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2009 Newsletters

Community Forestry Assistant Newsletter

2009 Articles

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January 2009 Newsletter

Winter Tree Inspection

Garden books tell us winter is the time to study garden catalogues, complete seed orders, and make plans for the next spring. However, there is at least one important outdoor gardening activity that is best completed in the winter. It involves conducting a thorough tree inspection. This is especially effective for deciduous trees because they no longer have leaves to hide their problems.

What to look for:

Although winter may not be the best time to solve tree problems, it is the best time to identify them. Here is a list of things you may want to look for.

Structural Problems: Look for situations that can be early signs of weakness that may later lead to branch or tree failure. Many of these can be solved later on through judicious pruning. Specifically, look for branches with a poor attachment angle. Where they join the trunk, branches should be directed slightly upward at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees. If they are too horizontal, or too upright, they will become weak. Plan to remove such problem branches, if it can be done without destroying the structure of the tree. Also, look for cracks and splitting around branch junctions. If you find such damage on large trees, you may need to access some professional help to determine the best action. On small trees, you can reshape the tree to relieve the pressure that is causing the problem and help the tree compartmentalize the damaged area. The last thing to look for is something called included bark. This is a situation where the tree does not make normal wood on the top of the branch junction and instead produces bark in the joint. It can be recognized by the soft, corky tissue (it may create an open crevice or be closed) that is present on top and down into the branch union. This makes the branch very weak. It is often associated with a steep branch angle. Plan to remove these weak branches if feasible. For most species, the most preferable time to prune is when the tree is dormant to minimize sap and resin flow, maximize wound closure, and reduce the chance of attracting insects and/or transmitting disease.

Architecture and Appearance: When the tree is bare, you can step back and look at its overall growth habit. Determine whether or not it has good balance and overall appearance. Decide if the crown needs to be raised, lowered, or cleaned (but never topped). Record a pruning plan to improve the tree’s appearance and functionality that can be implemented either right away or during the next dormant season. “How to Prune Trees” published by the USDA Forest Service is an excellent pruning guide ( 

Pests and Disease Problems: Although pests are typically not damaging during the winter, it is still a good time to look for problems that can be addressed during spring or summer. Some of the most destructive insect pests on trees are borers. Look for the small holes, the sawdust-like frass, or loosened bark that may indicate a problem is looming. Other types of insects such as aphids or beetles will overwinter as eggs on the trees and may become problematic next summer. Do some homework before the inspection and find out what to look for based on common problems for the tree species you are inspecting. Also, check for disease problems that appear as cankers on the bark. If you find such problems, research the solutions and prepare to deal with them when the season is right.

A good winter tree inspection will identify problems you may not know you have. It will also give you time to come up with a good solution to one or more of the many issues that affect tree health.

This article has been adapted from “Winter Tree Inspection” written by Stephen Love, Consumer Horticulture Specialist, and published by the University of Idaho Extension. If you have questions about this newsletter or the Community Forestry Assistance Program, please contact Tera King with Northwest Management, Inc. at 208-883-4488 ext. 133.

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 February 2009 Newsletter

Boundary Trees and the Law

At the time, it seems like a good idea. What could be nicer than to delineate the boundary between two properties than to plant trees? Actually, it is a good idea because trees are generally more permanent than stakes or metal and they provide a host of environmental benefits. What is important is that the property owners understand that the boundary tree is a shared tree. Essentially, it is controlled by both parties and neither party is free to do with it as he wishes without permission of the other.

Here are some important guidelines established in most states by common law:fence and trees

  • If any part of the trunk of the tree is on both sides of the property line, it belongs to both owners.
  • If Mr. Jones plants the tree entirely on his side of the line and as it grows in diameter it crosses the property line into Mr. Smith’s yard, it belongs to both property owners.
  • An owner generally “owns the air above a property line.” This means if Mr. Jones plants a tree and its trunk is entirely on his property but a branch grows over the line into Mr. Smith’s yard, Mr. Smith can legally cut off the limb at the property line. (Note: this kind of truncation is usually not the best way to prune a tree, so the best thing to do is to discuss the matter and helpfully suggest that Mr. Jones prune the limb properly at the junction with trunk or other large limb.)
  • The person that owns the tree owns it s products. So, even though Mr. Smith has the right to cut off an invading limb, Mr. Jones has the right to the wood if he wants it. In fact, it is his whether he wants it or not!

roots and sidewalkRoots are a bit more problematic than limbs and common law pertaining to roots may be actively evolving. In principle, courts seem to hold that roots that cross a boundary line can be severed by the invaded property owner. However, since this affects the health of the entire tree, a California court has diverted from tradition and ruled that such root cutting must be done “reasonably”. In other words, if a root from Mr. Jones’ tree is lifting Mr. Smith’s walkway, the offending root can be severed. However, based on the California case, Mr. Smith would be unreasonable if he took a trencher and severed all of the tree’s roots to a depth of say, 3 feet. This same opinion might apply if the offended property owner drenched the soil with a tree-killing herbicide, even though he did it entirely on his side of the line.. The lesson here is: remove roots only if you can articulate a good reason for being necessary and do the deed in the least destructive way.

