Archive for the ‘Forests’ Category

The Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area awarded for restoring urban forest in Centralia

February 14, 2014
Award recipients from left to right: Emil Pierson, Lisa Carlson, Judy Bell, Brian Mittge, Barbara Fandrich, Sheila Gray, Bill Moeller, Bruce Craig, David Underwood, and Joe Scorcio

Award recipients from left to right: Emil Pierson, Lisa Carlson, Judy Bell, Brian Mittge, Barbara Fandrich, Sheila Gray, Bill Moeller, Bruce Craig, David Underwood, and Joe Scorcio

These are friends you want in your backyard! They pull ivy, plant native plants, build trails, and restore natural areas.

Recently, the Friends of the Seminary Hill were recognized for exceptional public service through their extraordinary volunteer efforts with the City of Centralia in Seminary Hill Natural Area.

The Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area have pulled miles and miles of English ivy over the years to preserve the wildland character of this exceptional hidden jewel.

Native plants are growing where there was once a forest of ivy. Volunteers have built trails, installed steps on steep slopes, closed paths to reduce erosion, developed signs and maps, and even graveled a small parking lot in coordination with city staff.

Many events are held throughout the year including wildflower walks, poetry walks, bird watching and children’s activities. The Seminary Hill Natural Area is also an outdoor classroom for several classes from nearby Centralia College.

The Washington Community Forestry Council believes in recognizing those who have made exemplary contributions to urban forestry. Through this award program, the Council provides individuals, businesses and organizations with well-deserved recognition for preserving, planting, and managing forests and trees for public benefits and quality of life.

Many of the founding members of the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area are still actively involved: Sandy and Robert Godsey still provide refreshments for work parties, as well as write the newsletters; Bill Moeller, who signed Seminary Hill into existence as a City Natural Area when he was Mayor of Centralia in 1981; Stellajoe Staebler, as a Girl Scout leader, helped build awareness of the natural area for many years; along with many other long-term committed volunteers.

Upcoming public events include an Earth Day cleanup on April 26. For more information, please email goseminaryhill@gmail.com.

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Dr. R. James Cook, longtime researcher with WSU, receives high honor from Washington State Senate

February 5, 2014
Commissioner Peter Goldmark, Dr. R. James Cook, and Dr. Robert Edmonds present at a senate hearing.  PHOTO: Diana Lofflin

Commissioner Peter Goldmark, Dr. R. James Cook, and Dr. Robert Edmonds present at a senate hearing.
PHOTO: Diana Lofflin

Yesterday, Dr. R. James Cook of Washington State University was honored by the Washington State Senate for his distinguished research career as a plant pathologist.

Senate Resolution 8677, sponsored by Senator Jim Hargrove, outlines Dr. Cook’s multifaceted career from his time as Chief Scientist with the US Department of Agriculture to his 40-year career at Washington State University, where he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Cook spent his career pursuing cutting-edge research in plant pathology and crop and soil science, revolutionizing how agriculture approaches crop productivity and disease management.

Most recently, Dr. Cook headed a study to better understand root rot diseases that threaten Douglas fir, which is a vital economic and ecological resource in Washington. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark requested the study from the Academy of Sciences because very little is understood about laminated root rot. The disease can reduce timber yield in forests by 5-15 percent, which translates to more than $10 million in losses over a 2-year period.

In addition to some 200 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters, Dr. Cook has co-authored two books: Biological Control of Plant Pathogens and Wheat Health Management. In 1988, he led the team of researchers at Washington State University that made the first field test of a genetically modified organism in the Pacific Northwest, which was a microorganism for root disease control on wheat.

Among many other honors Dr. Cook has received over the course of his career, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and continues to support the agricultural sciences through this organization.

Dr. Cook is most admired for his commitment in sharing scientific knowledge with everyone – students, farmers, policy makers, and the general public.

Check out the photos on DNR’s Flickr site.

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Trees get cold too; don’t let winter kill them

February 5, 2014
Properly prune your trees to avoid breaking limbs in the winter. Trees don't need snow on them to become hazardous.  PHOTO: Dena Scroggie

Properly prune your trees to avoid breaking limbs in the winter.
PHOTO: Dena Scroggie

Winter weather means frigid temperatures and icy winds in many parts of Washington. While we can choose to stay inside or bundle up and venture forth, trees don’t have that option; they withstand the elements as best they can. You can help your trees during this challenging part of the year by following a few suggestions offered by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

  • Put composted organic mulch under your tree in the fall or early winter to help retain water and reduce temperature extremes. A thin layer of mulch will act like a blanket and give the tree’s roots a little extra winter protection.
  • Give your trees a drink. Winter droughts require watering as much as summer droughts. If temperatures permit, an occasional watering during the winter on young trees can be a lifesaver. But be sure to water only when soil and trees are cool but not frozen.
  • Prune your trees. Winter is actually one of the best times to prune because it is easier to see the structure of the trees without their leaves. But limit pruning to deadwood and poorly placed branches in order to save as many living branches as possible. Learn how to prune correctly by taking a pruning class, reading a book, or visiting a website.
  • Prevent mechanical injuries. Branch breakage or splitting can be caused by ice and snow accumulation, or chewing and rubbing by animals. Prevent problems on young trees by shaking heavy snow or ice from branches and wrapping the base of trees in a hard, plastic guard or metal hardware cloth (metal flashing). Wrapping trees with burlap or plastic cloth also can prevent temperature damage. Just remember to remove the wraps and guards in the spring to prevent damage when the tree begins to grow again.

