Treelines: Week of October 15, 2014


 

Because urban forestry issues span a wide range of topics and are constantly a source of local, national, and international news, we think it’s important to provide you with the most up-to-date information on everything tree-related: from local and national headlines to the latest in research and technologies, to simply feel-good stories.

Look for our reoccurring Treelines every week right here on Tree Speak + updates on our social channels, Facebook and Twitter.

This week in the Treelines…

 

“When I came out, I felt like I had a responsibility to be a representative of my identity, and to live up to the potential that I’ve claimed for myself. I have, in coming out, let go of the opportunity to slide through life. It calls you to a higher standard and lets you see the world in a completely different way…What if we could apply that thinking to our communities and our natural environment? To say we’ve gone from a place of accepting the norm, to a place of challenging it, to being in line with our values.”

“Interviewed adults did not value watercourses for their wildlife or scenery and did not use them for recreation…An absolutely different message was given by the young people living along the watershed…Although right now they are aware and preoccupied about the environmental state of the river, they see possibilities to improve the environmental situation in the future, regardless on which sector of the basin they live and their social-economic status.”

“‘I think soil biodiversity is like the stars beneath our feet,’ she says. ‘There is so much going on in the soil – it’s just a hot spot, teeming with so many different types of organisms.’ Microbes are architects of the soil. They alter its chemistry, even its shape. And in terms of its microbes, Central Park was terra incognita.”

People told me I can write a novel, I can write a poem about the contemplativeness of landscape, but not a scientific paper. But Olszewska, now a doctoral candidate in landscape architecture and urban ecology at the University of Porto in Portugal, persevered.”

What’s green, shaped like a mango, and tastes like a banana? If you said ‘pawpaw,’ you’re one of the growing number of gourmands who are hip to North America’s largest edible native fruit.”

Don’t forget to check back next week for more Treelines! Any thoughts on these articles? Post your comments or questions below or via our social media channels - Facebook.. Twitter.. thanks!

Casey Trees Teams up With Shake Shack

We have our own concretes flavor at Shake Shack, Union Station! It’s called the Beaux-Arts Banana: vanilla custard, caramel sauce, banana & grahm crackers. 5% of sales from our Beaux-Arts Banana concrete support Casey Trees, helping to restore, enhance and protect the canopy of D.C.

(fyi, a “concrete”is dense frozen custard ice cream blended at high speed with mix-ins.)

Tree of the Month: Ginkgo Biloba

It’s 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan. At the Anraku-Ji Temple the sun is shining and a quiet breeze wafts through the halls lifting the scent of candles and ceremonial incense to accentuate the calming presence of the temple’s environment. The lands are dotted with trees of all types but one in particular calls attention to the eye – a large tree near the front gate flourishing with fanned leaves of a dichotomous venation pattern and ridged trunk dotted with sprouted shoots. The leaves, resembling fans, seem to breeze the air towards your face, amplifying the coolness of the air.

This tree, Ginkgo biloba, provided the inhabitants of the area with useful remedies derived from its leaves and seeds and, on the eve of August 6th, single-branchedly shielded many of the buildings on the grounds from the effects of the fateful bombings that had taken place.


After the blast, this tree, and six others, were the only plants that continue to live, bud, and grow without major deformities to this day. At Anraku-Ji Temple, the monks who rebuilt the structures did so that the tree would be able to grow at its leisure.

What’s the deal with the Ginkgo?


Other than exemplifying its resilience and ability to withstand elements unnatural, the ginkgo is considered the single link between lower (non-flowering) and higher plants (flowering). It’s the only plant that lives in symbiosis with green algae (Coccomyxa) in the wild, joins the cycads as the only living seed producing plants that have free swimming sperm, and is the only living species of its plant division. Once found globally before the Ice Ages, the species was thought to be extinct until cultivated in Asia for its medicinal and ornamental properties and was dispersed by humans. Let’s not forget remedial properties – the leaves and seeds can be used to ease symptoms of everything from memory loss to dietary problems to asthma – and they can be a nutritious food in moderation (here’s a great recipe for Sweet Barley and Ginkgo Nut Soup).

How can I spot one?

The Maidenhair Tree (it’s sometimes called due to the uncanny similarity of their leaves to the maidenhair fern) can grow to be as high as 115 feet high and its trunk can reach 13 feet in diameter if allowed. Young trees have a central trunk with regular, lateral, asymmetric, and ascending branching and open growth while older trees have an upright spreading growth and irregular branching.