The Affects of an Ordinance: A few little words can make a big difference in what happens to trees along a street right-of-way. A strong ordinance will protect such trees by declaring them the property of the city and will spell out what can or cannot be done with them. In some communities, the municipality will assume all responsibility for planting, pruning, and removal; in others the adjoining landowner must shoulder these responsibilities and their costs, but must still receive city permission for some or all of these treatments. This type of ordinance needs to define what trees are considered in the right-of-way and therefore subject to the conditions of the ordinance.

This article has been excerpted and adapted from “Trees and the Law”, Tree City USA Bulletin No. 49, published by the Arbor Day Foundation with Dr. James R. Fazio, Editor.

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March 2009 Newsletter

Arbor Day

Arbor Day is the holiday Nebraska gave to the world. The first celebration of Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872. The idea for Arbor Day originally came from a pioneer moving to Nebraska from Detroit, Michigan. His name was J. Sterling Morton. Upon arrival in Nebraska, his heart was dispirited from the lack of trees. He and his wife were nature lovers and the home they established in Nebraska was quickly planted with trees, shrubs, and flowers. Morton was the editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper. As an early proponent of forestation, he used this platform to promote “tree plantings” in cities and towns. He organized a contest in which the prize, “a farm library of twenty five dollars worth of books to the person who, on that day, shall plant properly, in Nebraska, the greatest number of trees.” Nearly one million trees were planted that first Arbor Day. The winner on the prize was one J.D. Smith, who planted an unbelievable 35,500 trees in one day. In 1885, the Nebraska state legislature named Arbor Day a legal holiday and selected April 22, Morton’s birthday, as the date for its permanent observance.

Today, all states memorialize Arbor Day by legislation, official proclamation, or public acclaim, although the dates vary according to local climate. Officially, the last Friday in April is celebrated as National Arbor Day. Arbor Day has now spread beyond the United States and is observed in many countries of the world. Idaho celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, the traditionally accepted date. However many communities in Idaho choose to celebrate the holiday on different dates due to weather considerations or other factors.

Arbor Day Grant Opportunity. In observance of Arbor Day this year, the Idaho Nursery and Landscape Association, in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Lands, Avista, Rocky Mountain Power, and Idaho Power are sponsoring 40 Arbor Day grants in the amount of $300 for planting trees in Idaho communities. The “Planting Idaho” program is intended to help cities celebrate Arbor Day, plant appropriate trees for energy conservation, and foster a stronger relationship between Idaho communities and the Green and Utility Industries. For more information on how to participate in the 2009 Arbor Day Grant Program, contact your local Community Forestry Assistant or Ann Bates at 1-800-462-4769 (). Entries are due no later than March 20th.

Arbor Day Poster Contest. Idaho fifth graders are also encouraged to participate in the 2009 Arbor Day National Poster Contest, which honors winning posters at the state and national levels with cash, bonds, and other prizes. The Arbor Day poster contest is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Idaho Department of Lands, and the Idaho Forest Products Commission. For more information on the poster contest contact Gerry Bates, Idaho Coordinator, at 208-522-5964. Entries are due by March 13th.

J. Sterling Morton also originated the idea of using trees as memorials. He thought trees much superior to cold marble as memorials to persons or events. He said, “How much more enduring are the animate trees of our own planting.” The celebration of Arbor Day represents a priceless opportunity. Planting trees is an act of kindness and optimism. Trees purify our water and remove pollutants from our air. Additionally, they provide beauty for both the natural and constructed landscapes„mshade to cool a sun-warmed brow„mwind breaks that aid energy conservation„mshelter and food for wildlife„mthey are essential for soil conservation in a windy place. J. Sterling Morton was proud of the success of Arbor Day and noted, “Other holidays repose upon the past. Arbor Day proposes for the future.”

This was written, in part, by Gerry Bates, Southern Idaho Community Forestry Assistant. If you have questions about this newsletter or the Community Forestry Assistance Program, please contact Tera King with Northwest Management, Inc. at 208-883-4488 ext. 133.

