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Quote of the Month — July

July 9, 2015

“The fire danger now is unlike any we’ve seen in a long time, if ever. We need to be prepared for the possibility of an unprecedented fire season.”

~Washington State Governor Jay Inslee

“Our forests and grasslands are so dry that once a fire starts, it will be more difficult to suppress. We need to take all precautionary steps possible, and residents should do whatever they can to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires.”

~Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark

 

These quotes excerpted from a joint news release issued on June 26th, 2015: 

GOVERNOR INSLEE AND COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC LANDS GOLDMARK TAKE STEPS TO REDUCE WILDFIRE RISK 

 

Coordinator’s Corner — July

July 9, 2015

During the hot days of summer, the shade of an urban tree can help us feel so much cooler. Protected from the direct rays of the sun, temperatures under a shade tree are reduced by many degrees. One group found a difference of 5-15 degrees less over lawn areas and 35 degrees less than an unshaded parking lot. The ‘experiment’ took place at a County Fair. What a great way to get the community involved in the benefits of urban trees.

What are you sitting on, as you relax in the shade? It might be the ground, a hammock, or it could be a chair. The Cities of Puyallup and Olympia will soon have wooden benches crafted from urban wood for residents to sit upon.

cedar creek bench 2

Bench milled and built by Cedar Creek Correctional facility for the City of Puyallup. Photo by DNR

The benches are made from urban wood processed at Cedar Creek Corrections Center by DNR Camp Crews. DNR Camp Crews support fire suppression activities as fire fighters or work as kitchen crews to feed hundreds of hungry firefighters on site. When not working in suppression activities, inmates can be involved in other activities including urban wood processing, forestry, and restoration work. Wood donated from cities is milled, dried and crafted into a variety of items, some of which are returned to donors. The rest is donated to non-profit organizations.

CedarCreek Bench

Bench milled and built by Cedar Creek Correctional facility for the City of Olympia. Photo by DNR

Urban forests are dynamic. At the end of a safe, useful life, trees can continue to provide benefits through the beauty and utility of their wood. Cities not only benefit from the by-products, but in doing so avoid adding to the waste stream and carbon into our atmosphere (in the form of smoke, if wood is used as fuel).

The pilot wood use project is a partnership between DNR UCF, DNR Camp Crews, and community wood donors. It is made possible with funding from the US Forest Service. If your city is within about 50 miles of Olympia, you can donate trees to the program, and reap the benefits. Give us a call.

 

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

DNR Officially Launches New Website

July 9, 2015

Ta-Daaaaa! DNR has officially launched a brand new website that is now more flexible and accessible.

You’ll use the same web address, www.dnr.wa.gov, to find the homepage, however, bookmarks or links to other pages will likely no longer work. Here are some direct links to the new site’s pages that you may want to make favorites or bookmark:

DNR is continuing to build and fine-tune the site, expecting that tweaks will be needed. If you have a suggestion, please share it with us at webmaster@dnr.wa.gov.

 

WSNLA Partners to Replant Homes Impacted by Wildfire

July 9, 2015

Washington Community Tree Recovery Campaign Delivers Environmental & Personal Healing

On July 14, 2014, lightning sparked four separate wildfires in Okanogan County, Washington. These fires merged together and produced the Carlton Complex Fire—the largest recorded fire in Washington’s history. The Carlton Complex Fire burned 256,108 acres and caused an estimated $98 million in damage. It destroyed over 300 homes and wreaked havoc on the area’s beautiful tree canopy.

The Washington Community Tree Recovery Campaign is a partnership between the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association (WSNLA), the Okanogan Conservation District, the Methow Conservancy and the Arbor Day Foundation. This multi-year effort will focus on distributing new trees to Washington residents who have lost so much of their urban canopy to this massive blaze. These trees will help renew their sense of community and restore hope to those who have lost so much. With your help, these rural Washington towns can once again enjoy the beautiful tree-lined streets they have always known. Click here to read more about this partnership effort. 

Help the people of Okanogan County replant their tree canopy and recover from Washington’s largest recorded fire.

 

Poll: Tree Protection During Development

July 9, 2015

Several Washington cities have contacted our office in the past year or so with questions and concerns about tree protection during the land development process.

