Archive for the ‘Forests’ Category

Trees: a timeless gift to the future

April 29, 2016
Commissioner Goldmark shows kids how to plant a tree for National Arbor Day.

Commissioner Goldmark shows kids how to plant a tree for National Arbor Day.

Today is National Arbor Day, and we begin a new age with the planting of a western red cedar.

With help from Capitol Campus Child Care kids, Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark helped plant a young western red cedar today on the state’s Capitol Campus. It replaces a nearly 100 years old large western red cedar that was removed due to public safety concerns.

Prior to the tree being taken down, the Nisqually and Squaxin tribes paid tribute. They blessed the tree with a traditional ceremony, invoking their deep cultural and spiritual connection with western red cedars throughout the ages.

The planting of new trees is not always for ourselves, but for the next generation who will continue to steward our state’s natural resources. For each new tree planted in our community is an investment towards less pollution in our waterways, resilient property values, healthy habitat for fish and wildlife, clean drinking water, and high quality of life in our neighborhoods.

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is working with communities statewide to care and maintain urban forests. You can find out more about the care of trees by talking with a certified arborist or visiting DNR’s website at www.dnr.wa.gov/urbanforestry.

Learn more about the benefits of trees on the Arbor Day Foundation webpage.

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Hurray for Arbor Day; do you live in a ‘Tree City USA’?

April 13, 2016
Kids plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day.

Kids plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day.

Today is Arbor Day, a celebration of trees and all the great things they do for us in “The Evergreen State.” Washington State Arbor Day is always celebrated on the second Wednesday, April 13 this year as proclaimed by Governor Jay Inslee.

However, Arbor Day is more than just a celebration of trees. It’s a celebration of responsible natural resource management.

Salmon streams that DNR protects in native forestlands flow out of the foothills, across the landscape, and ultimately through one or more of Washington’s cities. Urban areas are where streams, shellfish beds, and fragile nearshore habitats are most threatened by stormwater runoff, erosion and sedimentation, toxic pollutants, low oxygen levels, and climate fluctuations.

As foresters, we recognize that trees are erosion reducers, pollution mitigators, water purifiers, climate stabilizers, and carbon sinks. The practice of forestry in cities offers practical, low-cost, natural resource-based solutions to many environmental problems that affect our daily lives in Washington. Planting a tree in a city is an act restoration. Caring for urban trees is an act of stewardship. Cultivating an urban forest is natural resource management.

Sixty percent of Washingtonians live in an incorporated municipality, and approximately 90 percent of the State’s population lives in an area identified as “urban” by the 2010 census. There are 87 Tree City USA Communities in Washington and nearly 50 percent of Washington’s population lives in a Tree City USA.

Tree City USA is a national award from the Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes cities and towns for making a commitment to plant, protect, and maintain their trees. At DNR we celebrate Arbor Day in partnership with local communities across the state that have earned the Tree City USA® award. Find out if your city is a Tree City USA, as there may be special programs to celebrate trees in your community this month.

If your city isn’t part of the Tree City USA Program, contact your city officials to help them plan Arbor Day celebrations next year. Sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the US Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, Tree City USA® provides technical assistance and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities.

DNR provides assistance and support to many forest landowners, including Washington’s cities and towns. The agency’s work in urban forestry helps protect natural resources, engage urban residents in forest stewardship, and preserve the environmental character of our state.

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Say hello to spring, and emerging bark beetles

April 11, 2016
pine bark engraver beetle "frass"

For landowners, the sight of “frass” (sawdust and waste) from the pine engraver bark beetle is a familiar sign of spring. Photo: Brytten Steed, US Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Temperatures are warming up, which means the pine engraver bark beetle will once again rear its ugly little head in forests and woodlots across the state. The pine engraver beetle is tiny — between 1/8 and 3/16 of an inch long — and tends to attack small pine trees or the tops of large pine trees.

The pine engraver typically infests fresh slash, wind throw, or snow-damaged trees by building “galleries” under the bark for its eggs to hatch. It takes about 40-55 days for the pine engraver to complete development from egg to adult. Each new generation of adults produced during the warm months begins fresh attacks on nearby wood. This bug prefers to munch on and lay its eggs in slash or other downed wood, but it also can go after nearby live, standing trees within its limited flight range. By late-August, the final generation of the season to emerge typically seeks out places to hibernate for the winter and the danger of infestation is reduced… until next spring, that is.

When they do occur, pine engraver outbreaks can include hundreds of trees, especially trees under stress because of drought and overcrowding. Thinning dense pine stands can help reduce the potential of a pine engraver outbreak. Thinning allows more water, sunlight, and nutrients to reach standing trees, which helps enhance their vigor and defensive capabilities, such as increased resin flow.

The pine engraver beetle is a native insect and plays in important role in the ecosystem. Landowners have a number of preventive options to manage the pine engraver bark beetle without the need to spray insecticides. These options include scheduling tree cutting to fall months, carefully managing the size and placement slash piles, and restricting tree pruning to certain times of the year. These options and others are described in the latest edition of the free e-newsletter, Forest Stewardship Notes, a co-production of DNR and the Washington State University Forestry Extension program. Read more in the latest issue of Forest Stewardship News.