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April 2009 Newsletter

New Tree Planting

The ideal time to plant trees and shrubs is during the dormant season – in the fall after leaf drop or early spring before bud break. This allows plants to establish roots in the new location before spring rains and summer heat stimulate new top growth. However, trees properly cared for in the nursery or garden center, and given the appropriate care during transport to prevent damage, can be planted throughout the growing season. Carefully follow these eight simple steps and you can significantly reduce the stress placed on the plant at the time of planting.

  1. Dig a shallow, broad planting hole. Make the hole wide, as much as three times the diameter of the root ball but only as deep as the distance from the bottom of the root ball to the trunk flare (also called the root collar). It is important to make the hole wide because the roots on the newly establishing tree must push through surrounding soil in order to establish. On most planting sites in new developments, the existing soils have been compacted and are unsuitable for healthy root growth. Breaking up the soil in a large area around the tree provides the newly emerging roots room to expand into loose soil to hasten establishment.
  2. Identify the trunk flare. The trunk flare is where the roots spread at the base of the tree. This point should be partially visible after the tree has been planted. Unfortunately, often the trunk flare is not visible, and you will have to remove some soil from the top of the root ball. Find it so you can determine how deep the hole needs to be for proper planting.
  3. Place the tree at the proper height. Before placing the tree in the hole, check to see that the hole has been dug to the proper depth and no more. The majority of the roots on the newly planted tree will develop in the top 12 inches of soil. If the tree is planted too deeply, new roots will have difficulty developing because of a lack of oxygen. Planted correctly, the tree’s roots will grow down and out into that rooting zone. As in nature, the trunk and roots will be at different heights, and won’t come in contact with each other as they grow larger. Planted too deep, the roots will grow up and out. Since the roots and trunk are now at the same height, as each grows larger they will someday meet, and stem girdling roots will cause early decline of the tree. It is better to plant the tree a little high, 2 to 3 inches above the base of the trunk flare, than to plant it at or below the original growing level. This planting level will allow for some settling. To avoid damage when setting the tree in the hole, always lift the tree by the root ball and never by the trunk. Be sure to remove containers or, if balled and burlapped, as much of the burlap and wire basket as possible.
  4. Straighten the tree in the hole. Before you begin backfilling, have someone view the tree from several directions to confirm that the tree is straight. Once you begin backfilling, it is difficult to reposition the tree.
  5. Fill the hole gently but firmly. Fill the hole about one-third full and use water to help settle the soil around the base of the root ball. Then, if the root ball is wrapped, cut and remove any fabric, plastic, string, and wire from around the trunk and root ball to facilitate growth. Be careful not to damage the trunk or roots in the process.  Fill the remainder of the hole, taking care to settle the soil to eliminate air pockets that may cause roots to dry out. It’s best to add the soil a few inches at a time and settle with water. Continue this process until the hole is filled and the tree is firmly planted. It is not recommended to apply fertilizer at the time of planting.
  6. Stake the tree, if necessary. If the tree is grown and dug properly at the nursery, staking for support will not be necessary in most home landscape situations. Studies have shown that trees establish more quickly and develop stronger trunk and root systems if they are not staked at the time of planting. However, protective staking may be required on sites where lawn mower damage, vandalism, or windy conditions are concerns. If staking is necessary for support, two stakes used in conjunction with a wide, flexible tie material on the lower half of the tree will hold the tree upright, provide flexibility, and minimize injury to the trunk. Remove support staking and ties after the first year of growth.
  7. Mulch the base of the tree. Mulch is simply organic matter applied to the area at the base of the tree. It acts as a blanket to hold moisture, it moderates soil temperature extremes, and it reduces competition from grass and weeds. Some good choices are leaf litter, pine straw, shredded bark, peat moss, or composted wood chips. A 2- to 4-inch layer is ideal. More than 4 inches may cause a problem with oxygen and moisture levels. When placing mulch, be sure that the actual trunk of the tree is not covered. Doing so may cause decay of the living bark at the base of the tree.
  8. Provide follow-up care. Keep the soil moist but not soaked; overwatering causes leaves to turn yellow or fall off. Water trees at least once a week, barring rain, and more frequently during hot weather. When the soil is dry below the surface of the mulch, it is time to water. Continue until mid-fall, tapering off for lower temperatures that require less-frequent watering.

