Archive for the ‘Forests’ Category

Beetle invasions put forests at risk of wildfire

March 16, 2015

A healthy forest is a top priority in preventing wildfire, and insects are one of the things that can threaten the health of a tree. Bark beetles, such as the mountain pine beetle, feed on the inner bark of many types of pine trees, which can cause the trees to die. Although the beetles normally play an important role by attacking older or weakened trees to allow more room for younger trees to grow, the combination of warmer winters, densely packed forest stands and poor forest health conditions, such as seen across eastern Washington, puts entire forests at greater risk of destructive wildfire.

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Learn about the health of Washington’s forests near you

March 14, 2015
Forest Health Highlights is a report on insect and disease activity in Washington's forests.

Forest Health Highlights is a report on insect and disease activity in Washington’s forests.

Each year, all forested acres in Washington are surveyed from the air to track recent tree damage. That’s 22.4 million acres of forestland, which you can see in this three-minute video taken from 2011.

These aerial surveys are used to report the location and intensity of damage by forest insects, diseases, and other disturbances. See the results for yourself in our latest Forest Health Highlights report.

If you own forestland, use this report to understand which insects or diseases are active near your property and find out how to get maps and data covering your area.

Even if you don’t own forestland, the report helps you understand the quality and condition of forests near you. It’s so valuable in fact, that DNR and the U.S. Forest Service have conducted a forest health survey of Washington’s forests every year since 1947.

Learn more about DNR’s Forest Health Program, and check out the many resources the U.S. Forest Service has available on Western Forest Insects and Diseases.

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Trees for tomorrow: Webster Forest Nursery seedlings

March 13, 2015
Webster Forest Nursery

After getting a six-month head start in the Webster Forest Nursery greenhouse (between February and August), these lovely Douglas-fir seedlings were transplanted into the nursery’s outdoor bareroot nursery where they will grow for the next 1.5 years before being offered for sale to small forest landowners.

DNR staff at the Webster Forest Nursery are busy tending to seedlings and working on other tasks that will help DNR and many small private land owners meet the replanting requirements of the State Forest Practices Act. Located just south of Olympia, the Webster Nursery consists of 270 acres of bareroot ground and greenhouses. Each year, the nursery produces between 8 million and 10 million seedlings of various species from seeds selected for their suitability to the soils, microclimates and other local conditions found across the state.

The greenhouse nursery is currently sowing seed to grow 3.5 million container seedlings and the bareroot nursery is lifting, packing, and shipping seedlings. The bareroot nursery currently has 5.9 million seedlings packed with 3.5 million more seedlings remaining in the fields to lift and pack. Summer and early fall tend to be the optimal times to prepare planting sites, scout for planting crews to hire, purchase seedlings and do other preparations for winter planting.

As this winter nears its end, the year’s supply of seedlings is sold out. However, next year’s seedlings will be ready for purchase during fall or early winter of the 2015/2016 season.

Sales of next year’s seedlings begin September 1, 2015. In the meantime, you can learn more by:

After September 1, 2015, place your order by calling 360-902-1234 or toll-free 1-877-890-2626.

Please note: Seedlings must be ordered in bundles of 100. The species and stock produced at the nursery are for large trees and not suitable for most urban sites. When ordering seedlings, it is important to know which species and stock type to plant and we recommend that you seek out a qualified forester to get specific recommendations for your planting site.

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Diversify your yard with a different type of tree

March 12, 2015
The Japanese pagodatree isn't fussy about soil or water.

The Japanese pagodatree isn’t fussy about soil or water.

Looking for a tough, unusual tree to diversify your yard or woodland? One with character and multi-season interest? Give the Japanese pagodatree, sometimes called the Chinese scholar-tree, a look. Japanese pagodatree has been extensively planted near temples and shrines in eastern Asia for centuries. It is native to China and Korea, but—oddly enough, considering both its common and botanic names—not Japan. The tree was introduced to the western nursery trade in 1747.

Those of us who know the tree as Sophora japonica should be aware that botanists have recently renamed the tree Styphnolobium japonicum to differentiate it from trees of the genus Sophora. The roots of Sophora species form associations with soil bacteria to fix nitrogen like most members of the Fabaceae family. Recent scientific studies, however, show that Japanese pagodatree is one of the few trees in the extensive Fabaceae family that does not fix nitrogen in the soil. Who knew?