To get the best advice for tree care, contact a local certified arborist. For more information on tree education, visit www.treesaregood.com.

Learn how DNR helps communities manage and care for healthy urban forests.

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Urban and Community Forestry grants available now

February 2, 2014
City trees in downtown Olympia PHOTO by Guy Kramer

City trees in downtown Olympia
PHOTO by Guy Kramer

DNR‘s Urban and Community Forestry Program (UCF) 2014 grant applications are now available on our grant resources pageApplications are due by 4 p.m., February 28

UCF is offering three grant opportunities:

  • Community Forestry Assistance Grants.
  • Inventory Grants.
  • Tree Planting Grants – NOTE: these grants are limited to communities with current Tree City USA recognition or those that are applying to become a Tree City USA this year.

If your community is a Tree City USA, the announcement and links to applications were sent directly to your community’s Tree City USA contact.

Grants are offered in partnership with the US Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program. They may be awarded to local units of government, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, or tribal governments. Community tree volunteer groups and neighborhood associations, while not directly eligible to apply, are encouraged to develop their projects in conjunction with an eligible organization.

Visit our grant resources page for a list of projects funding in the past 10 years.

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Research shows importance of roadside tree lines

February 1, 2014
These trees are helping to decrease urban air pollution. PHOTO by Guy Kramer

These trees are helping to decrease urban air pollution. PHOTO by Guy Kramer

New research shows that trees planted along a city street screen residents from tiny particles that pollute urban air. Tree leaves can capture more than 50% of the particulate matter that’s a prime component of urban pollution and a trigger for disease.

Researchers want to understand how trees capture particles so that urban planners might eventually take advantage of these natural tools for mitigating pollution. Researchers at Lancaster University, in the U.K., wanted to get some numbers from a real-life situation that they could feed into the models, so they decided to study a row of eight houses without a tree screen on a busy street in Lancaster. From ACTrees http://actrees.org/

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Become a sponsor to students for Arbor Day tree plantings

January 29, 2014
Kids plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day.

Kids plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day.

Tree planting is more important than ever in our modern world of climate change and sustainable practices, and teaching our children to appreciate and love trees should be an important part of their education. Trees lock up carbon dioxide to help reduce global warming; and they not only provide the air that we breathe, but help to keep it clean, too.

A program has been designed to help school kids get involved in tree planting and related activities: Fourth Grade Foresters USA. In its first seven years, Fourth Grade Foresters USA, and the nearly 2,570 local sponsors the program has recruited, have provided more than 505,000 tree seedlings to fourth-graders in 46 states. As a sponsor, you are a partner in a school project that helps children understand the importance of trees and provides tree seedlings for them to plant at home.

Become a Washington State sponsor for Fourth Grade Foresters USA!

There are approximately 78,000 fourth-graders in Washington State. Through Fourth Grade Foresters USA, they can plant a forest of their own – a forest that will benefit everyone for generations to come.

If your community is a Tree City USA, participation in this project is a great addition to the four basic Tree City USA standards. Planting tree seedlings with fourth graders could be a fun part of your community’s Arbor Day observance, and the trees they plant will be a valuable addition to the urban forest.

Sponsors can include nearly everyone: individuals, civic organizations, real estate agents, investment advisors, insurance companies, conservation districts, green businesses—even banks!

There is absolutely no cost to the student, the teachers, the schools, or the school district. The individually packaged 12”-18” trees are available to sponsors for $1.79 per tree. Visit the Fourth Grade Foresters USA website to learn how YOU can encourage kids in your area to be good stewards of the forest we live in by properly planting trees!

For more information, visit: www.fourthgradeforestersusa.com. The deadline to participate in this project is March 3, 2014.

For more information or to participate in the project, please contact Sarah Henne at 402-475-5631 or email her at sarahhenne@fourthgradeforestersusa.com.

If you’re interested in becoming a Tree City USA, check out DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program website to learn more.

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Nominate your neighborhood woods for the Community Forest Trust

January 24, 2014
Teanaway Community Forest

Community Forest Trust nominations must be submitted by June 2. Photo by DNR

Do you think your community might be interested in turning those neighborhood woods into a forest managed for the community?

DNR is seeking local partners with proposals to turn working forest lands that are at risk of being lost or converted into Community Forests.

These partners could be cities, counties, land trusts, local foundations or other private groups. Learn more about the program to see if it fits your community.

Get started
We are now accepting applications for the Community Forest Trust through June 2, 2014.

Interested communities may download the request for nominations form. Included in the application is a checklist of materials you will need to submit and a timeline for evaluation of nominations.