This article was adapted from “Trees are Good – Tree Care Information” published by the International Society of Arboriculture in 2005. . Additional sources used were ANSI Standard A300 Part 6 National Tree Planting Standard and the Idaho Department of Lands. If you have questions about this newsletter or the Community Forestry Assistance Program, please contact Tera King with Northwest Management, Inc. at 208-883-4488 ext. 133.

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May 2009 Newsletter

Green infrastructure is an approach to wet weather management that is cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Green infrastructure management technologies infiltrate, evapotranspire, capture and reuse stormwater to maintain or restore natural hydrologies.

At the largest scale, the preservation and restoration of natural landscape features (such as forests, floodplains and wetlands) are critical components of green stormwater infrastructure. By protecting these ecologically sensitive areas, communities can improve water quality while providing wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
On a smaller scale, green infrastructure practices include rain gardens, porous pavements, green roofs, infiltration planters, trees and tree boxes, swales, and rainwater harvesting for non-potable uses such as toilet flushing and landscape irrigation.

Green infrastructure applications can reduce, capture, and treat stormwater runoff at its source before it can reach the sewer system. Site-specific practices, such as green roofs, downspout disconnections, rain harvesting/gardens, planter boxes, and permeable pavement are designed to mimic natural hydrologic functions and decrease the amount of impervious area and stormwater runoff from individual sites. These applications and approaches can keep stormwater out of the sewer system to reduce overflows and reduce the amount of untreated stormwater discharging to surface waters.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but here are a few examples of green infrastructure techniques that could be implemented locally.

rain garden is a planted depression that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, and compacted lawn areas the opportunity to be absorbed. This reduces rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground (as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater). Rain gardens can cut down on the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams by up to 30%.

Vegetated swales are landscape elements designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water. They consist of a swaled drainage course with gently sloped sides (less than six percent) and filled with vegetation, compost and/or riprap. The water’s flow path, along with the wide and shallow ditch, is designed to maximize the time water spends in the swale, which aids the trapping of pollutants and silt. Depending upon the geometry of land available, a swale may have a meandering or almost straight channel alignment. Biological factors also contribute to the breakdown of certain pollutants. A common application is around parking lots, where substantial automotive pollution is collected by the paving and then flushed by rain. The swale, or other type of biofilter, wraps around the parking lot and treats the runoff before releasing it to the watershed or storm sewer.

Low Impact Development (LID) is a term used to describe a land planning and engineering design approach to managing stormwater runoff. LID emphasizes conservation and use of on-site natural features to protect water quality.This approach implements engineered small-scale hydrologic controls to replicate the pre-development hydrologic regime of watersheds through infiltrating, filtering, storing, evaporating, and detaining runoff close to its source.

For more information and examples, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure” website at

If you have questions about this newsletter or the Community Forestry Assistance Program or would like additional information, please contact Tera King with Northwest Management, Inc. at 208-883-4488 ext. 133.

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June 2009 Newsletter

CTE Grant Enhances the Coeur d’Alene Kroc Center!

The new Ray & Joan Kroc Center is a dream come true for Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding communities. The Center, which officially opened on May 11, includes an aquatic center with a competition lap pool and leisure pool; a multi-purpose gymnasium that can accommodate basketball, soccer and volleyball; a fitness center; an indoor running track; a rock climbing wall; an aerobics studio; a community room; and a chapel and performing arts center.

The Center has incorporated several “green” elements into the facility and surrounding grounds. The site was formerly used as a landfill and gravel pit. Green open space areas surround the facility and several species of trees and shrubs have been planted. As these trees grow and mature, they will provide dust control, reduce noise, help abate stormwater runoff, and reduce energy costs for heating and cooling the facility. Engineered grassy swales are present throughout the open space, which will filter stormwater runoff and reduce pollution to the water table.

In 2007, the City of Coeur D’Alene applied for and received a Community Transportation Enhancement (CTE) grant for tree planting in the Ramsey Road medians, which borders the east side of the Kroc Center. The CTE grant program is funded through the Idaho Transportation Department and the Idaho Department of Lands with the purpose of enhancing transportation corridors through the planting of trees and shrubs. The program also educates, stimulates interest in, and assists with the development of sustainable urban forestry programs in communities throughout Idaho.

The Ramsey Road CTE project involved planting 48 shade trees and 8 flowering trees in the Ramsey Road medians along a two-mile stretch from Appleway to Hanley Avenue. The project enhances the beauty of the medians–which also serve as stormwater swales; improves public safety by further dividing lanes of opposing traffic; shades sidewalks and bike paths; improves air quality; and provides supplemental environmental and aesthetic enhancements for the Kroc Center and other public and private entities located along the Ramsey Road corridor. The project was completed in 2008.

