Skip to content

Coordinator’s Corner — August

August 10, 2016

What is the return on investment for community trees? According to Wikipedia, a return on investment (ROI) is the benefit to an investor resulting from an investment of some resource. A more familiar way to state the question might be, ‘are we getting the best bang for our buck’ in terms of our investment in our community forests? Is the investment in trees worth the money and resources being spent to grow and maintain the community forest?

street trees

Healthy trees are worth the investment. Photo by Guy Kramer.

We know healthy trees provide a plethora of benefits, but the key to gaining those benefits is healthy trees. That takes an investment in time and resources. From planning, to planting, through long-term care, trees in our communities need help to become established. It is only then that they provide the benefits we expect from them. It takes an investment to assure we are receiving a return on investment. Research shows that for every $1 spent on tree care and maintenance, communities receive back over $2 in economic, social, and environmental benefits.

During the Pacific Northwest summer, July through September when we receive little to no moisture, it is particularly important to invest resources to water trees. Best practices for tree care considers the post planting tree establishment period to be two to three years. Most root growth occurs during the summer. Establishment means that many roots will have grown a distance equal to approximately 3 times the distance from the trunk to the branch tips (Gilman 1988;Watson and Himelick 1982).  When trees are provided sufficient water, they establish more quickly. With minimal or insufficient irrigation, or in dryer climates, roots grow more slowly and a tree takes longer to establish.

Past the establishment period, a tree may not need supplemental irrigation, but for recently planted trees, and for those that are being weaned off supplemental water, it is important to watch tree ‘body-language.’ If trees exhibit fall colors in July or August, if the margins of leaves are browning, if leaves look wilted, it is an indication that additional water is required.

Protect your investment. Establish, care for, and maintain trees, then watch the benefits and your return on investment grow.

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

Bigleaf Maple Decline, Update and Next Steps

August 10, 2016

This article is an update to those published by the Tree Link in October 2014, “Bigleaf Maple Dieback in Western Washington?” and the follow-up in September of 2015, ” What’s Going on with Bigleaf Maple?

What’s Going on with Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) this year?

DNR’s Forest Health staff continue to receive many calls and emails from concerned residents about the health of bigleaf maples. As in 2015, these contacts started in June and have progressively increased throughout the summer.

The question starts, “what is going on with the bigleaf maples?” followed closely by, “the trees look like they are dying,” or “my tree died.”

bigleaf north cascades

Bigleaf maple dieback in the northern Cascade Mountains of Washington state.

Forest pathologists at DNR have been investigating crown, branch and entire tree dieback of bigleaf maples since 2011 and the truth is, we know a lot about what isn’t causing the dieback, but don’t have a good handle on what is causing the dieback. To complicate matters, new leaf symptoms have appeared this year, leaving us with even more head scratching.

This year, we received funding from the federal Animal Plant Health Inspection Service in a cooperative grant between DNR and Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to process more samples in search of more agents that may be causing the dieback. There continues to be interest in Xylella fastidiosa, a plant pathogen bacterium that colonizes its host plant’s water-conducting system, the xylem, causing water stress in the host. We have tested for this pathogen in the past without any conclusive results but will continue investigating it.

bigleaf chlorotic

Chlorotic tipped and small leaves of bigleaf maple next to healthy, large green bigleaf maples leaves.

The most common symptoms we have tracked in previous years include crown, branch and entire tree dieback; clumps of shrunken leaves in the affected canopy; and heavy seed crops. This year, we are tracking and sampling from trees that have these symptoms, as well as a new symptom: leaves with yellow edges, red to brown tips and leaf hoppers. Leaves displaying these signs were found in isolated locations in previous years but seem to be widespread this year. These symptoms are similar to bigleaf maple damage observed in California and Oregon and the damage has been attributed to the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa in California. Leaf hoppers can act as a vector for microscopic organisms, like bacterium and viruses, but at this point we are unsure of the species of the leaf hopper or whether it is contributing to the dieback or leaf symptoms we are seeing this year or have seen in years past.

bigleaf leafhoppers

Leaf hopper caskins on the underside of symptomatic bigleaf maple leaves.