This begs the question… how do the Tree Link readers feel about tree protection efforts in their community? Please check out the following poll and select the answer that most closely represents your opinion about local tree protection efforts where you live (or work).

Your answers are completely anonymous and your participation in the poll helps to inform the DNR Urban & Community Forestry Program’s understanding of the issue on a broader scale.

Emerald Ash Borer Monitoring Efforts in Washington

July 9, 2015

Each year throughout Washington, the State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) conducts visual and trap surveys for a potentially destructive exotic insect known as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The following FAQ’s on Emerald Ash Borer were submitted by Pest Biologist Jenni Cena with WSDA:

Emerald Ash Borer. Image from http://www.emeraldashborer.info

What is Emerald Ash Borer? Agrilus planipennis, an invasive wood boring insect from Asia, that was first detected in North America in 2002.

How did Emerald Ash Borer get to North America? No one knows for sure, however it is suspected to have hitched a ride in wooden crating material used during an overseas shipment.

Where is Emerald Ash Borer in North America currently? EAB is known to exist in 24 states and parts of Eastern Canada, with Colorado being the most recent and the westernmost state to confirm the presence of EAB.

How does Emerald Ash Borer move around? EAB can fly up to ½ mile and has been artificially spread by the movement of infested nursery stock, firewood, or other wood products.

What does Emerald Ash Borer look like? EAB adults are ½ inch metallic green oval shaped beetle.

Why does WSDA survey for Emerald Ash Borer? EAB will infest and kill healthy true ash, Fraxinus sp.

What signs and symptoms does WSDA visually survey for in ash? WSDA looks for symptoms such as flagging limbs or dead branches, suckering at the trunk flare and signs such as galleries under cracked bark and/or D-shaped exit holes.  

Where can ash be found in Washington? Washington’s native ash, oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia) can be found throughout SW Washington. Also, other types of ash trees, typically cultivars of white ash (F. americana) and green ash (F. pennsylvanica), have been commonly planted as ornamental shade trees in parks and along streets in cities and towns throughout Washington.

EAB Trap

An EAB purple prism trap. Photo provided by WSDA.

How does WSDA trap for Emerald Ash Borer? WSDA places purple prism sticky traps in ash trees from May to September.  Traps are inspected several times for EAB. So far, EAB has not been found in Washington.

How can you help?  If you suspect EAB call 1-800-443-6684.  For more EAB information go to: http://emeraldashborer.info

 

New Extension Site Offers Updates, Conservation Tips for Dry Year

July 9, 2015
http://drought.wsu.edu

A new WSU Extension website is devoted helping state residents and farmers handle a dry year.

Let’s face it. Washington is in a drought. And there is a lot that we can do about it – with help from the just-launched WSU Extension’s drought website.

Developed by WSU Agricultural Weather Network Program (AgWeatherNet) and WSU Extension, the WSU Extension Drought Website shares timely updates and a wealth of water conservation information to help state residents and farmers handle a dry year – and perhaps beyond.

“We are all dependent on our waters,” said Gerrit Hoogenboom, AgWeatherNet director. “The long range weather outlook continues to suggest enhanced odds of warmer and perhaps drier than normal conditions for Washington through early 2016.”

That’s why the drought website was developed: To provide farmers, ranchers, homeowners, foresters and the general public with research-based publications, drought updates, useful links, as well as news on drought-related issues. Topics covered include conservation tips for the home and garden, irrigation management, forestry, crops and livestock.

A Drought Basics page helps residents understand what happens in a drought. There’s also a Washington Drought Twitter feed, where you can sign up to follow updates, and a link to AgWeatherNet, which operates 160 automated weather stations in Washington and Oregon and helps farmers plan and react to weather.

Drought begins

The current drought began last winter. Although Washington had average to above-average precipitation this year, there has been significantly less snowpack due to higher-than-normal temperatures. This in turn affects water supplies for irrigation and stream flows that depend on melting snowpack throughout the summer and early fall. According to AgWeatherNet, Washington may not only be facing a low water-supply situation, but also higher demand, since water may evaporate more in warmer, drier conditions.

Link to more information

Learn more about Washington’s water including water quality resources, publications and updates on the latest research at WSU Extension’s Washington Water website.