Tree planting and beautification efforts along Ramsey Road, including the CTE grant project, provide an added value beyond aesthetics not just to the new Kroc Center, but also for Ramsey Park, the transfer station, the fire station, and Lake City High School. The new trees and other landscaping elements form the backbone of a green infrastructure network along one of Coeur d’Alene’s primary transportation corridors.

All Idaho cities, counties, and tribal governments interested in developing or improving a sustainable community forestry program are eligible CTE grant applicants. Successful applicants must have or agree to form a tree committee and develop a program work plan to be implemented during the grant project period. In the past, applicants were required to contribute a minimum 10% cash match of the total grant funds received. If you are interested in applying for a 2009-2010 CTE grant; contact your local community forestry assistant for more information on deadlines and requirements.

 If you have questions about this newsletter or the Community Forestry Assistance Program or would like additional information, please contact Tera King with Northwest Management, Inc. at 208-883-4488 ext. 133.

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July 2009 Newsletter

CTE Grant Helps Launch Lewiston’s Community Park

Lewiston, Idaho celebrated Arbor Day in 2006 by planting 66 trees in what had been recently dedicated as Community Park. A Community Transportation Enhancement (CTE) grant from the Idaho Transportation Department administered by the Idaho Department of Lands provided funding for trees and irrigation on both sides of the first three quarters of a mile of a walking path that will eventually circumnavigate a 310 acre site on the northern edge of the Lewiston Orchards.

Joggers and hikers on the Community Park pathway enjoy beautiful vistas of the Lewiston hill in the distance to the north. Wildlife, including mule deer, hawks, pheasants and coyotes can often been seen in a steep canyon containing a tributary of Lindsey Creek that borders the path on the east. Visitors often comment on how well the sunset maples, chokecherries, yellow wood, bur oak, Austrian pine, and Vanderwolf pine, planted with CTE dollars, are doing. Baseball diamonds, soccer fields, playgrounds, an amphitheater, and many other features will eventually complete the Community Park on the land west of the pathway, but actual construction is on hold until additional funding sources can be located.

 Despite the fact that the undeveloped section of Lewiston’s Community Park is currently planted with wheat, a recreation program is planned in the area this fall. Five acres of corn will be planted as soon as the wheat is harvested. Lewiston Parks and Recreation will invite visitors to experience a corn maze at Community Park this Halloween in cooperation with local landowners and the University of Idaho Agriculture Department. The University’s agriculture program has volunteered to design the maze, irrigate the corn, and operate the entrance gate for two weekends.

Until funding can be located for playfields and other features, the partners are building infrastructure for the complex. Funding from an Idaho Parks Department Trail Grant extended the pathway 3,000 feet north and built a 10 space parking lot with permeable surface in 2008. City crews are working now to extend Park Avenue, sidewalks, and the water main one quarter mile into Community Park and the future high school site. These improvements were possible through funding from a congressional appropriation. Additional federal funds have been received to build a new sewer line into the canyon to intercept an existing sewer line. Lewiston’s Community Park is already a major success story for the city; however, additional grants or funding will be the key to further improvements at Community Park.

Furthermore, CTE grants have provided seed money to complete two other projects in Lewiston. In 2002, the CTE program funded the planting of more than 125 trees as well as an irrigation system to help beautify the north entrance to Lewiston. A 2004 CTE grant added 77 more trees to the north entrance and modified irrigation at the junction of US 95 and Highway 12. The CTE program as well as the dedication of many of Lewiston’s staff and volunteers has helped improve and beautify Lewiston’s public areas with trees that will provide untold benefits for decades to come.

All Idaho cities, counties, and tribal governments interested in developing or improving a sustainable community forestry program are eligible CTE grant applicants. Successful applicants must have or agree to form a tree committee and develop a program work plan to be implemented during the grant project period. In the past, applicants were required to contribute a minimum 10% cash match of the total grant funds received. If you are interested in applying for a 2009-2010 CTE grant; contact your local community forestry assistant immediately for more information on deadlines and requirements.

 If you have questions about this newsletter or the Community Forestry Assistance Program or would like additional information, please contact Tera King with Northwest Management, Inc. at 208-883-4488 ext. 133.

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August 2009 Newsletter

Little Town, Big Results!!

When the little town of Peck received a transportation grant to replace their deteriorated sidewalks, several of the big shade trees on Main Street had to be removed. Citizens of the community expressed their concern and tried to save the trees . . . to no avail. Once the sidewalk project was completed, it was clear that Main Street looked naked without the trees; thus, the city council appointed a five member tree committee to establish an urban forestry program and begin the task of replacing the lost trees as well as adding more to the downtown area.

