Archive for the ‘Forests’ Category

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!

What you need to know as a homeowner, before it’s too late

January 7, 2016
This house was saved from the Chelan Complex Fire because it had defensible space. Photo Kari Greer/USFS

This house was saved from the Chelan Complex Fire because it had defensible space. Photo Kari Greer/USFS

Winter weather may tempt you to let wildfire be the last thing on your mind. Well, don’t let it. Now is the time to prepare.

Wildfires are not going away. In fact, they are getting more destructive. Why? One reason is because many of us want to live in the woods, far from the hubbub of city life. Washington state ranks highest among all western states with the most developed with homes in the wildland-urban interface. Making this popular choice comes with more responsibility to create a safe place around your home.  If there are trees and shrubs up against your home, your house has very little chance of surviving a wildfire.

This is where defensible space and these 12 simple steps can play not only an important role, but also the most important role, in saving your home from wildfire. A community that bands together and takes responsibility to prepare for the threat of wildfire may suffer less loss in the end. Take it from someone who knows. Carolyn Bergland, a landowner who had to evacuate during the 2012 Taylor Bridge Fire in Ellensburg, advises:

“Landowners need to take fuels reduction and Firewise efforts seriously and educate their neighbors so that communities are able to be more resilient. By employing the principles of defensible space, you make it easier for firefighters to fight the fire and easier for a fire to go around you. It’s a sense of responsibility to the other people that live close by, and the community as a whole.”

If you think that wildfire isn’t something you have to worry about, consider the safety of the men and woman assigned to fight the fire that may threaten your home. We appreciate defensible homes, because they’re safer places for our firefighters to fight wildfire and crews can be more efficient, allowing them to move on to other areas that still need help.

Even in a more developed neighborhood, you can still be affected by wildfire. Look for green belts or open space areas around you that have the potential to catch fire and threaten your home. If you live in this situation, you may have winter work to do too.

For an in-depth look at what you can do to protect yourself, see the Ready Campaign’s How to Prepare for a Wildfire or go to www.firewise.org. See more of the story from Suzanne Wade with the Kittitas County Conservation District in the National Fire Protection Association newsletter, Fire Break.

 

 

Are you a forest landowner with trees damaged by recent winter storms?

January 4, 2016
A severe wind storm knocked down these Ponderosa pines, which are now susceptible to pine engraver beetle. Photo: State of Idaho

A severe wind storm knocked down these ponderosa pines, which are now susceptible to pine engraver beetle. Photo: State of Idaho

Severe November and December wind and snow storms in Spokane and other areas could be causing more damage than you realize. By this spring, you may notice little piles of reddish bark dust around your trees. This is a sign that bark beetles are attacking the trunks and branches of your damaged trees.

When the weather warms up, bark beetles become active, infesting and feeding on the sugary inner bark of your uprooted or broken trees. Over just a few weeks, inside the damaged logs, these beetles can build up populations, which then attack and kill neighboring healthy trees.

The chief culprits are known as the pine engraver beetle and the Douglas-fir beetle.

Prime targets

Ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine trunks and branches that are larger than three inches in diameter can be infested by the pine engraver beetle. Pine engraver beetles that infest wind-thrown trees in April and May will lay eggs that develop into adults and emerge in June of the same year. Although beetles that emerge in June often continue to infest damaged trees, the next generation of beetles that emerges in August may attack adjacent healthy trees.

The Douglas-fir beetle infests Douglas-fir trunks that are larger than about 10 inches in diameter. These beetles’ offspring require a year to mature and could infest healthy Douglas-fir trees in spring of 2017.

Both types of bark beetle are highly attracted to the thick, moist, nutritious inner-bark tissue of trees that are recently wind-thrown or have broken tops, as well as logs.

How to minimize your chance for infestations

The best option to reduce beetle infestations is to interrupt the amount of moist inner bark tissue that is available for beetles to breed. Remove damaged trees by salvaging the larger timber and safely burning or chipping smaller material. Try to increase the rate at which the inner bark dries out by cutting green logs into smaller pieces, removing branches, dispersing the woody material in a sunny area.

Leaving damaged trees or logs in the shade or in small sheltered piles lengthens the time the inner bark is suitable beetle food and habitat; it also increases the chances that the wood will become infested.

DO NOT stack green firewood next to healthy standing trees. The idea is to reduce the number of places the damaging beetles have easy access to breed this spring, so high populations won’t develop and threaten remaining trees later.

If you own forestland and need advice about tree care, contact a DNR Region Office near you or the WSU Extension Office in your county.

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Still have your Christmas tree?

January 3, 2016
Christmas tree on the curb. Photo: Steven Depolo/Creative Commons

Christmas tree on the curb. Photo: Steven Depolo/Creative Commons

Now that the holidays are over, did you dispose of your real Christmas tree properly?

We hope you didn’t throw it in the trash. Real trees are biodegradable and can easily be recycled in many ways.

See which recycling options and tips might be viable for you and your family.

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Winter weather burn bans may be in effect; before any outdoor or silvicultural burning, check local conditions

December 31, 2015
Follow the outdoor burning rules before lighting any fire.

Follow the outdoor burning rules before lighting any fire.

Due to current and forecasted air quality in many parts of Washington, some clean air agencies have implemented burn bans.

DNR-regulated silvicultural burning is not allowed where an air quality burn ban has been declared. Air quality across the state is not expected to improve until the middle of next week.

For specific burn restrictions, go to DNR’s Fire Danger map and click on your county. Please follow the outdoor burning rules before lighting any fire.

Visit Department of Ecology’s air quality website to find your local clean air agency air quality and burn ban information. To find your local air monitoring site, visit Washington’s Air Monitoring Network.

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