Posts Tagged ‘trees’

Storm water runoff poses significant threats to water quality in Washington

October 10, 2014
Trees reduce stormwater runoff by intercepting rainfall in their canopies and roots. Photo: Guy Kramer

Trees reduce stormwater runoff by intercepting rainfall in their canopies and roots. Photo: Guy Kramer

Storm water runoff – the rain that falls on streets, driveways, rooftops and other developed land — is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in Washington state. It carries oil, grease, fertilizers, soaps, and waste from pets and failing septic systems into streams and other bodies of water.

DNR has set a goal to clean up and restore Puget Sound, because even the clean water that originates in the upland forests we manage can become polluted as it flows through urban and suburban areas.

One of the best ways to mitigate the negative impacts of urban and suburban storm water runoff is to reduce how much of it ends up in natural waterways. Trees and shrubs are part of the solution because they help detain storm water on-site, in addition to slowing its flow and reducing erosion. October is an excellent time to recognize the many benefits that trees provide, including reduction and filtration of storm water runoff, because they:

  • Reduce storm water runoff by intercepting rainfall in their canopies where it is later re-released into the atmosphere.
  • Slow down runoff rates and reduce pollutants by absorbing storm water through their roots.
  • Store pollutants and transform them into less harmful substances.
  • Create healthy soil conditions that allow rainwater to filter into the soil so that less flows down streets, sidewalks, gutters, and storm sewers.

(more…)

How much carbon does that tree store? There’s a tool for that

September 26, 2014
Don't see the leaves in your yard as a nuisance. View them as an exercise plan to get in shape.

Don’t see the leaves in your yard as a nuisance. View them as an exercise plan to get in shape.

That maple tree in the backyard that seems to produce twice its weight in leaves every fall is more than just good lookin’. In addition to a home for wildlife, summer cooling, rain run-off control and more, that tree – if you live in the city – is part of the urban forest. Trees in urban areas also have a measurable role to play in absorbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.

How measurable? See for yourself, and try out the National Tree Carbon Calculator. The calculator allows anyone to estimate benefits from an individual street tree in their yard. Casey Trees and the Davey Tree Expert Company came up with this brilliant tool.

Try it out. Just enter the tree species, size (diameter-at-breast height) and find out how much biomass and carbon is stored in the tree. The calculator also helps show the benefits of energy savings.

Visit the Washington State Urban and Community Forestry Program to find more tools and links to information about the economic, environmental, social and aesthetic benefits of trees.

 

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum

Make plans for planting trees; it’s healthier in the long run

September 8, 2014
This beautiful tree may not have a chance to grow healthy because it's close by and under an evergreen tree.

This fall add some color to your yard and be sure to plant your tree in a good location.

Have you started planning for fall planting? If you blinked, you may have missed summer, but now that fall is coming soon, it’s the perfect time to plan for any trees you intend to plant.

Whether you plant a tree for aesthetics, to increase your property value, to save energy by providing shade, or to watch birds while lounging in a hammock, it is important to plan ahead. Start by thinking about site selection.

For trees to grow to maturity and provide the many benefits we expect from them, they must be well matched to site conditions. Take a look at these important site conditions: above- and below-ground conflicts (such as buried utilities), expected site modifications, and how much maintenance and care the tree will require.

You also want to evaluate the site to make sure it’s a good place for a tree so you can pick the best species for that site. List the tree attributes you are looking for that fit the limitations of the site. Attributes may include crown shape or flower color. You might also consider whether the tree can tolerate a lot of shade from nearby trees or buildings. Is the soil often damp? Will there be room for the tree when it reaches its mature height?

Consider a species appropriate for your area of the state, too. Look to see if your city or county has a list of appropriate community trees.

Now comes the fun part for ‘tree geeks.’ Pull out the nursery catalogs or search the web for tree availability to find the perfect tree for your site.

Ed Gilman of the University of Florida Agricultural Sciences has created a site evaluation form that can guide you through the evaluation process. To find a great volume of information about tree selection, planting, care, maintenance, and management, visit Gilman’s website.

The U.S. Forest Service has a checklist of points to consider before, during and after planting your tree.

Visit DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program webpage for additional information.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum

Have you watered your trees lately?