 The tree committee’s first task was to establish a tree ordinance that would protect the new as well as existing plantings. Their next step was to become a Tree City USA, which required a $2 per capita contribution from the city of Peck annually. They were awarded this recognition in 2005 and have remained a Tree City USA every since. In 2005, the tree committee also decided to apply for a Community Transportation Enhancement (CTE) grant sponsored by the Idaho Department of Lands and the Idaho Transportation Department to plant trees along Main Street.

“We were ecstatic when we were awarded the CTE grant for over $12,000!” said then Mayor, Sarah Walz who was also a member of the tree committee. Peck had also secured donated boulders, equipment, and labor in the amount of almost $5,000. The tree committee chose trees based on drought tolerance, disease and insect resistance, longevity, and aesthetic appeal. In April of 2006, ground was broke on the planting project. Because the planting sites were in existing parking areas, the ground was severely compacted and full of river rock. Alan Fowler, a long time resident of Peck and owner of A&K Construction, donated excavation work for 23 large planting holes. Top soil was hauled in to provide adequate growing and rooting space. Boulders and concrete landscaping rings were placed around each of the trees for protection against vehicles.

 In order to help fund the CTE project and provide for future maintenance, the tree committee implemented a “Plant A Memory” program that turned out to be a huge success. This effort allowed community members to dedicate a tree with engraved stone markers in memory of or recognition to a person or group. Of the 27 trees planted as part of the CTE grant project, 25 of them were dedicated with a pledge of $100 per tree.

 The tree planting project has been more than successful…the trees have added beauty, shade, and lasting memories for community members. “It was a lot of work, but truly worth it when you drive by or walk alongside them, admiring their beauty. The personal touch of the stone markers ensures their existence for many years to come, replacing any tree as needed.”

All Idaho cities, counties, and tribal governments interested in developing or improving a sustainable community forestry program are eligible CTE grant applicants. Successful applicants must have or agree to form a tree committee and develop a program work plan to be implemented during the grant project period. Applicants are required to contribute a minimum 10% cash match of the total grant funds received. If you are interested in applying for a 2009-2010 CTE grant (deadline is September 4th); contact your local community forestry assistant immediately. Additional information and application forms are available at

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September 2009 Newsletter

Street Tree Contribution to the Government Way Reconstruction

Government Way forms the main north-south roadway through downtown Hayden. As the main roadway, it defines the character of downtown Hayden.
Prior to the reconstruction, Government Way was a two-lane asphalt roadway without curbs, gutters, or sidewalks. Asphalt, concrete and gravel driveways and parking lots extended to the edge of the roadway. The corridor was designed specifically for automobile use only.

Through the downtown visioning process, a clear idea of what the ideal “main street” business district should look like was developed. The roadway improvements envisioned included components such as underground utilities, curbs gutters and sidewalks, street lights, median islands, parkstrip swales and street trees. These improvements were combined in the vision to create the sense of a community center where pedestrians and bicyclists have an equal footing with vehicular uses.

The Community Transportation Enhancement (CTE) grant funded the purchase of trees in the center core of a much larger reconstruction project. The section from Prairie Avenue to Honeysuckle Avenue was completed through a partnership between the public and private sector. The section from Honeysuckle to Miles Avenue was completed using city, state and federal funding. The CTE grant funds were coupled with city funds to plant over 150 trees from Honeysuckle Avenue to Hayden Avenue. The public/private partnerships resulted in over 70 trees being planted.

The Government Way improvements were designed to enhance, yet calm, the flow of traffic through the downtown area. Center left turn lanes incorporated into the design facilitate left turns while maintaining thru traffic. Within the center left turn lanes, treed median islands were incorporated to break up the roadway monotony and slow traffic as well as provide a safe haven for pedestrians using the crosswalks.
The trees along the sides of the roadway were planted to serve a number of functions including traffic calming, aesthetics, and most important, scale. By creating a sense of scale, the trees calm traffic within, and add aesthetics to, the downtown area. In conjunction with the reconfigured roadway, the trees have allowed the reintroduction of a human element to the downtown area.

And finally, the trees help define the downtown area as a destination point, and not simply a transportation route. By defining the downtown as a destination, the trees and streetscape enhancements will improve the business climate and spur redevelopment of existing land to uses conducive to a thriving downtown area.

October 2009 Newsletter

Urban Conifers Get Buggy, Too!