The Japanese pagodatree produces large, very showy panicles of creamy white pea-like flowers over several weeks in mid to late summer, a time when most other flowering trees are done with their show. Dark green compound leaves provide dappled shade through summer, becoming yellow in fall. Bark develops a rugged look similar to oak as the tree matures, offering winter interest. Bean-like pods are 3 to 8 inches long, and are retained on the tree through winter, an additional seasonal texture. The roots tend to be fibrous and deep, unlikely to affect nearby hardscape. (more…)

You can’t top a healthy tree

February 23, 2015

 

The practice of topping trees creates large wounds that are susceptible to disease and decay. Remember to always prune responsibly.

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Planting for success

February 9, 2015

Here are six tips from a DNR urban forester on how to properly care for your trees. Well-cared-for trees provide a lifetime of benefits.

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Guide your tree’s life: prune as it grows

February 2, 2015
Learn how to prune properly by taking a class.  Photo to DNR

Learn how to prune properly by taking a class.
Photo to DNR

If you want your trees to live long, healthy, sturdy lives, pruning is the way to go. Good pruning practices act as structural training, which develops strong ‘bones’ as trees grow and mature. In other words, less work for you and more safety for everyone.

Simply put, structural pruning helps your tree keep its ‘head’ – its leader – and develop strong branches. You can start by identifying the central leader, the straightest stem in the middle of the tree. Then prune away the 3Ds:

  • Dead
  • Diseased
  • Damaged

Next, support that central leader by removing any branches that look like they will grow higher than the central leader.

Prune with care. Over-pruning reduces a tree’s ability to feed itself and may stress a tree enough to encourage insect or disease problems. Never remove more than 25 percent of a tree’s live crown in a single year.

If you’d like to see structural pruning in action, take a drive to the City of Shoreline. Throughout the month of February, the City will work with a Puget SoundCorps team to prune young street trees to help them develop a strong, sound structure that will keep them healthy and safe as they mature. To conduct this work, the City received an Urban Forestry Restoration Project (UFRP) grant, which is administered by DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

The UFRP provides Puget SoundCorps crews to assist communities with urban forestry maintenance and restoration tasks, such as structural pruning and invasive plant removal. For more information about the UFRP, visit our webpage or contact Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or micki.mcnaughton@dnr.wa.gov.

Well-cared for trees provide a wide variety of environmental services, such as cleaning the air, while contributing to the health, beauty and economic vibrancy of a community. Give your trees the right care to help them grow up to be healthy, safe, beautiful citizens of your community!

Learn more about good pruning practices with these resources:

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Timely Tree Tips; suggestions for bare-tree season

January 15, 2015
Don't forget to check often any structural support cables or stakes used on your trees.  PHOTO DNR

Don’t forget to check often any structural support cables or stakes used on your trees.
PHOTO DNR

Winter is often regarded as a slow time for working with trees; even the hardiest of Northwesterners don’t exactly enjoy working outside in freezing cold, pouring rain, or blowing snow. Any volunteer coordinator will tell you that it’s much harder to coax would-be volunteers out of their cozy abodes for a mid-morning ivy yank on a gray day in January.

Nonetheless, this season of leafless trees sets the stage for work that might be easier – yes, easier, to do now than in the warm days of summer.

Here are some activities particularly suitable to our leafless deciduous trees in winter:

  • Tree Inspections. Leaves send us important signals about tree health; however a dense summer canopy may obscure other signs of tree distress such as dead wood, broken limbs, cracks, cavities, included bark, and decay fungi. Binoculars are a great tool for performing ground-based inspections of tree canopies in the leaf-off season.
  • Cable Inspections. Many tree owners make the mistake of installing structural support cables and never following up with regular inspections. Cable inspections are easier in the winter as there are no leaves to interfere with visual inspections. Cabling systems should be periodically inspected by an ISA Certified Arborist to ensure they are still performing as intended and no causing harm to the tree(s).
  • Invasive Species Control. Remove perennial invasive plants in the winter to reduce the abundance of seeds come spring. Where English Ivy is flourishing out-of-reach in tree canopies, winter is a great time to cut a “lifesaver” ring in the ivy around trees. Doing so means you’ll witness the dieback of treated ivy before tree leaves re-emerge, and you will be assured your hard work was effective.
  • Tree Removal. No leaves means less mess. Frozen ground also means less damage to turf from heavy equipment and other impacts of large tree removal.
  • Structural Pruning.  If January brings a lull in your maintenance schedule, fill it with structural pruning to “pay it forward” and you won’t regret it. Structural pruning is easier in winter when you can clearly see the structure of the tree. Pruning to encourage good tree structure in young trees can significantly reduce the need for costly tree maintenance in the future. This work is best done by those with the experience and skill to recognize the difference between dead limbs and live ones in the absence of leaves.

