Posts Tagged ‘trees’

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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DNR weekend reading: Sea star die-off, aquaculture safety, forest health and other topics

December 28, 2013
Clover Flats

This outhouse at Clover Flats Campground in the Ahtanum State Forest (Yakima County) was buried under several feet of snow last year. Check to see what’s open before you go, and don’t forget your Discover Pass. Photo: DNR.

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:

Scientific American: Clues Sought for Sea Star Die-Off
From California to Alaska, researchers are searching for the cause of a mysterious and unprecedented die-off of sea stars along North America’s Pacific shores.

University of Illinois at Chicago: Emerald ash borer may have met its match
Woodpeckers find emerald ash borers a handy food source and may slow the spread of this noxious pest, even ultimately controlling it, suggest researchers.

NOAA: Coastal ocean aquaculture can be environmentally sustainable
Specific types of fish farming can be accomplished with minimal or no harm to the coastal ocean environment as long as proper planning and safeguards are in place, concludes researchers at National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

Michigan Tech: Why it Snows so Much in the Frozen North
Scientists have long puzzled over the seemingly ceaseless drizzle of snow drifting down from arctic clouds. Now they may have an explanation.

USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station: Study Shows Reforestation along Rivers and Streams in Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Reduces Sediment Runoff
A modeling study shows that reforesting the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley can significantly reduce runoff from agricultural lands and the amount of sediment entering the area’s rivers and streams — and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

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No, we don’t have any Christmas trees for you to cut (but we know where to find them)

December 20, 2013
Webster Nursery

Sorry, no Christmas trees here. Most of the 8 million to 10 million seedlings raised each year at DNR’s Webster Forest Nursery (shown here) are used to replant state trust lands after timber harvests. A limited number are sold in bundles of 100 to private forest landowners. Photo: DNR.

We know that for many of you, going out into the woods to cut your own Christmas tree is a grand tradition. While there are many lovely trees in state trust forests, DNR does not allow them to be cut down for Christmas trees. We don’t mean to be Scrooges, but the trust forests in DNR’s care are intended for sustainably managed habitat, clean water, and revenue to the beneficiaries of state trusts, such as public schools, state universities, and public services, such as libraries and emergency medical services, in many counties.

When we hold timber auctions, we seek the highest return to fund these many trust beneficiaries, which means waiting until the trees reach maturity.

Fortunately, there are many places on federal lands where you can legally cut your own Christmas tree for a small fee. Contact your local US Forest Service Office, or support your local private tree farm:

National Forests

Private tree farms

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4 tips to prepare your trees for winter

December 11, 2013
pink dogwood covered in ice

This pink dogwood is covered in ice. Will it survive?

Believe it or not, your trees need care throughout the winter to maintain their health.

Even though urban trees are now going into dormancy, they require attention throughout the winter to stay strong.

Here are 4 tips to follow:

  • Wrap the trunk. Some recently planted, thin-barked trees like honey locust, ash, maple and linden, are susceptible to bark-damaging sunscald and frost cracks when temperatures fluctuate in fall and winter. Wrap trunks of younger trees up to the first branches using commercial tree wrap to protect the bark. Remember to take the wrap off once weather warms in the spring.


Precommercial thinning of tree stands… like a haircut but on a much larger scale

November 18, 2013
Red alder in SW Washington

Chris Rasor, a DNR Reforestation Coordinator, inspects a 7-year-old red alder plantation in southwest Washington that is ready for pre-commercial thinning. Pre-commercial thinning — selective removal of some trees, primarily to improve the growth rate or health of the remaining trees — is regulated under the state’s Forest Practices Rules. DNR manages more than 2 million acres of forested state trust lands under a Habitat Conservation Plan agreement with the federal government that adds additional forest practices guidelines and reporting requirements. Photo: Florian Deisenhofer/DNR.

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DNR weekend reading: Elwha restoration update, CO2 trends and sleepy trees

November 2, 2013
Abercrombie Mountain

Fall scenery near Abercrombie Mountain (elev. 7308) in northeast Washington State. Photo: Dale Danell/DNR.

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:

environment360: The Ambitious Restoration of An Undammed Western River
With the dismantling of two dams on Washington state’s Elwha River, the world’s largest dam removal project is almost complete. Now, in one of the most extensive U.S. ecological restorations ever attempted, efforts are underway to revive one of the Pacific Northwest’s great salmon rivers.

Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency: Trends in global CO2 emissions: 2013 report
the increase in global CO2 emissions in that year slowed down to 1.1% (or 1.4%, not accounting the extra day in the leap year), which was less than half the average annual increase of 2.9% over the last decade. This development signals a shift towards less fossil-fuel-intensive activities, more use of renewable energy and increased energy saving

Technische Universitaet Muenchen: Warm Winters Let Trees Sleep Longer
Since warmer winters can be expected as the climate changes, the spring development phase for many typical forest trees might start later and later – giving an advantage to shrubs and invasive trees from warmer climates that don’t depend on the cold as factor to time their spring regrowth.

North Carolina State University: Listen Up: Oysters May Use Sound to Select a Home
Oysters begin their lives as tiny drifters, but when they mature they settle on reefs. New research from North Carolina State University shows that the sounds of the reef may attract the young oysters, helping them locate their permanent home.