Huge sections of the forests in the Pacific Northwest continue to suffer from insect infestation by a variety of forest insects. These critters aren’t just in rural forests. They follow the trees, moving into cities, parks and yards—wherever they can find a meal. In 2008, about 9.4 million acres of forest land across the United States had new mortality attributed to forest insects, with the most heavily affected areas being in the western US. Mountain pine beetle is overwhelmingly (66%) responsible for the most mortality.

The major forest pests always include bark beetles and native defoliators. These insects are all being found in our urban areas as well as the forests.

 Bark Beetles

Although only about the size of a grain of rice, “bark beetles” are the 800-pound gorillas of forest pest management. As they search and communicate to locate and aggregate their attack on densely growing or weakened trees, bark beetles are usually the direct cause of tree death even when trees are stressed by other factors. When bark beetle populations are large, even otherwise healthy trees may be killed.
Most bark beetles can only successfully attack and breed in one species or genus of tree. They feed on fresh inner bark tissue (phloem) and cannot successfully feed on or breed in trees that have been dead for more than a few months.

Beetle outbreaks depend on a combination of weather and stand conditions coming together: 1) host trees of suitable sizes, 2) forests of low vigor due to density or damage from storms, 3) sustained periods of drought or other weather extremes, 4) suitable species composition, and 5) a beetle population that produces more beetles than die while trying to infest the trees.
In an urban setting, avoiding tree injury and providing adequate water during dry months are the most important bark beetle prevention tactics.


The most important native conifer defoliators in the west are western spruce budworm and the Douglas-fir tussock moth. As summer caterpillars, these insects eat the foliage of Douglas-fir and grand fir which are major components of our native mixed-conifer forests.

Budworms primarily excavate new buds and consume the current year’s foliage, which allows budworm outbreaks to persist in an area for many years, even decades, as trees slowly decline and are unable to replace aging interior foliage with new needles. In contrast, the tussock moth caterpillars can eat all the foliage on a tree within one season. Tussock moth outbreaks occur and decline rapidly in a dramatic 3 to 4 year cycle.

When viewing defoliated trees, look closely at leaves and branches to identify the cause. Defoliation can be caused by drought, winter injury, pollution, foliage disease, root disease, or insects. Use forest entomology and pathology resources when investigating defoliators of conifers. In some cases, by the time urban trees are affected the situation is well developed in adjacent forest lands.

This article is excerpted from “Pacific Northwest Trees”, a publication of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. The full article was written by Karen Ripley, Forest Health Program Manager, Washington State DNR.

 November 2009 Newsletter

Urban Forests and Carbon Trading

Urban forests have a role to play in reducing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. Urban trees reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) through sequestration and reducing GHG emissions by conserving energy used for space heating and cooling. Carbon sequestration is the process by which CO2 is transformed into above and below ground biomass and stored as carbon. During photosynthesis, atmospheric CO2 enters the leaf through stomata, combines with water, and is converted into cellulose, sugars, and other materials in a chemical reaction catalyzed by sunlight. Most of these materials become fixed as wood, although some are respired back as CO2 or used to make leaves that are eventually shed by the tree.

Once trees die or are cut down, they begin to decompose and return stored carbon to the atmosphere. The rate of decomposition differs greatly based on the use of the wood. Wood that is chipped and applied as mulch decomposes relatively quickly, while wood salvaged for use in wood products can survive 50 years or more before gradually decomposing. The combustion of gasoline and diesel fuels by vehicle fleets and by equipment such as chainsaws, chippers, stump removers, and leaf blowers is a GHG emission source. Typically, CO2 released due to tree planting, maintenance, and other program-related activities is about 2 to 5% of annual CO2 reductions obtained through sequestration and reduced power plant emissions.

Recently, the city of Moscow, Idaho, the Clearwater Resource, Conservation, and Development Council (RC&D), and the Latah Soil and Water Conservation District partnered to implement a pilot project that used the Chicago Climate Exchange’s protocol and Moscow’s urban tree inventory to calculate the CO2 stored in the city’s urban forest. Moscow’s goal is to be able to use this information to one day sell their carbon “credits” to GHG emitters who are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint. In effect, the buyer is paying a charge for polluting, while Moscow is being rewarded for having reduced emissions by more than was needed. Trading carbon credits has the potential to produce additional income for landowners and operators, including cities.