Through our work in previous years with cooperators like Washington State University, Oregon State University, WSDA, US Forest Service, and Oregon Department of Forestry, we have a pretty good idea about what isn’t causing the dieback. For example, we know that:

  • There are lots of Pythium ssp. (a common pathogen) out there but the most common are not pathogenic to bigleaf maple in soil tests.
  • There is a small amount of pathogenic Phytophthora associated with declining trees, but not enough to be the causal agent across the landscape.
  • Armillaria root disease and decay is contributing to some of the tree dieback, but not all of it.
  • The wilt disease Verticillium is not widespread and was not found in any of the samples in Washington.
  • Stem cankers caused by fungi like Neonectria or Nectria are sometimes present, but not enough to be causing the widespread damage.
  • Ganoderma, a causal agent of heartrot, is present in some cases but also is not causing widespread damage, though there are lots of foliar fungi out there that can cause discoloration in leaves.

In addition to our sample collections, Jake Betzen, a University of Washington graduate student, will work on this issue over the next two years. Jake. who was in the field with us during this year’s sampling, will focus his study on: 1)  surveying the spatial extent of bigleaf maple dieback and decline (BLMD) and record environmental, anthropogenic, and weather conditions that are associated with BLMD presence and absence; 2) using dendrochronological techniques to analyze and compare growth rates of healthy and symptomatic trees to further differentiate the potential roles of abiotic and biotic drivers of the decline; and 3) determining the spatial-temporal patterns associated with BLMD in western Washington.

Here’s a link to the report from the 2011 survey.

If you have any questions or comments about this project, please contact DNR Natural Resources Scientist Amy Ramsey at: amy.ramsey@dnr.wa.gov.

State Asks You to Check Trees for Invasive Forest Pests in August

August 10, 2016

This article reprinted from a news release issued by the Washington Invasive Species Council on August 8, 2016.

Four state agencies and a university are asking residents to check trees in their yards for harmful bugs as part of the national Tree Check Month in August.

August is the peak time of year to find invasive bugs like Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer and other aggressive wood-boring insects.

“Invasive insects can destroy Washington’s forests.” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “In Washington, more than 22 million acres of forests are at risk from invasive insects and disease. We need everyone’s assistance to prevent these damages in Washington State.”

The Washington Invasive Species Council, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and Washington State University Extension are asking residents to take ten minutes to go outside and inspect their trees. Invasive wood boring insects typically emerge from trees in August. Experts also suggests that all pool owners should check their pool skimmers and filters for the invasive bugs. Emerging adult insects often end up as debris collected in pool filters.

If residents see any invasive insects or signs, they should to take photographs and report the find immediately to the Washington Invasive Species Council website, where they can get an online reporting form or download the free WA Invasives mobile app.

ALB

Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis). Photo by Michael Bohne, Bugwood.org

“Initial infestations are difficult to detect, so early detection and reporting is critical to rapidly manage new populations,” Bush said. “Our state needs help finding new outbreaks so they can be contained quickly and eliminated.”

 

“Early detection and rapid response is the more effective and cost-efficient approach to managing new invasive species, whether because we have the opportunity to eradicate it or because we can take steps to quickly limit their impact,” said Dr. Chris Looney of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “Our own data show that the general public is an important source of first detections.”

First indications of invasive insect damage to trees include sudden die back or death among a group of like trees that are otherwise vigorous and healthy. If you see this, investigate further and look for sawdust, exit holes or actual beetles. You might help find one of these invasive species:

The Asian longhorned beetle is a large shiny black beetle with white spots. At this time of the year, adult beetles emerge from trees leaving large, circular exit holes about 3/8 inch in diameter. These beetles feed on many species, but maples are one of their favorites. Washington has a number of look-alike native beetles and it takes a trained eye to distinguish them, so residents are asked to provide any suspect beetles to one of the agencies mentioned above. If you see numerous shallow holes arranged in rows, this could be the result of sapsucker feeding and not a serious concern. More details on signs and symptoms can be found on this US Department of Agriculture webpage.

The emerald ash borer is a shiny, half-inch long, green metallic beetle. Adults begin flying in June and will continue through August as they emerge from ash trees, their primary host. Exit holes are about a quarter-inch wide and have a distinctive D-shape. A potential sign of an infested ash tree is heavy woodpecker feeding activity, as they search for larvae by removing the outer bark. More information can be found at emeraldashborer.info/.

eab

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). Photo by Debbie Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Need help recognizing suspicious beetles?