What’s the difference between a male and female Ginkgo?

A male tree usually has a slim column and produces yellow-orange pollen cones that hold sporophylls. A female tree has a more spread crown and bring forth seedy ovules from their stalks that give off the smell for which the Navy donned them ‘barfberries.’ The seeds (which can be consumed) are covered in butyric acid – that’s what actually creates the unique aroma – and start out green then turn yellow, followed by orange and brown.

In 1784 William Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton, planted the first ginkgos in America and they spread up and down the Eastern United States, D.C. included. Ever since then the District has enjoyed a love-hate relationships with the sturdy giants. While residents simply adore the view – they don’t always share the same sentiment about the fruit. Mild pesticide sprays were introduced to cease the production of the fruits – sometimes to no avail. The Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) proposed a system by which the female trees would be or replaced by bothered residents.

Just recently one of the District’s oldest trees was accidentally cut down. A 140-yr old male Ginkgo located in Farragut Square was the victim of a mistake of a contractor who was supposed to cut down a dead ash tree in the same vicinity. Despite this there are still thousands of Ginkgo trees maintaining their majesty as woody angels of the streets. There’s even a map that boasts the location of just about all of the ginkgos in the city.


So whether you’re strolling down Corcoran Street NW, Delafield Pl NW, or even 12th Street in Brookland, NE, don’t forget to take a moment to take note of the majesty of the living ancients that share this space we call home.

Check out this video of the sprouting of a ginkgo:

Selected Sources:

  1. Survivors: The A-Bombed Trees of Hiroshima
  2. L’Arbre Miracle Documentaire (French Documentary on the Miracles of Trees)
  3. ‘Did the Ginkgo Survive The Ice Ages?’ – The Milwaukee Journal, October 4, 1956 (article)
  4. The Gingko In America, Peter Del Tredici

Autumn Almanac 2014: Tree Support After The Sweltering Heat Subsides


Autumn is now upon us: bright, sunny days give way to chilled afternoons warmed by cups of tea and the donning of layers. The leafy layers of green melt in to hues of orange, red, and brown as the foliage of the District transitions into a menagerie of awesome colors that only nature could provide. The heat is phasing out and D.C.’s trees are as eager for cooler temperatures as their human counterparts.

The changing of the seasons require different tree-care practices and Casey Trees plans to equip you with a new edition of seasonal tree-care tips.

City trees are especially vulnerable to harsh weather conditions, but if you follow these tips, your trees will be ready to face the cooling temperatures.

Keep your trees in the best condition – check out these easy-to-follow tips on maintaining your trees:

  • Water 25 to Stay Alive.  This means means watering your newly planted tree with 25 gallons of water per week in times of little or no rainfall, through the month of September. Unsure whether the week’s rainfall was enough for your tree? Casey Trees offers week-by-week watering recommendations.
  • Remove watering bags. Once October arrives, remove watering devices until next spring. Tree trunks and flare need to be exposed to the air.
  • Add mulch using the 3-3-3 rule. Re.fresh your tree’s mulch, maintaining a three-foot ring around the tree, three inches high, with a a three-inch space around the trunk. Be sure to avoid volcano mulching.
  • Consider adding more trees to your landscape. Fall is the best time to plant new trees. If you are interested in adding trees to your property, consider Casey Trees’ Tree Rebate Program, which rewards up to $100 per tree planted on private property in D.C. For advice on which trees to plant in your area, be sure to check out the Go Big & Go Native feature in this month’s issue of The Leaflet.

 

 

Do you have any tips or tricks to add to our fall maintenance suggestions? Tweet us at @caseytrees or find us on Facebook! We’re even on Instagram!

Treelines: Week of September 15, 2014

Because urban forestry issues span a wide range of topics and are constantly a source of local, national, and international news, we think it’s important to provide you with the most up-to-date information on everything tree-related: from local and national headlines to the latest in research and technologies, to simply feel-good stories.

Look for our reoccurring Treelines every week right here on Tree Speak + updates on our social channels, Facebook and Twitter.

This week in the Treelines…

  • Smithsonian scientists discover tropical tree microbiome in Panama
    by eScience News via Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

    “Despite the fact that tropical forests are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems on the planet, more is known about belly-button bacteria than bacteria on trees in the tropics. “

  • Sapling of Bodhi tree planted in Vietnam
    via Zee News

    “A sapling of the holy Bodhi tree from Bodh Gaya in Bihar, which was carried by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee as a gift, was planted here on Monday. President Mukherjee, who is on a four day state visit to Vietnam that began on Sunday, planted the sapling alongwith his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang in the presidential palace in Hanoi.”