Check out other free DNR e-newsletters

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Timely tree tips — insects and diseases can indicate other problems

March 29, 2016
Cherry trees on the Capitol Campus Photo: Micki McNaughton, DNR

Cherry trees on the Capitol Campus       Photo: Micki McNaughton, DNR

Trees that are damaged, stressed, unhealthy or in decline are far more susceptible to insect infestation and diseases for two reasons:

1) Physical injuries damage a tree’s protective bark tissue, providing easy access to the tree’s core for insects and pathogens; and,

2) Stressed, unhealthy or declining trees have fewer available resources to provide active defenses against insect and disease attacks.

Unhealthy trees are attractive to insects and pathogens for the same reasons that a sickly zebra is attractive prey for a predatory lion: sickly prey is weaker, easier to attack and less likely to fight back, skewing the odds in the predator’s favor.

Prescriptions for treating insect and disease problems often come in the form of pesticide applications. Pesticides can be powerful tools to address symptoms, but do little or nothing to mitigate underlying causes of a tree’s decline, and nor are they helpful in returning the tree to health.

The best antidote to tree disease is similar to the advice given to us humans: proactive attention to stress reduction and good care. Here are a few recommendations to get you and your trees started down the road to good health:

  • Plant the right tree in the right place. Choose trees that are well-suited to local soils and other site conditions with adequate growing space above and below ground.
  • Plant the tree properly with the root flare at grade. Planting too deeply is one of the leading causes of long-term tree decline, and one of the easiest to avoid.
  • Provide supplemental water when needed. Dehydration is incredibly stressful but also preventable when trees, especially newly planted ones, are provided adequate water during hot summer months.
  • Mulch trees deeply. 2″- 4″ of organic mulch in a nice, wide ring around the base of your trees can do wonders to reduce plant stress by decreasing moisture loss from the soil and cooling the rooting zone of the tree. Physical damage from mowers and string trimmers may also be lessened by keeping grass and weeds away from the tree trunk.
  • Prune trees according to best practices. Good pruning practices not only reduce the risk of storm damage, but may also limit the spread of some pests and disease organisms.

Pause before breaking out the chemicals and look for opportunities to improve tree health instead; it’s cheaper and friendlier to the environment, and the positive effects are longer lasting. Healthy trees will reward your care by fending off nasty pests and diseases on their own, as well as looking more beautiful in the landscape.

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Protecting Seattle’s apples, one apple at a time

February 13, 2016
A bug free apple.

A bug free apple.

Between codling moths and apple maggot flies, fruit tree owners had almost given up on growing quality apples. City Fruit knew these apples could be saved, so they created a campaign called Save Seattle’s Apples.

With strategic planning and outreach, pest control was made a little easier for fruit tree owners, and City Fruit uses only organic means to prevent pest damage.

Among the paper baggies, nylon footies, kaolin clay, and other various organic pest prevention techniques, 90.9 percent of respondents used paper baggies as their method of pest prevention.

Last spring, City Fruit was honored with the Game Changing Action Award by Seattle Met for this successful campaign.

How’d they do it? City Fruit applied for a community forestry assistance grant through DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. The funding for this grant came from the U.S. Forest Service.

We can learn a few tips from City Fruit. If you’re interested in covering/protecting your own apples or donating your fruit, contact them through their website at www.cityfruit.org.

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Remove the 3 D’s from your trees; learn what, when and how to prune

February 8, 2016
This is a screen shot from the National Arbor Day Foundation website on how to prune trees properly and when.

This is a screen shot from the National Arbor Day Foundation website on how to prune trees properly and when.

Are your trees looking straggly, growing and spreading out aimlessly? Before you prune a tree, be sure you’re pruning at the right time of year.

A blog from the National Association of State Foresters says that trees are dormant through early March. This is true in some cases, but it’s important to check for the appropriate time of year to prune the specific type of tree you own.

Meanwhile, now is a good time to remove those dead, diseased, and damaged branches (the 3 D’s). These problem branches can cost more money and cause more maintenance headaches if not cared for right away. You also may want to remove branches that cross and rub against each other when the appropriate time comes to prune that tree. Whatever you do, prune no more than 25 percent of your tree’s canopy in any one year.

What are we talking about specifically? DNR recommends two resources to help you decide what to prune, when to prune, and how to prune:

If you have a tree that can be pruned now, the wound from pruning will rapidly close just before new growth emerges. Also, prune trees while they’re young to help avoid expensive tree care later.

See what other resources DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program has to offer.

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Small and family-owned forests in the spotlight

January 23, 2016

At the Washington State Capitol Thursday (Jan. 21), Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark helped kick off a celebration marking the 75 years since the first certified tree farm (managed forest) was established near Montesano in Grays Harbor County. In the 75 years since, numerous small, family owned forest lands in Washington state and elsewhere have been recognized by the American Tree Farm System.

“I congratulate the small forest landowners who own almost half of the private working forestlands in Washington,” Goldmark said. “You are an integral part of our state’s great timber heritage.”