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DNR weekend reading: Why injured trees don’t ‘bleed’ to death; stressed out salmon; and other stories

September 28, 2013
Willapa Bay sunrise

A late August sunrise over Willapa Bay in western Washington. DNR manages many tideland leases for aquaculture in Willapa Bay — one of the richest shellfish areas in the world. Photo: Craig Zora/DNR.

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:

Virginia Tech University: Why don’t trees ‘bleed’ to death when they get injured?
Using a powerful new type of microscope, scientists have discovered how “check valves” in wood cells control sap flow and protect trees when they are injured. The knowledge may lead to better ways of extracting natural chemicals from wood to make products ranging from medicinal polymers to sugars that are the basis for bioenergy systems.

Aarhus University (Denmark): Uphill for the trees of the world
You may need to get out your mountain boots to go for a walk in the woods in the future. A new study shows that forests are to an increasing extent growing on steep slopes all over the world.

The Earth Institute/Columbia University: Wind and Rain Belts to Shift North as Planet Warms, Says Study
As human activity continues to heat the planet, a northward shift of Earth’s wind and rain belts could make a broad swath of regions drier, including the Middle East and American West, while making monsoon Asia and equatorial Africa wetter, says a new study

Science Daily: Improving Salmon’s Success in the Wild and Aquaculture
Have you ever been stressed and forgot what you were doing? Chronic mild stress may explain why many wild salmon don´t return to our rivers and why 20% of farmed salmon production is lost every year.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): NREL Calculates Emissions and Costs of Power Plant Cycling Necessary for Increased Wind and Solar in the West
New research quantifies the potential impacts of increasing wind and solar power generation on the operators of fossil-fueled power plants in the West. To accommodate higher amounts of wind and solar power on the electric grid, utilities must ramp down and ramp up or stop and start conventional generators more frequently to provide reliable power for their customers — a practice called cycling.

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DNR weekend reading: Will climate change put tree species in the ‘fast lane’?

September 14, 2013

Native eel grass, like this clump seen in a Puget Sound tidal pool, is an indicator of the health of aquatic areas. Photo: DNR

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics:

Duke University: Climate Change May Speed Up Forests’ Life Cycles
Instead of migrating northward via seed dispersal to cooler climates as predicted, trees in most forests are responding to a warming climate by staying in place – but speeding up their life cycles.

European Geosciences Union: Tiny plankton could have big impact on climate
As the climate changes and oceans’ acidity increases, tiny plankton seem set to succeed. While the smallest plankton groups would thrive under elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, that could cause an imbalance in the food web as well as decrease ocean CO2 uptake, an important regulator of global climate.

University of Maryland: Scientists find “fingers” of heat below Earth’s surface
Scientists have used seismic waves to detect previously unknown “fingers” of heat, some thousands of miles long, in Earth’s upper mantle. This helps explain the “hotspot volcanoes” that give birth to island chains such as Hawaii and Tahiti.

Dept. of Energy/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Climate benefit for cutting soot, methane smaller than previous estimates
Cutting the amount of short-lived, climate-warming emissions such as soot and methane in our skies won’t limit global warming as much as previous studies have suggested, a new analysis shows.

Scientific American: Crop Pests Spreading North with Global Warming
Crop pests and diseases are moving towards the poles at about the same speed as warmer temperatures. New findings suggest that climate change is driving their relocation, and raises major concerns about food security.

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DNR weekend reading: Urban trees save lives; Purple sea urchins may outwit ocean acidification; and more

June 22, 2013
Douglas fir burn scars

Older Douglas-fir trees (center) still show scars from the massive Yacolt Burn wildfire of 1902 in southwest Washington state. Photo: Florian Deisenhofer/DNR.

Here are links to articles about natural resources, climate, energy and other topics published recently by universities, scientific journals, organizations, and other sources:

US Forest Service, Northern Research Station: Study Finds Urban Trees are Removing Fine Particulate Air Pollution, Saving Lives
The ability of trees to remove fine particulate air pollution — associated with premature mortality, pulmonary inflammation, accelerated atherosclerosis, and other illnesses — saves an average of one life every year per city, concludes a U.S. Forest Service study of urban forests in 10 major U.S. cities.

UC Santa Barbara: Rapid Adaptation Is Purple Sea Urchins’ Weapon Against Ocean Acidification
In the race against climate change and ocean acidification, some sea urchins may still have a few tricks up their spiny sleeves, suggesting that adaptation will likely play a large role for the sea creatures as the carbon content of the ocean increases.

Bonn University: The contribution of particulate matter to forest decline
Air-bourne pollution containing large amounts of particulate matter appears to attack the protective wax-like coating on tree leaves and needles — a factor that lowers a tree’s resistance to drought and which may be a cause of forest decline around the world.  (more…)

Tell Dad to ‘Take a Hike’

June 14, 2013

Enjoy a picnic in the wildflowers and sunshine for Father’s Day, International Picnic Day, and the Summer Solstice this week. Photo: DNR

…A nature hike that is.

This Father’s Day, show Dad how much you appreciate him with a Discover Pass and treat him to a special trip to one of our recreation sites, and once… just this once… let him beat you up the trail!

 You and Dad can visit one of the treasured sites on DNR-managed state lands (below) for a day or just a couple of hours this weekend—and discover your favorite summer hang-out. Read on for great ideas to get Dad hiking… (more…)


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