By Bob Simmons, program  leader, WSU Extension Water Resources. This article was reprinted as it originally appeared in DNR’s Forest Stewardship Notes

Register Today: Asset Management for Community Trees Seminar

July 9, 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 expected, 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, other public employees, non-profit staff, and community volunteers are welcome to attend. No International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) continuing education units will be offered, but we are pursuing and intend to offer certification maintenance credits for American Institute of Certified Planners (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 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:

  • July 28: Vancouver; Southwest Washington
  • 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

Help! I think my Ponderosa Pine is dying!

July 9, 2015

Many landowners throughout eastern Washington have noticed that some of the ponderosa pine in and around their stand look rather unhealthy this spring. From afar it appears as if these trees are dead or dying, but upon closer inspection, you may find that this is not the case.

Much of the current damage we are seeing in ponderosa pine is due to red band needle blight (i.e. Dothistroma Needle Blight). Red band needle blight is a fungus that infects the needles of ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine. Needles typically become infected in the spring during warm, moist weather. The first evidence of infection occurs in autumn in the form of a dark-colored band encircling the infected needle. The following spring (a year later), the tips of the needles that have been infected will turn yellow. If you look closely, you will notice that the bases of the infected needles are green, while the tips are yellow and in-between the two colors there is a dark band. By summer time, these needles will turn brown and drop prematurely. Although this damage looks concerning, red band needle blight rarely kills trees.

The needles on my pine tree are green at the base and yellow at the tip, but there is no banding

Damage similar to that of red band needle blight has also occurred over this past winter. It is believed that the damage being seen is due to temperature fluctuations. In October and November 2014, the temperatures were unusually warm for several weeks. The sudden dive into the teens overnight in mid-November may have killed the tips of ponderosa pine needles on some trees. This damage looks just like red band needle blight; needles are yellow at the tips and green at the base, but the band that typifies red band needle blight is absent.

 red band needle blight

Damage to needles cause by red band needle blight (left) and potential winter damage (right). Notice the red band in the needles affected by red band needle blight. Photo: Melissa Fischer/DNR.

My ponderosa pine has many dead tips

In addition to red band needle blight, a tip blight (Sphaeropsis) has also been prevalent in ponderosa pine. In the case of tip blight, you may see dead tips scattered throughout the crown of your pine tree. When you break open the buds on these tips, they will be dead. Additionally, the needles on these tips may appear stunted and there may be small, black dots on both the needles and stem. These black dots are the fungus’ fruiting bodies. Similar to red band needle blight, tip blight rarely causes mortality.

Ponderosa pine with dead tips

Ponderosa pine with dead tips

Tip blight in ponderosa pine.

Tip blight in ponderosa pine. Notice the stunted needles (left) and the fruiting bodies (black dots) on the needles (right). Photo: Melissa Fischer/DNR.

Damage caused by western gall rust can also result in dead tips scattered throughout the crown. Western gall rust can be differentiated from tip blight through the galls found on the branches of the dead tips. The galls kill the tips of branches by restricting the movement of water.

Western gall rust on ponderosa pine

Western gall rust on ponderosa pine. Photo: Melissa Fischer/DNR

Should trees infected with red band needle blight, tip blight, or western gall rust be removed?

It is possible for ponderosa pine infected with any of these fungi to die if they are already stressed by some other factor such as drought or if they continue to be re-infected for several years in a row. Additionally, infected trees are sometimes attacked by bark beetles. But more than likely, these trees will re-foliate this spring and recover; therefore, it would be best to wait and see how your trees fare.

western pine beetle infestation

Ponderosa pine that died from a western pine beetle infestation. Photo: Melissa Fischer/DNR.

If you feel inclined to treat, there are several management techniques that may be helpful. Tip blight and gall rust infections can be pruned out. It is best to wait until fall to do your pruning, as volatiles from the cut branches may attract Ips bark beetles. If you have seedlings and saplings infected with western gall rust on the main stem, they will likely die, as stem galls typically girdle these smaller trees. In larger trees, a gall on the stem (often called a hip canker) may predispose trees to wind breakage. Trees with galls on the stem should be removed. If the site is droughty, you may want to consider watering infected trees if at all possible. Thinning is helpful in areas where trees are dense, as this allows the residual trees to obtain more water, sunlight, and nutrients. If you decide to thin your stand, focus on the least healthy trees for removal. For high value trees infected with red band needle blight or tip blight, fungicides can be used during budbreak to help protect against re-infection.