  • Maine to study hemlock tree die-off
    by Jaclyn Cangro, WVII ABC 7

    “he University of Maine has spent the last few months studying how the loss of hemlock trees could impact the state. A pest is currently threatening hemlocks, causing a change in forest ecosystems up and down the east coast. The problem started in the south during the 1950s. It’s now making its way to Maine.”

  • NYC’s 9/11 ‘Survivor Tree’ Seedlings Donated
    by ABC 40 via the Associated Press

    “Seedlings from a celery pear tree recovered from the smoldering ashes at the World Trade Center are headed to sites of tragedy in Washington, Mississippi and Texas.”

  • Wood testing methods solve mystery of ‘Ground Zero ship’ 
    via ABC 17

    “Tree-ring scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory were among the experts asked to analyze the ship’s remains. Their findings recently were published in the journal Tree Ring Research. Scientists traced the vessel’s origins back to oak trees cut down in Philadelphia, probably in 1773.”

Don’t forget to check back next week for more Treelines! Any thoughts on these articles? Post your comments or questions below or via our social media channels - Facebook.. Twitter.. thanks!

Treelines: Week of September 8, 2014

Because urban forestry issues span a wide range of topics and are constantly a source of local, national, and international news, we think it’s important to provide you with the most up-to-date information on everything tree-related: from local and national headlines to the latest in research and technologies, to simply feel-good stories.

Look for our reoccurring Treelines every week right here on Tree Speak + updates on our social channels, Facebook and Twitter.

This week in the Treelines…

  • Demand for agricultural products drives ‘shock’ tree loss in tropical forests
    by Matt McGrath, BBC News

    Around five football fields of tropical forest have been illegally cleared every minute between 2000 and 2012 according to a new report. The authors say that consumer demand in Europe and the US for beef, leather and timber is driving these losses. The vast majority of this illegal deforestation for commercial agriculture took place in Brazil and Indonesia.”

  • Tomoyasu Kita, Tree surgeon aids tsunami-hit region
    by Hitose Ishizuka, the Japan News

    “Tree doctor Tomoyasu Kita is focusing his energy on Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, these days, repairing trees damaged by salt from tsunami caused by the 2011 reat East Japan Earthquake. ‘The trees are fighting on without a word. I can’t ignore them,’ said Kita, 41.

  • Shubhendu Sharma: How to grow a tiny forest anywhere
    via TED Talks

    “A forest planted by humans, then left to nature’s own devices, typically takes at least 100 years to mature. But what if we could make the process happen ten times faster? In this short talk, eco-entrepreneur (and TED Fellow) Shubhendu Sharma explains how to create a mini-forest ecosystem anywhere.”

  • How large does the blue spruce grow?
    by Robert T. Leverett, Native Tree Society via American Forests

    “How tall do blue spruces grow? There’s little agreement, but the species pays no attention to such nonsense. Blue spruces know what they’re genetically programmed to do, and in southwestern Colorado, the blues achieve their best growth. The Western Native Tree Society (WNTS), supporting the American Forests National Big Tree program, discovered a blue to break all records in the La Plata Mountains this August.”

  • First national study finds trees saving lives, reducing respiratory problems: Air pollution modeling reveals broad-scale impacts of pollution removal by trees
    via USDA Forest Service news release

    “In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms.”

Don’t forget to check back next week for more Treelines! Any thoughts on these articles? Post your comments or questions below or via our social media channels - Facebook.. Twitter.. thanks!

Tree of the Month: Fig


by Jim Woodworth, Tree Planting Director

With 800 species in the family, Ficus (or the fig tree) is by far the largest genus in the Moraceae, and is one of the largest genera of flowering plants you’ll find. Many fig species are grown for their fruits, though only Ficus carica (aka the common fig) is cultivated to any extent for this purpose, and for this reason we’ll focus mostly on this low maintenance, prolific fruit producer.

Related to the mulberry, the fig’s alternate, simple leaves have similar lobes, forming broad rounded teeth.  At maturity, it forms a 10’-15’ wide and high, broad, rounded form; it’s a very wide spread and frequently planted ornamental landscape plant. Once you train your eyes to notice their typical branching habit and form and their very uniquely lobed leaves, you may be surprised at how abundant they are planted across the District, especially in many older homes.