If tree work entices you outside this winter, stay warm, stay dry, stay hydrated, and stay positive. Remember that you’re doing important work for a good cause. The busy days of spring will be here before you know it, and you’ll be grateful to have made the most of your time and maintenance opportunities this winter.

From DNR’s January Tree Link Newsletter

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Learn how to doctor your trees at Lyle seminar

January 12, 2015
DNR continues to seek funding to restore forest health and prevent wildfires in Washington.

DNR continues to seek funding to restore forest health and prevent wildfires in Washington.

You can help Washington’s forests become healthier and less susceptible to fires.

Proper management of forests can reduce wildfire risk, improve forest health and enhance wildlife habitat. Washington State Department of Natural Resources is hosting a free workshop in Lyle February 7 to help owners of eastern Washington forestland learn land management techniques before the 2015 wildfire season begins.

A cadre of foresters, entomologists (insect specialists), and wildlife biologists will be on hand. Fellow landowners will talk about management activities they have undertaken on their land to reduce fuel loads and make their forests more resistant to insects, diseases and wildfire.

Workshop Details

Date:               Saturday, February 7, 2015

Time:              10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Location:       High Prairie Community and Fire Hall

701 Struck Road, Lyle, WA 98635

Note:               A FREE workshop and lunch is provided.

This year, DNR continues to focus on forest health and wildfire prevention. During the 2015 Legislative Session, we’re seeking $20 million in additional funds to restore forest health and to prevent wildfires.

To register for the workshop, contact:

For more on how you can help reduce fire hazards and improve Washington’s forests through DNR’s forest health, fuel reduction and Firewise programs, contact our Northeast or Southeast region offices.

DNR foresters are available to meet with interested landowners, assess the health of their forests, and recommend forest management options. Even if we don’t have resources at that moment, we are always working to provide landowners with the resources they need to make their forests healthier.

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New Year’s Resolutions for community tree advocates

January 9, 2015
This red oak tree helps cool and freshen the air, mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce stress and anxiety, increase property values, and so much more.

This red oak tree helps cool and freshen the air, mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce stress and anxiety, increase property values, and so much more.

The dawning of a new year compels many of us to take a hard look our habits and behaviors, and then to set new goals to pursue what we believe will make us better people in the year ahead.

Resolutions are most often personal: lose weight, eat healthy, stay in better contact with friends and loved ones, or try a new hobby. These are all worthy pursuits, but how about investing energy in New Year’s resolutions that make a difference to trees in your community (and which might help you too).

Suggested resolutions for 2015:

  • Write articles, blogs, or letters that champion the importance of trees in your community, and encourage others to become active tree stewards where you live.
  • Take a child to a local park, forest or natural area and explore the environment with him or her. Unsure where to start? Search for a nearby nature center, natural area, or state, county, or city park that offers interpretive signage or guided activities.
  • Attend at least one public meeting to better understand how your community operates. It’s a good way to learn what others believe are issues of local importance, and it can help you strategize how trees might be included in community projects and activities.
  • Arrange a friendly chat, perhaps over coffee or lunch, with a local developer, business owner, HOA president, or other stakeholder in community forestry. Learn which issues, struggles, opinions, or feelings about trees are important to them. Ask how you can help them to incorporate trees successfully in their work in 2015 and beyond.
  • Donate to, become a member of, or volunteer for an organization that supports healthy community trees and forests. To get you started in Washington State, consider organizations such as:
    • Conservation Districts (statewide), Friends of Trees (Vancouver), Earthcorps (Seattle), Forterra’s Green Cities Partnerships (Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Kirkland, Redmond, Kent, and Puyallup), The Lands Council (Spokane), the Mid-Columbia Forestry Council (Tri-Cities), the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (I-90 corridor), Plant Amnesty (Seattle), Washington State Extension Master Gardeners (statewide), or the Yakima Area Arboretum (Yakima).

Or simply…

  • Plant a new tree every month! Or, twelve trees sometime during 2015. By volunteering at community planting events, you’ll not only meet, but likely exceed that goal.

Together, let’s resolve to make 2015 a banner year for community trees.

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