How do I know for sure bark beetles are not causing the damage I am seeing?

Galleries of western pine beetle

Galleries of western pine beetle under the bark of ponderosa pine. Photo: Melissa Fischer/DNR.

When bark beetles kill ponderosa pine, the needles typically turn red throughout the entire length of the crown. Additionally, the bases of the individual needles do not stay green when a tree is dying from bark beetle attack. Bark beetles also leave other telltale signs of their presence, such as pitch tubes and frass on the outside of the bark, and galleries under the bark. Pitch tubes form on the outer bark when the bark beetles attempt to bore into the tree. These pitch tubes are formed with resin, which can drown beetles as they attempt to gain access to the tree. Frass is a mixture of wood and beetle feces that is often seen on the cracks and crevices of the outer bark. Galleries are found under the bark and are tunnels formed by adult beetles and their larvae in the tree’s phloem (vascular tissue that conducts sugars and other metabolic products downward from the leaves).

If you have concerns or have further questions regarding the damage you are seeing on your ponderosa pines, contact a specialist at WSU or the Washington State DNR.

By Melissa Fischer, forest health specialist, Northeast Region, Washington State Department of Natural Resources. This article was reprinted as it originally appeared in DNR’s Forest Stewardship Notes

Web-ucation: Links to Help You Learn

July 9, 2015

Washington Department of Ecology Launches 2015 Drought Response Website
DOE is working on drought relief in river basins in all four of Ecology’s regions. Ecology’s drought relief work has been focused on relieving hardships for farmers facing water shortages and working with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife in taking action now to prevent fish passage problems resulting from low stream flows. Learn more.

Urban vegetation is good for your health
The Green Cities: Good Health website offers summaries and links to peer-reviewed research citing the benefits of urban vegetation to public health. Or, if you’re more a visual learner, watch the video.

Support for U&CF from Washington’s Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC)
Did you know that MRSC website has an entire page dedicated to urban forestry? Forward this link to others in your community as proof that many Washington cities have embraced urban forest management and that you’re not simply a kooky treehugger with an agenda.

Sustaining America’s Urban Trees and Forests
This 28-page report from the USDA Forest Service was published in 2010 and concisely summarizes the importance of, need for, and challenges associated with sustaining our urban forests. Think of it like a quick “urban forestry 101″ with vivid images to support its themes.

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“.

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.

July Calendar of Events, Activities and Opportunities

July 9, 2015

July 14: Common Tree Problems Workshop

When: Tuesday, July 14; 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: North Central Regional Library & Riverfront Park, 16 N. Columbia St., Wenatchee, WA 98801

Cost: $10.00, however lunch is not provided.

For more information, contact pdinius@wsu.edu

July 20-22: Tree Risk Assessor Qualification (TRAQ) Course and Exam

When: Monday, July 20 – Wednesday, July 22

Where: University of Washington, Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98105

Additional information

July 24: Developing Field Assessment Skills for Common PNW Tree Diseases 

When: Friday, July 24, 9:00 am – 4:15 pm

Where: Mercer Island Community Center, 8236 Southeast 24th Street, Mercer Island, WA 98040

Additional information

July 28: First Annual Southwest Washington Urban Forestry Seminar: Asset Management for Community Trees

When: Tuesday, July 28; 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Where: Vancouver, WA

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

For more information or to RSVP for this seminar, contact urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov

August 8-12: “Where the Trees Meet the Seas” – 2015 ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show

When: Saturday, August 8 – Wednesday, August 12

Where: Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, FL

Additional information: Please visit www.isa-arbor.com.

August 25: First Annual Olympic Peninsula Urban Forestry Seminar: Asset Management for Community Trees

When: Tuesday, August 25; 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Where: Poulsbo, WA

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

For more information or to RSVP for this seminar, contact urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov

August 27: First Annual Northwest Washington Urban Forestry Seminar: Asset Management for Community Trees

When: Thursday, August 27; 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Where: Mount Vernon, WA

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

For more information or to RSVP for this seminar, contact urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov

August 27-29: Farwest Show

When: Thursday, August 27 – Saturday, August 29

Where: Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR

Additional information: Please visit www.farwestshow.com.