Very few GHG tree projects have been undertaken because of uncertainty regarding their performance and permanence. The Urban Forest Project Reporting Protocol was developed to reduce this uncertainty by providing a standard set of guidelines for use throughout the United States. The protocol provides detailed guidance to ensure that tree projects meet eligibility requirements, produce GHG reductions that are additional to a baseline, are sustained for at least 100 years, and do not detract from management of existing trees. The protocol also describes how to calculate and report carbon storage by project trees, as well as emissions associated with their maintenance. Adoption of the urban forest protocol sets the stage for investment in large-scale tree planting and stewardship projects because projects that adhere to the protocol’s guidance will generate real, reliable, additional and credible GHG reductions. Registered carbon reductions are “quality offset credits” that pose less risk to investors than unregistered credits. The market for quality offset credits is growing as corporations, utilities, and individuals purchase credits to offset their emissions or become carbon neutral.

The future of the CO2 and other GHG trading market is currently being decided. H.R.2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, was passed by the House of Representatives in June of 2009 and is now being debated in the Senate. This is the Waxman-Markley comprehensive energy bill, known for short as “ACES,” that includes a cap-and-trade global warming reduction plan designed to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020. Other provisions include new renewable requirements for utilities, studies and incentives regarding new carbon capture and sequestration technologies, energy efficiency incentives for homes and buildings, and grants for green jobs, among other things.

California Example

Some initial research suggests that planting lots of trees in California communities can make a difference when it comes to fighting climate change. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32) requires a reduction in GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. This amounts to a reduction of 173 Mt (million metric tons) from the predicted level in 2020. Using aerial photography, researchers found 242 million empty tree planting sites in California cities. If 50 million trees were planted, they would sequester about 4.5 Mt CO2 (million tons) annually. If they were planted strategically to shade east and west walls of residential buildings, they would reduce air conditioning energy use by 6,408 GWh, equivalent to an average annual CO2 equivalent emission reduction of 1.8 Mt. The estimated total CO2 reduction of 6.3 Mt annually is 3.6% of the 173 Mt statewide goal or about the same as would be obtained from retrofitting homes with energy-efficient electric appliances.

If you have questions about this newsletter or the Community Forestry Assistance Program or would like additional information, please contact Tera King with Northwest Management, Inc. at 208-883-4488 ext. 133.

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December 2009 Newsletter

Boise to Receive “Anne Frank Tree” Sapling

“From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the sea gulls and other birds as they glide on the wind,” Anne Frank wrote in her diary on February 23rd, 1944 six months before her hideout was discovered. Anne often marveled at the tree as it changed through the seasons, blooming flamboyantly, then slowly losing its leaves, outside the small office building at 263 Prinsengracht where she and her family were hidden during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Anne Frank died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 at the age of 15.

Through saplings descended from the majestic horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) that gave her so much pleasure in her bleak hideout, Anne Frank will soon have her story joined with that of the Little Rock Nine – the black students who integrated an Arkansas high school under the guard of 1,200 soldiers in 1957. The school, Little Rock Central High School, is one of 11 sites dedicated to fighting intolerance that have been chosen by the Anne Frank Center USA as the destination for saplings that originated from the tree in Amsterdam, now 150 years old and dying of a lethal fungus.

With the famous horse chestnut reaching the end of its life, the Anne Frank Center announced in April that it would take applications from institutions that wanted a derivative sapling. Thirty-four applied, though three – the White House, the World Trade Center site in New York, and the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis – were chosen ahead of time. Eight other sites including the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise were also chosen to receive one of the saplings. The City of Boise and the Idaho Human Rights organization worked together to develop a compelling application for this special honor.

The sapling is not scheduled to arrive in Boise for nearly three years as it is currently being quarantined in a Maryland nursery to make sure it doesn’t carry any diseases.
Yvonne Simons, executive director of the Anne Frank Center, said the 11 sites were chosen largely because they showed “the consequences of intolerance – and that includes racism, discrimination and hatred.”

For Frank, the chestnut tree was a rare connection to nature during the two years her family hid in cramped conditions above a canalside warehouse. She wrote of the tree’s beauty several times, including in a memorable passage from Feb. 23, 1944 . . . .
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, alone or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God.”

U.S. Recipients of Anne Frank Tree saplings:

  • The White House – Washington D.C.
  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – Indiana
  • Sonoma State University – California
  • Southern Cayuga School District – New York
  • Washington State Holocaust Resource Center – Washington
  • Boston Common – Massachusetts
  • Central High School – Arkansas
  • Holocaust Memorial Center – Michigan
  • Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial – Idaho
  • William J. Clinton Foundation – Arkansas
  • National September 11 Memorial and Museum – New York

If you have questions about this newsletter or the Community Forestry Assistance Program or would like additional information, please contact Tera King with Northwest Management, Inc. at 208-883-4488 ext. 133.

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