To nominate a forest, you will need to gather maps, photos, letters of support from your community, and figure out funding details. (more…)

Don’t settle for false savings from cut-rate tree care that relies on ‘topping’

January 22, 2014
Topped Purple Leafed Plums

“With most of their leaves and food supply gone from topping, these purple leafed plum trees will quickly re-grow but with weakly attached limbs…very dangerous.

Topping a tree is bad for its health, but did you know it also causes you to work much harder at maintaining that tree’s excessive growth? This could be costly!

Topping is defined as severely cutting back or removing large branches in a mature tree. Some people believe that topping a tree will reduce the amount of time and money spent on tree care and maintenance. But look at the facts:

When large branches are cut back indiscriminately, a tree responds by quickly growing many branch shoots in order to replace the lost leaf surface, a tree’s food supply. The dense, bushy re-growth is very weakly attached to the main stem of the tree and grows so quickly that the new branches will often regain the tree’s original height in just two to three years. As the shoots grow larger, they increase in weight and must be pruned frequently in order to avoid potentially hazardous branch failures. The need for maintenance is increased – not decreased – and that means more of your time and money.

Expense of Tree Topping
The actual cost of topping is only the initial bill. Here’s why you’ll face more expenses in the long run after topping a tree:

  • The tree needs maintenance more often.
  • Poorly attached branches break off (possibly damaging something else).
  • The tree will die prematurely and will need to be removed and replaced.
  • Property values are reduced.
  • Liability is increased.
  • Research has shown that proper pruning techniques work with the trees’ biology, not      against it.

Mature trees may occasionally benefit from removal of dead wood and light branch thinning but, in general, they require correct, strategic pruning only every 5 to 10 years. Before pruning mature trees, consult a certified arborist to determine the best course of action for your tree. Make sure you ask for credentials and references. Also check that the company does not offer tree topping services.

Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Think before you plant. Research the maintenance requirements in order to select the perfect tree for your yard.

For more information on tree care, go to DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program website.

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Trees down? What you need to know before calling a tree care specialist

January 13, 2014
Wind with drenching rains can create hazardous trees. Photo: DNR

Wind with drenching rains can create hazardous trees. Photo: DNR

Does your yard resemble a ‘war zone’ of downed trees and limbs after the storm? The recent storm in Washington wreaked havoc on some trees, but DNR advises caution in dealing with the aftermath of the storm.

Arborists can be in great demand after a wind storm. With this past weekend’s high winds and rain-saturated soils, many healthy trees are affected. If you’re lucky, it is possible that the storm removed the weakest limbs from your trees, and all you need to do now is make a clean pruning cut and clean up the debris.

If you’re unlucky and you have hazardous trees and/or limbs, then you may need help.

Tips for dealing with tree service companies

Here are some tips for finding a tree service company to deal with downed or damaged trees from the aftermath of storms:

  • Hire a company that is licensed, bonded, insured and employs International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborists. Although Washington requires tree service companies to register with the state, they are not required to follow proper pruning standards. They don’t even have to demonstrate knowledge of tree pruning to obtain a license.
  • Look for an arborist whose name and company are familiar to your community, even if that means waiting longer for service.
  • Beware of people who go door-to-door offering to prune trees or remove storm damage; their low prices could prove costly. Most reputable companies have business cards, truck signs, and even uniforms that represent a professional level of service.
  • Ask for references, and take your time to select a reputable company. Avoid hiring anyone who will ‘top’ a tree.

Do you have an overgrown tree or one that presents problems? Remember to use proper pruning techniques, and whatever you do, please don’t top those trees. Doing so will cause extra maintenance and safety problems in the future.

Beware of any contract that wants to top your trees. Topping – removing large branches and tops of trees – creates future hazards. A topped tree is much more likely to break in a storm than a tree that has a normal branch structure.

Remember, not all arborists are certified. Avoid being scammed by tree care services. Find ISA-certified arborists in your area on the website of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.

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Look out for blustery weather…wind and rain raise risks of falling trees and branches

January 9, 2014
Hanukkah Eve Storm Damage 2006

When combined with saturated soil, large single trees – like these Douglas-fir that fell on an Olympia apartment complex during the Hanukah Eve Storm of December 2006 — are vulnerable to strong wind. Photo: City of Olympia.

Wind and rain are coming to our region Friday night and Saturday, and these storms can cause headaches for all of us. This means damage to trees and big bills if a tree or large limbs fall on your house or car.

See the National Weather Service Forecast for yourself:

Be aware of the problems that can be caused by soggy ground and strong winds. Tree branches could snap, and shallow-rooted trees could topple. This could cause local power outages, too. And people living along the rivers should pay close attention to the latest weather updates over the next several days.

We can’t prevent storms from coming into our area, but there are ways to reduce the damage winds can cause to trees. How? First of all, never top your trees. Second, keep them in great shape with regular maintenance. Proper pruning means careful cutting, not topping; smart staking; and thoughtful planting as this video about tree care explains.

 Hazardous trees should be removed before they or one of their limbs falls and damages property or a person. What are the tell-tale signs of a hazardous tree? See the Tree Hazards list.

More safety tips for storm season

 

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