The event, which also included the reading of a congratulatory proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee and remarks by Sen. Kirk Pearson, 39th Legislative District, and Rep. Brian Blake, 19th Legislative District, was hosted by the Washington Tree Farm Program, the Washington Farm Forestry Association, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

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2015 Spokane Windstorm: aftermath and next steps

January 21, 2016
A downed ponderosa pine in Spokane results in power outage and street closure. Photo by Jim Flott

A downed ponderosa pine in Spokane results in power outage and street closure. Photo by Jim Flott

The windstorm that impacted Spokane and the surrounding region on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, will go down in the record books. Winds gusted up to 71 miles per hour in Spokane according to AccuWeather.com. The Greater Spokane Department of Emergency Management issued a “Shelter in Place” bulletin around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Two people in Spokane were killed in separate incidents involving trees being thrown in the wind.  Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency the next day.

The wind was responsible for about 70 percent of Avista (the largest regional electrical utility) customers losing power at some point during the storm. Avista officials said this was the largest outage in company history surpassing the ice storm of 1996. Parts of Spokane looked like a war zone with trees lying in the roads and on buildings. The damage was severe enough to keep some schools and businesses closed until after Thanksgiving.

Angel Spell, Spokane Urban Forester, reported to the Spokane Tree Committee that an estimated 1,900 trees managed by the City were lost, 500 of those were in parks, the rest were on rights-of-way and other city owned property. The appraised value for these trees was approximately $22 million.

At a time like this, a tree professional’s thoughts first go to removing any risk associated with trees as a result of the windstorm and cleaning up the mess. Then, a true professional will try to convince people that healthy, structurally sound trees should not be removed as a knee jerk reaction to the storm.

Jim Flott, local consulting arborist said “Wind speed was the only quantifiable variable.” He observed that soil failures were responsible for a majority of downed trees. He is encouraging people not to overreact and to have their trees assessed by a qualified ISA Arborist with tree risk assessment experience. Flott also promotes a positive message about trees going forward, referring to the fact that only a very small fraction of the tree population failed and that vast majority of the tree population withstood the test of the storm.

A Wind Storm Workshop is planned for March 11 at the Spokane Conservation District.  Representatives from Avista, the City of Spokane, commercial arborists, Washington DNR, and consulting arborists will summarize impacts from the storm and discuss best practices moving forward.  You can register for the event at www.spokaneconservation.org.

For additional information about this storm, be sure to check out this article published by the Spokesman-Review on December 25, 2015.

This article written and submitted by Garth Davis, Forestry Program Manager, Spokane Conservation District.

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Funding opportunity for restoring forest landscapes; deadline February 29

January 19, 2016
Keep urban forests in your community healthy

Keep urban forests in your community healthy. Photo: Guy Kramer

DNR is looking for projects that will help protect and restore forests across the diverse landscapes of Washington.

Working together with the U.S. Forest Service, DNR is seeking forestland restoration grant proposals for a program called Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Grant Process (LSR). Forestland restoration projects can include rural, wildland, and urban areas.

LSR projects cross boundaries to affect any combination of federal, state, tribal, county, municipal, or private lands. For example, a riparian habitat restoration project might affect the entire length of a waterway that passes through lands which are owned and managed by different agencies, organizations, or individuals.

Eastern Washington forest

An overstocked forest in eastern Washington. Photo: DNR

Because of the funding competition, DNR wants to submit the best and most important projects that benefit the bigger goal of healthy forests.

We ask that potential partners submit letters of interest to DNR and collaborate with us to develop Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Grant proposals that meet the national priorities.

Here is the Request for Proposal for LSR projects.

Letters of interest are due by February 29 at 4:30 p.m. (PST) and need to be submitted to:

Jonathan Guzzo
WA State Dept. of Natural Resources
1111 Washington Street SE
MS 47037
Olympia, WA  98504-7037

Funding for these projects comes from the U.S. Forest Service State and Private Forestry branch to address forest conservation, protection, and enhancement needs in priority areas identified within Washington’s Forest Action Plan.

The benefits of our forests are vast. Not only are they home to countless wildlife species, they keep our drinking water clean, control flooding, purify our air, and enhance community livability.

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Hawks, deer and more on display in the wild today

January 10, 2016
The osprey is also known as a seahawk.

The osprey is also known as a seahawk.

After watching the Seahawks play this morning, you may want to get outdoors yourself to try and catch a glimpse of one of the real hawks of the sea.

Osprey, also known as sea hawks, are among the wildlife to watch for at West Tiger Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). This 4,430-acre site is 35 miles east of Seattle and protects a vast variety of rare ecosystems and many species of native western Washington wildlife. This area, and neighboring Tiger Mountain State Forest — a working forest managed by DNR — are excellent outdoor classrooms and places to see native inhabitants including deer, elk, red-tailed hawks, osprey (aka sea hawk), owls, and woodpeckers. A good trail to try is West Tiger No. 1.

West Tiger Mountain is just one of 36 NRCAs across Washington that DNR manages to preserve high-quality ecosystems.

Learn more about where to visit or volunteer. Then, rain or shine, grab your Discover Pass and head out for some extra-curricular sea hawk-viewing activities!


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