August 21, 2014

The dog days of summer are still upon us. It’s a good thing we have trees to help keep us cool! Summer is a great time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the nice weather. But this month and next can be hard on trees, and they can use our help. Don’t be fooled by cooler weather. Cooler weather does not necessarily mean moisture.

In Washington, most of the annual accumulation of moisture comes in three seasons, fall, winter and spring. Summer is typically very dry. This weather pattern is great for vacatioTreens and back yard barbecues, but difficult for trees – particularly newly planted trees.

When we do get moisture, it may not be enough for our leafy friends, especially those planted within the last year or two. Even if you are watering your lawn on a regular basis, your trees might not be getting enough to drink. Grass roots, after all, only grow to a depth of several inches. In contrast, trees roots are deeper, from about 18” to 24” deep.

Long, slow watering under the drip-line of a tree with a soaker hose or even a bucket with small holes drilled into will ensure that moisture seeps down into the root zone.

Or build a low ring of dirt about 1 foot from the trunk of the tree to create a soil dam. With your hose turned on to a slow trickle, fill the tree ring with water (this will take about 30 minutes). Keeping the hose on a trickle will allow the water to soak in rather than run off, while the dam will keep the water directly over the roots of the tree.

Remember that a 2-4 inch thick layer of bark mulch around the base of a tree will maintain soil moisture and help control weeds, (but keep the bark about a hands-width away from the trunk).

There are many factors involved when considered how much and how long to water. Check out this article by Oregon State University Extension (OSUE) about watering trees and shrubs the right way, and how watering needs differ depending on soil texture.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum

Climate change and the Northwest’s trees

June 9, 2014

Can we predict how future climatic changes will affect the growth of important Northwest tree species?

Parts of a Douglas fir

Photo: Nancy Charbonneau/DNR

Mathematical models developed by area researchers show great promise in predicting how future climate changes will affect the timing of the budding and flowering of coniferous trees here. That’s important knowledge because conifers, such as Douglas fir, are important to Washington State’s economy and environment.

DNR’s Meridian Seed Orchard, southeast of Olympia, is a major source of tree seeds for state forestlands and small family forestland owners. Owned and operated by DNR, the orchard produces seed for western red cedar, noble fir, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, western larch, western white pine, and other coniferous tree species used to replant after timber harvests around the state.

Meridian Seed Orchard also is an efficient and reliable resource for collecting data to develop climate models because the seeds it gathers and grows come from many different areas and elevations in Washington. DNR’s self-funded Webster Forest Nursery uses seed from Meridian to produce between 8 million and 10 million seedlings annually to plant after timber harvests on state trust lands and small, privately-owned woodlands. The secret to successful planting is matching tree seedlings to meet the many different weather and soil zones around the state.    (more…)

DNR weekend reading: Frequency and size of wildfires in western US growing

April 19, 2014
Trees in this patch of old-growth forest in southwest Washington State survived the Yacolt Burn of 1902.

Trees in this patch of old-growth forest in southwest Washington State survived the Yacolt Burn of 1902. Timber harvests are restricted in this area because it is habitat for the northern spotted owl, a federally listed species. 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:

American Geophysical Union: More, bigger wildfires burning western U.S., study shows
Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years – a trend that could continue as climate change causes temperatures to rise and drought to become more severe in the coming decades, according to new research.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA): Nutrient-rich forests absorb more carbon
The ability of forests to sequester carbon from the atmosphere depends on nutrients available in the forest soils, shows new research from an international team of researchers. “This paper produces the first evidence that to really understand the carbon cycle, you have to look into issues of nutrient cycling within the soil,” said one of the researchers.

University of Utah: Warm U.S. West, Cold East: A 4,000-Year Pattern: Global Warming May Bring More Curvy Jet Streams during Winter
Last winter’s curvy jet stream pattern that brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, and may become more extreme as Earth’s climate warms. By examining oxygen isotope ratios in lake and cave sediments, University of Utah researchers were able to determine several thousand years of past jet stream patterns.

Environment360: UN Panel Looks to Renewables as the Key to Stabilizing Climate
In its latest report, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes a strong case for a sharp increase in low-carbon energy production, especially solar and wind, and provides hope that this transformation can occur in time to hold off the worst impacts of global warming.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter

DNR weekend reading: Magnetic fields guide salmon home

March 9, 2014
State trust land

Fog and below-freezing temperatures combine to give the illusion of recent snowfall on a tract of DNR-managed state trust land in Pend Oreille County. Photo: James Hartley/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:

Oregon State UniversityStudy confirms link between salmon migration and magnetic field
The Earth’s magnetic field may explain how fish can navigate across thousands of miles of water to find their river of origin, say scientists following experiments at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center in the Alsea River basin.

