restoration Project Coordinator, Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or

Thank you for your continuing support for the Urban Forestry Restoration Project and for caring for—and about—your community’s trees!

2016 Community Tree Management Institute; you won’t want to miss it!

May 10, 2016

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Oregon Department of Forestry are excited to announce the 2016 Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI). To date, approximately 175 individuals have graduated from CTMI, however, this year’s offering of the course will look a lot different than previous ones. Staff have completely redesigned the CTMI curriculum to emphasize collaborative peer-to-peer learning in a more condensed schedule of face-to-face sessions.

The Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI) is an intensive training and professional development course specifically tailored to the needs of those who have tree related responsibilities in their communities. Coursework covers technical, managerial, and administrative aspects of managing trees in cities. The purpose of CTMI is to provide participants with the information, skills, and leadership training to carry out their tree-related responsibilities more effectively.CTMI logo

CTMI consists of three, place-based, retreat-style sessions according to the following schedule:

  • SESSION 1: Focus is on ‘Community’, Sept 12-14, 2016, Alderbrook Resort, Union, WA
  • SESSION 2: Focus is on ‘Trees’, Oct 11-13, 2016, Vancouver Hilton, Vancouver, WA
  • SESSION 3: Focus is on ‘Management’, Nov 8-10, 2016, Oregon Garden Resort, Silverton, OR

Each place-based session is prefaced by a selection of online assignments intended to prepare participants for the topics and subject matter to be presented. You may be given a reading assignment, a video to watch, or you may be asked to answer questions as part of an online journal entry. Sessions are scheduled as retreats, allowing you to immerse yourself in learning. The three-day, two-night sessions start the afternoon of the first day and end before lunch on the third day. Sessions are held both indoors and outdoors.

CTMI is appropriate for anyone who coordinates community forestry issues, reviews tree plans, issues permits, or inspects trees in urban and community forests. Participants come from the ranks of city planners, park management staff, public works employees, tree board staff, horticulturalists, campus arborists, and other similar job classifications. Since 1994, more than 150 people have completed this course. It requires your focus, so your personal commitment, your supervisor’s approval, and your city’s or agency’s support are critical.

For more information, or to register, please visit

A Tree to Try — Vine Maple

May 10, 2016

 Vine Maple, Acer circinatum


Vine maple leaves in Olympia, WA; Photo by Bob Buzzo

Acer circinatum, more commonly known as vine maple, is a dependable native plant that has made its way into horticulture in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. This plant, considered to be small tree or large spreading shrub, was collected by the Lewis and Clark expedition and introduced to Europe in 1826 by the famous plant hunter David Douglas. The Latin name circinatum indicates ‘rounded’ and refers to the shape of the leaves which are almost circular.

Vine maple is native to the Northwest, ranging from Northern California to Southern British Columbia and throughout Washington and Oregon. It is found in lowlands and as high as 6,500 feet in the Cascades. It is an understory plant in coniferous forests and can form a dense, nearly impenetrable thicket. Nonetheless, vine maple forms a sturdy tree when it gets out of the shade and grows into an attractive small tree in the landscape.


Emerging vine maple leaves in Spring. Photo by Bob Buzzo

The plant has year round interest. Red flowers are visible in early spring and contrast nicely with the soft green and magenta and yellow of the emerging young leaves. In autumn, the color is spectacular and the seed is quite ornamental with its red wings. The fall color of vine maple is one of the first signs that summer is fading, when scarlet-colored foliage brightens the landscape as we drive over the Cascade passes in late summer. In winter, the tips of the branches are bright red, lighting up the winter landscape.

This is a maple of excellent heritage. It is closely related to the Asian maples of the Japonica group—exquisite maples known around the world for their horticultural merit. Vine maple is the only relative of this group native to North America and here are several cultivars of this plant available in the trade:

  • ‘Little Gem” is a dwarf form;
  • ‘Monroe‘ is an introduction that has deeply cut leaves;
  • ‘Burgundy Jewel’ has bronze foliage; and,
  • ‘Three Cheers’ is a recent introduction selected for its upright form.

Many of these selections are budded onto Japanese maple understock, confirming the connection this tree has to its Asian relatives.

Consider this tree for a shady spot as a landscape plant or on the edge of a stand of conifers where it will grow out to seek the light. It performs quite well in sun or shade on the west side of the Cascades but will struggle on the east side unless it is protected from afternoon sun.


Mature vine maple in onset of fall color, Olympia, WA. Photo by Bob Buzzo

By Robert Buzzo

Robert Buzzo has worked in the nursery industry in Western Washington for over 40 years. For the past 28 years he has been the Manager of Lawyer Nursery, Inc. in Olympia. He has a degree in Plant Science from UC Davis, is a Certified Professional Horticulturalist (CPH) and is a member of the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association (WSNLA).