As mentioned previously, this is a very reliable fruit producer that’s enjoying a resurgence amongst the urban agriculture and permaculture communities. It doesn’t require fancy cross pollination to reliably produce fruit (though the genus’ evolutionary relationship with wasps is fascinating(!) -  “a constant source of inspiration and wonder to biologists.”)  Figs produce for several decades (but live upwards to 200 years) and fruit forms on only new and 1-year old branch growth.  Interestingly enough, you may be able to reap two harvests: late spring and mid-summer. Fruit is ripe on the tree when soft, but you will need to keep close watch as your figs ripen to beat the starlings to them!

Cold hardiness may be the species’ main limitation.  Fig was widely planted around older homes across the south, and does well in Zone 7 environments.  Following past harsh winters, many figs suffer substantial branch die-back.  Not a major concern, though – you can always help the fig bounce back by pruning all the deadwood off.  Check for live cambium before pruning and if possible, prune back to any live tissue (and ideally to an outward-facing bud or branch).

Ideally suited for small urban and suburban yards and tight spaces, but they especially thrive in warm, sheltered spots against buildings in full sunlight, where they can be protected from harsh winter temperatures, soak up solar radiation and enjoy a warm micro-climate.

In urban environment, it’s smartest to choose a winter hardy variety such as the “Chicago Hardy” or “Brown Turkey.” If your site is exposed, you can create a windbreak from the winter winds, or for the more ambitious, you can wrapped your tree in burlap or paper, or insulate it with leaves or other creative insulating measures.

Have a great recipe or particular story about a fig tree?  Please share!


View map in full.

For more about many other species, check out our profiles on our Tree Species resource.

Treelines: Week of September 1, 2014

Because urban forestry issues span a wide range of topics and are constantly a source of local, national, and international news, we think it’s important to provide you with the most up-to-date information on everything tree-related: from local and national headlines to the latest in research and technologies, to simply feel-good stories.

Look for our reoccurring Treelines every week right here on Tree Speak + updates on our social channels, Facebook and Twitter.

This week in the Treelines…

  • Rare outback Waddi tree gets new life in Longreach greenhouse
    by Chrissy Arthur, ABC

    “Seeds from the rare Waddi tree have been collected and germinated in a greenhouse in outback Queensland to raise awareness about the wattle species and help ensure its survival. The Waddi tree (Acacia peuce) is found in only three locations in Australia – two in south-west Queensland and another in a conservation reserve in the Northern Territory.”

  • Scientists, park officials strive to keep legendary orange tree alive
    by Suzanne Hurt, the Press Enterprise

    “‘Riverside’s parent Washington navel orange tree – mother to millions of navel orange trees the world over – has lived well into old age thanks to decades of caretakers who have saved its life more than once. Today, they protect the tree growing in a tiny plot at Magnolia and Arlington avenues by using special tools, applying insecticides to guard against deadly citrus disease, and taking leaf and stem samples for biological and molecular tests to see if the tree is infected. They’re even ready to begin applying antibiotics if it comes to that.

  • Massive bird’s nest crushes African tree
    by Xinhuanet, via CRI

    “A bird nest weighing over 2000 pounds (about 907 kilograms) — believed to be the world’s largest — has crushed a tree supporting it, the UK-based Wired Magazine reported recently. Fortunately, its main structure remained intact as it is supported by some of the tree’s branches.”

  • Fence of trees to stem human-elephant conflict
    by Siva Parameswaran, BBC News

    “An unprecedented drought in Sri Lanka is exacerbating the longstanding potential for conflict between humans an elephants, reports suggest. But a “fence” of palmyra trees is starting to yield success. With forest vegetation and water holes vanishing, hundreds of elephants are reported to have approached settlements in search of food and water.”

  • Untapping the Potential of Science-Government Partnerships to Benefit Urban Nature 
    by Chris Ives and Yvonne Lynch, the nature of things

    “This challenge calls for a close and effective interaction between science and governance. However, all too often, the potential for collaboration between local government and academic researchers to co-produce knowledge and develop policy and programs that benefit urban nature remains unexplored.”

Don’t forget to check back next week for more Treelines! Any thoughts on these articles? Post your comments or questions below or via our social media channels - Facebook.. Twitter.. thanks!