“Each county has a WSU Extension Office and Master Gardener Program that can help identify suspect beetles,” said Todd Murray, director for Washington State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resource Unit. “And if they can’t, they know the specialist to send it to. Master gardeners are often the first ones to recognize and report a newly introduced insect pest. Master gardener clinics receive a large number of insect samples at this time of year.”

“When it comes to the health of your trees, a few minutes checking them for insects can make a big difference,” Bush said.

For more information about invasive species, and ways to keep them from spreading on the Washington Invasive Species Council website or visit wise.wa.gov .

To report findings of invasive insect species, or for questions related to Asian longhorned beetle or emerald ash borer, please contact:

Justin Bush, Executive Coordinator, Washington Invasive Species CouncilWashington Recreation and Conservation Office, 360-902-3088
justin.bush@rco.wa.gov

or

Glenn Kohler, Forest Entomologist, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, 360-902-1342, glenn.kohler@dnr.wa.gov

DNR Burn Ban Expanded Statewide

August 10, 2016
Outdoor burning off limits through September 30

With the arrival of warm summer temperatures and below normal precipitation in western Washington, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has expanded its burn ban to cover the entire state.

The statewide burn ban will run from July 29 through September 30. A burn ban for DNR-protected lands in eastern Washington has been in effect since July 2. The ban may be extended or shortened based on fire weather.

“The arrival of summer weather creates greater danger for wildfires, which are serious threats to safety, property and habitat. We have already seen a number of roadside fires start on both sides of the Cascades,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We must be cautious and vigilant to minimize the damage to our state.”

The ban means outdoor burning is prohibited on all forestlands that DNR protects from wildfire. Anyone caught violating the burn ban can face fines. Prescribed ecological burns approved by DNR will be allowed if expressly approved by Commissioner Goldmark.

Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal and other campgrounds are allowed.

DNR’s burn ban does not apply to federally-owned lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges or other areas administered by federal agencies. Counties and local fire districts may have additional burn restrictions.

So far this year, DNR has had 408 wildfire starts throughout the state.

Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, sky lanterns, or tracer ammunition, are illegal on all DNR-protected forestlands.

See a copy of the Commissioner’s Order.

DNR’s wildfire mission 
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state, and tribal-owned forestlands in Washington. During fire season, DNR’s wildfire force includes more than 1,300 trained employees. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.

“Quality Trees, Quality Cities”; Only a few Seminars Remain in 2016

August 10, 2016

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 urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov  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:

 

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

360-902-1382; ben.thompson@dnr.wa.gov

Coordinator’s Corner–July

July 11, 2016

Last month Ben and I met Anna Heckman, Everett’s Urban Forester, for an on-the-streets walking tour of trees in the Everett central business district for the 2016 Association of Washington Cities conference. The take-home message on the tour was that well-planned and maintained street trees are assets to a city. During the tour and at our information booth we met mayors, city councilors, administrators and managers from communities across the state.

My City is a Tree City

A leftover sticker from the AWC conference in Everett

Throughout the conference we passed out stickers that read “My City is a Tree City, is Yours?” to representatives of current Tree City USA (TCUSA)-designated cities. The enthusiastic responses we received made it clear that city leaders are proud of both the TCUSA designation and the outstanding efforts by the staff and volunteers who make it happen.

City officials let us know that they understand the value of well-managed trees. They know that trees provide economic, environmental, and social benefits and make communities attractive destinations. Trees are a worthwhile investment and investing in trees is the way to grow healthy, safe, resilient, benefit-providing community forests.

Your efforts are noticed! Keep up the good work.

The Tree City USA program is coordinated by the Arbor Day Foundation at the national level but administered by DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry program here in Washington state. The oldest Tree City USA in Washington is Ellensburg (at 33 years and counting!) but nationally, Tree City USA celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

If your city is not a Tree City, consider beginning your journey toward tree management by applying for TCUSA recognition. Questions? We are here to help.

by Linden Lampman, program manager, coordinator, DNR Urban & Community Forest Program, linden.lampman@dnr.wa.gov 

“Quality Trees, Quality Cities” Seminar Coming to a City Near You

July 11, 2016

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.

DNR’s 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 urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov  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 will be:

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

360-902-1382; ben.thompson@dnr.wa.gov