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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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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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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:
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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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.
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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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:
Together, let’s resolve to make 2015 a banner year for community trees.
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Just over a year ago the Washington departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) began an exciting endeavor to jointly manage the state’s first community forest. Since then, we believe we’ve made good progress toward preserving the more than 50,200 acres located in the Teanaway Valley near Cle Elum.
In February, our agencies selected a diverse and committed group of advisory committee members to provide input on a management plan for the Teanaway Community Forest. The 20-member group includes representatives from the Yakama Nation, local community, conservation organizations, and several recreation groups.
The Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee met 10 times in 2014, devising objectives and strategies for watershed protection, fish and wildlife habitat, forestry and grazing. Committee members also have discussed recreation and community involvement in the forest.
The public continues to engage around this beautiful landscape. DNR and WDFW, with help from the committee, held well-attended public open houses in June and December regarding future management of the forest. In addition, we have reviewed the more than 1,400 public comments provided online.
In the meantime, the agencies and volunteers have completed several efforts on behalf of the Teanaway Community Forest, including:
The DNR and WDFW would like to thank the members of the advisory committee and volunteers for their hard work and continued commitment to the Teanaway Community Forest throughout 2014. And, as we move into 2015 and management plan completion, we encourage you to become, or stay, involved via our e-newsletter or online resources!
It starts in Lacey, Washington. This city is enhancing their urban forests by managing stormwater and improving air and water quality. They are doing this by improving the health and functionality of their trees and forested sites in urban settings.
Recently, the Lake Lois Habitat Reserve received a facelift. With the help of a Puget SoundCorps team and other volunteers, English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, spurge laurel, Scotch broom and Robert’s geranium were removed. These invasive non-native plants prevent forested areas from providing our community the full benefits and services of healthy forests by competing for water and nutrients, and in some cases even killing trees. Many undesirable plants that grow in dense thickets also harbor rats and other vermin, creating a public safety hazard as well. Now that the unwelcomed plants are gone, native vegetation will be planted in its place.
The Lacey Board of Park Commissioners approved the Forest Management Plan for Lake Lois Park and Lake Lois Habitat Reserve in September of 2012. Volunteers have been removing invasive plants and replanting those areas with native trees to implement the recommendations in the plan. Paul Royer, Chair of the Park Board states, “Many people are not aware of Lake Lois Habitat Reserve, but once they have been out to volunteer, they realize the importance of what they are doing and the difference it makes in the health of the forest.”
This project is an Urban Forestry Restoration Project, administered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Urban and Community Forestry Program. For more information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, visit the project online or contact Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or email@example.com.
DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps program, administered by Washington Dept. of Ecology. Puget SoundCorps crews work on projects that help restore and protect water quality in Puget Sound. The Washington Conservation Corps is supported through grant funding and education awards provided by AmeriCorps.
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With milder winters, overstocked forests and past forest management practices, Washington’s forests are increasingly becoming a smorgasbord for tree-devouring insects.
The 2014 annual insect and disease aerial survey found that insects and disease killed more than 4 million trees on over 540,000 acres in Washington state.
About 143,000 acres of forestlands east of the Cascade Mountain Range showed especially high levels of pine tree death caused by pine bark beetles, an increase from the 107,000 acres reported in 2013.
You can now explore the latest aerial survey maps on the Department of Natural Resources’ interactive, web-based mapping site: Fire Prevention and Fuels Management Mapping. Click on the Forest Disturbance folder.
Aerial observers this year also identified nearly 740,000 trees across 30,000 eastern Washington acres that died as a result of 2012 wildfire damage or from the bark beetles that subsequently attacked damaged trees. Those numbers are well higher than typical.
Though damage from forest pests was down from historical norms in 2013 and 2014, the number of trees destroyed by insects in the last decade is unprecedented.
Widespread mortality caused by bark beetles and damage from defoliating insects is setting the stage for more wildfires. In some places, critical wildlife habitat is being destroyed.
Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is one of the most beautiful trees of the fall season in the West. Its bright yellow leaves and creamy white bark against a backdrop of blue sky makes walkers pause in their tracks. No other tree species casts its autumn spell as broadly as aspen. These distinctive trees can be found in almost every mountain vegetation zone across North America — from northern Canada and Alaska to the mountains of central Mexico. Worldwide, only the European aspen and Scotch pine have greater natural ranges.
But it’s not just about good looks: a healthy stand of aspen benefits wildlife, protects watersheds, and contributes to healthy forest ecosystems. Aspen leaves and buds are a favorite food for wildlife such as grouse and turkeys, particularly in the winter when insects and other food items are scarce. Aspen stands also are rich in forage for sheep and cattle — about ten times more forage than a similar-sized stand of conifer trees.
Learn more about the aspen and see great photos of these stunning trees in the latest issue of Forest Stewardship Notes, a free e-newsletter published online each quarter by DNR and Washington State University Forestry Extension.
Interested in getting an email alert when new issues of Forest Stewardship Notes are published? Sign up here. It’s free!
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Does your yard resemble a ‘war zone’ of downed trees and limbs after the recent wind storms that swept across much of Washington?
High winds and rain-saturated soils can lead to damage to even the healthiest of trees. If you’re lucky, the storm removed the weakest limbs from your trees, and all you need to do now is prune and clean up debris.
If your tree suffered more than a little damage, you may need help. The Arbor Day Foundation has some excellent tree recovery tips.
Whatever you do, please don’t top your trees! There are much better ways to deal with damaged trees. Arborists and plant scientists agree that tree topping is bad tree management practice.
Topping is severely cutting and removing large branches in a mature tree. Trees cut back indiscriminately will respond by quickly growing multiple branch-like shoots that compete for dominance. The result is a bushy re-growth that will be the same size as the tree’s original height, but with weaker branches.
As shoots increase in weight, the branches of a topped tree become susceptible to breaking off during storms. They must be continually pruned to avoid potentially hazardous branch failures. Rather than creating a safer tree, topping can actually create a greater hazard.
The best answer is to consult a certified arborist for any tree care.
Certified arborists and other legitimate landscape professionals do not practice tree topping. If problems caused by a tree cannot be solved through acceptable management practices, the tree should be removed and replaced with a different tree or plant more appropriate for the site. (more…)