March 19, 2006

Controversial SB294 is defeated

On March 13, the Georgia Senate failed to pass a bill that had significant implications to local tree, landscape and stream buffer ordinances. Although it would not have affected the current state regulations for streambanks and buffers, it would have prevented municipalities from enacting more restrictive or protective streambank ordinances beyond the state minimum. It also would have precluded local governments from enacting or enforcing tree removal ordinances that affect individual homeowners, such as the City of Atlanta's tree ordinance.

Conservation groups and supporters of tree ordinances are likely breathing a sigh of relief.

SB294 was primarily authored by senator Chip Pearson, of Dawnsonville, and was strongly opposed by such groups as the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club and Athens Grow Green Coalition.

March 15, 2006

Tree Mulch Update

Here is more information regarding the safety of tree mulch products shipped from the southern US.

March 13, 2006

Big Tree Search 2006

If you know of a big tree, secretly growing in your backyard or in the corner of a neighborhood park, its time to get the word out to Atlanta. Trees Atlanta and the Arbor Day Partners are looking for the largest tree of each native species inside I-285. The Big Tree Search recognizes the trees, and publically maintains an updated list of the champions.

The 2006 search appears to have wrapped up for this year (the deadline for entries was in February), so the new winners will likely be announced soon. If you missed your chance this year, submit a nomination form for 2007.

The Big Tree Search was formerly administered by Park Pride.

March 8, 2006

Termite Scare - trees and house in danger from mulch?

An unsubstantiated warning is spreading throughout gardening and landscape circles, via a rediculous email - Mulch shipped from the Katrina areas of the US may contain the Formosan Termite and could damage your house and trees.

While the Formosan Termite is a problem in the lower latitudes of the US, it does not threaten the Atlanta area. Atlanta is too far north and we have too many cold spells to allow the termite eggs to hatch. In addition, the adults are unlikely to survive the mulch shredding process. After the shredding, mulch begins to compost automatically. Composting creates very high temperatures, in excess of 120 F, at which no remaining termite could escape!

The Houston Chronicle, and subsequently Snopes.com, have put this rumor to rest. Now what about regular termites here in Atlanta? Do they pose a threat?

No. Termites need structure. Tree mulch does not provide the structure, such as a long wood beam or railroad tie, in which to build their galleries. Mulch near your house foundation will not attract termites to your house.