Cornell UniversityDeer proliferation disrupts a forest’s natural growth
Cornell researchers have discovered that a burgeoning deer population forever alters the progression of a forest’s natural future by creating environmental havoc in the soil and disrupting the soil’s natural seed banks.

Science DailyWhat has happened to the tsunami debris from Japan?
The driftage generated by the tragic 2011 tsunami in Japan gave scientists a unique chance to learn more about the effects of the ocean and wind on floating materials as they move across the North Pacific Ocean.

Harvard UniversityInfrared: A new renewable energy source?
Physicists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences envision using current technologies to create a device that would harvest energy from Earth’s infrared emissions into outer space.

DNR weekend reading: Earthquake lights, tallest trees, and more

March 1, 2014
hoarfrost

Hoarfrost in Capitol State Forest near Fall Creek campground. Photo: Bryan Hamlin/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:

Nature: Earthquake lights linked to rift zones
A new catalogue of earthquake lights — mysterious glows sometimes reported before or during seismic shaking — finds that they happen most often in geological rift environments, where the ground is pulling apart. The work is the latest to tackle the enigmatic lights, which have been described by eyewitnesses for centuries but are yet to be fully explained by scientists.

Science Daily: Temperature Most Significant Driver of World’s Tallest Trees
The tallest specimens of the world’s nine tallest tree species grow in climates with an unusually small seasonal temperature variation. Understanding the role of temperature in driving tree height, may help scientists forecast how forests adapt to climate change.

University of California-BerkeleySuburban Sprawl Cancels Carbon Footprint Savings of Dense Urban Cores
According to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, but these cities’ extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits.

University of California-Santa Barbara: Cities Support More Native Biodiversity Than Previously Thought
Rapid conversion of natural lands to cement-dominated urban centers is causing great losses in biodiversity. Yet, according to a new study involving 147 cities worldwide, surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species persist and even flourish in urban environment.

environment360: Urban Nature: How to Foster Biodiversity in World’s Cities
As the world becomes more urbanized, researchers and city managers from Baltimore to Britain are recognizing the importance of providing urban habitat that can support biodiversity.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter

Trees get cold too; don’t let winter kill them

February 5, 2014
Properly prune your trees to avoid breaking limbs in the winter. Trees don't need snow on them to become hazardous.  PHOTO: Dena Scroggie

Properly prune your trees to avoid breaking limbs in the winter.
PHOTO: Dena Scroggie

Winter weather means frigid temperatures and icy winds in many parts of Washington. While we can choose to stay inside or bundle up and venture forth, trees don’t have that option; they withstand the elements as best they can. You can help your trees during this challenging part of the year by following a few suggestions offered by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

  • Put composted organic mulch under your tree in the fall or early winter to help retain water and reduce temperature extremes. A thin layer of mulch will act like a blanket and give the tree’s roots a little extra winter protection.
  • Give your trees a drink. Winter droughts require watering as much as summer droughts. If temperatures permit, an occasional watering during the winter on young trees can be a lifesaver. But be sure to water only when soil and trees are cool but not frozen.
  • Prune your trees. Winter is actually one of the best times to prune because it is easier to see the structure of the trees without their leaves. But limit pruning to deadwood and poorly placed branches in order to save as many living branches as possible. Learn how to prune correctly by taking a pruning class, reading a book, or visiting a website.
  • Prevent mechanical injuries. Branch breakage or splitting can be caused by ice and snow accumulation, or chewing and rubbing by animals. Prevent problems on young trees by shaking heavy snow or ice from branches and wrapping the base of trees in a hard, plastic guard or metal hardware cloth (metal flashing). Wrapping trees with burlap or plastic cloth also can prevent temperature damage. Just remember to remove the wraps and guards in the spring to prevent damage when the tree begins to grow again.

To get the best advice for tree care, contact a local certified arborist. For more information on tree education, visit www.treesaregood.com.

Learn how DNR helps communities manage and care for healthy urban forests.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum

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.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 260 other followers