Drought Responsible for Conifer Mortality

May 10, 2016

The summer drought of 2015 was one of the most severe droughts on record in Washington state. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the entire state was under severe or extreme drought conditions from late July through early October. Drought damage and mortality in Douglas-fir, western redcedar and pines was immediately noticeable; symptoms included entirely red crowns, red tops, and scattered red branches.

Some affected conifers that teetered on the verge of needle loss but remained green through the winter may be showing drought symptoms now with the onset of unusually hot, sunny days early this spring. Delayed drought symptoms appearing in spring are common to western hemlock in particular. Hemlocks may drop foliage without noticeable symptoms of drought stress. In March and April of this year, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received numerous reports of hemlocks suddenly dropping needles. A similar phenomenon among hemlock trees was widely observed after a drought in 2002.

Hemlock damage

Drought damage to hemlock tree. Photo by DNR

Common symptoms of drought damage in conifers include rapid needle loss, desiccated (dried out) buds and wilted shoots. Conifers that narrowly survive drought stress may have compromised defenses and be more susceptible to attack by bark beetles or other insects. Drought stress can also increase symptoms of otherwise minor foliar diseases.

Internet searches for information on dying hemlocks may raise concerns about a non-native, sap-feeding insect known as hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). HWA has caused severe damage to hemlocks in the eastern U.S., however, western hemlocks are tolerant of this pest and rarely suffer significant damage. Hemlock defoliation by HWA will look similar to drought symptoms, except that a tree with HWA will have twigs covered with tiny clusters of white, cottony “wool,” which HWA exudes to protect itself and its eggs.


Woolly clusters of Hemlock Woolly Adelgids

Weather events can also trigger drought symptoms in mountainous areas. Earlier this year on the west slopes of Snoqualmie Pass, hot, dry easterly winds increased desiccation in Douglas-fir and other conifers. Also in the Snoqualmie Pass area, distinct patterns of brown trees can be seen in elevational bands and in low drainages where inversions of unseasonably warm air alternate with freezing night temperatures to cause desiccation. Desiccation does not typically harm unopened buds; trees may lose older foliage but will likely recover.

Consider monitoring conifer trees for a normal flush of green buds this spring—a positive sign that trees may survive and continue to grow. A drought damaged tree that retains most of its foliage is likely to recover with improving weather conditions. Western hemlock is less tolerant of foliage loss than other conifers. If more than half of the foliage is lost, a hemlock may not survive. Surviving conifer trees should also be monitored for evidence of bark beetle attack.

By Glenn Kohler, DNR Forest Entomologist

New Seminar for 2016: Quality Trees, Quality Cities

May 10, 2016

“Quality Trees, Quality Cities”

The first offering of this program begins May 11 at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, Washington. Seats are still available for this and all other seminars between now and October. Read on:

Communities are cleaner, healthier and more livable when trees and other public assets are well cared for. Adopting best practices for trees can improve the quality of your city while saving time and money.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources Urban & Community Forestry Program presents the seminar “Quality Trees, Quality Cities” to outline how something as simple as proper tree care can cost-effectively improve the health, quality of life and vibrancy of your community.

Topics discussed include:

  • Industry-accepted best practices for landscape tree care such as planting, pruning, etc.
  • Principles of tree selection, planning, and planting the right tree in the right place
  • Roles of city departments, public utilities, citizens and other stakeholders in managing trees
  • Strategies to maintain and manage trees with limited resources
  • High and hidden costs associated with deferred maintenance, and how to avoid them
  • Connecting tree and landscape care with other efforts to improve the quality of your city
spokane urban forest

Proper tree care can help improve cities. Photo by Guy Kramer

The seminar is free. Lunch is not provided; attendees must bring their own.

To reserve a seat at the seminar, please reply to  no later than 4:00 p.m. on the last Friday prior to the seminar you wish to attend. Please indicate which seminar you will attend (see dates below) and include your name and title. Multiple reservations may be made in one message; please include all names and titles in the body of the message.

Registration is limited to 30 participants. Details including an agenda and parking information will be provided to registrants in the week prior to each seminar. Please forward this announcement to others in your area who may find it useful.

Join us at this no-cost seminar to learn more about managing your community trees and forests for maximum benefit. Upcoming seminars include:

Vancouver: Wednesday, May 11, 8:30-1:00

Richland: Wednesday, June 1, 8:30-1:00

Bellevue: Tuesday, June 21, 8:00-12:30

Mount Vernon: Wednesday, July 20, 8:30-1:00

Poulsbo: Wednesday, August 10, 8:30-1:00

Spokane: Wednesday, August 24, 8:30-1:00

Olympia: Wednesday, September 28, 8:30-1:00

Wenatchee: Thursday, October 27, 8:30-1:00

Please contact me if you have questions or concerns.

Ben Thompson

Urban Forestry Specialist

Washington State Department of Natural Resources