May 2, 2009

Trees and the Atlanta Storms

An interesting chart regarding the April windstorms has been posted at the OnebarkBlog.

April 16, 2009

Atlanta Storms

I've begun a series of short articles regarding the recent Atlanta storms on the Onebark Blog. Check it out; I'll be posting installments over the next week.

April 13, 2009

Freak Windstorm Batters Trees Across Atlanta

This morning, the metro residents were awakened to several hours of falling trees and limbs.

Although the weather system did not look particularly ominous, I struck out for my morning appointments. In northwest Atlanta, I was greeted by residential streets blocked by both dead and live trees that had toppled across the roadways. In one instance, as I backed away from a fallen tree in the Margaret Mitchell neighborhood, I caught a glimpse of a pine falling across the street behind me. I was now actually blocked on both sides!

I was able to get out of my Jeep, and quickly pull back enough of the tree top to create an escape route. This is one of the few times in storm history that I was afraid to be in my vehicle. I drove down the street to a cul-de-sac, where no tall trees existed, until the winds died down.

This windstorm was caused by intermittent downdrafts, creating wave-like patterns across the landscape. These waves are very forceful and can cause trees to fail in unexpected ways.

March 24, 2009

Eastern Tent Caterpillars Active

The eastern tent caterpillar was seen in full force yesterday. Mostly a pest of Black cherry Prunus serrata here in the Southeast, it can sometimes be seen in several other common trees as well. The caterpillar forms a dense, white 'tent' in the crotches of tree branches, where the caterpillar rests.

While it is not a particularly damaging insect, it can weaken already stressed trees by causing the host tree to sprout new leaves. This resprouting leaves the tree with a short energy deficeit in the early spring.

It is rarely worth trying to control this insect unless they are active in a high-value tree. Broadcast sprays of insecticides work well but are environmentally risky; professional systemic control with Acephate is confined and effective.

March 18, 2009

Cobb County Tree Planting Continues

Keep Cobb Beautiful’s program "Cobb Trees" is hosting its season finale tree planting on Saturday, March 21, at the walking trails of Al Bishop Park, 1082 Al Bishop Drive, Marietta.

This comes on the heels of Marietta's recent mass, citywide tree replacement program.

Volunteers are needed to help preserve and beautify this area. Check-in and refreshments begin at 8:30 a.m. with a demonstration and planting at 9 a.m. To celebrate the successful season, a cookout will follow the tree planting.

Pre-registration is required to ensure adequate food, supplies and planting materials for volunteers. To volunteer, visit Keep Cobb Beautiful, or call (770) 528-1135 and ask for the Cobb Trees program.

March 13, 2009

Ambrosia Beetle Activity Sighted in Georgia Nursery


The dreaded Asian Ambrosia Beetle has made its seasonal appearance. Asian ambrosia beetle damage was found at two Georgia nurseries [names withheld], attacking an October Glory red maple and some other woody plant material.

The Asian Ambrosia beetle is a minute ambrosia beetle of Asian origin that was first detected in the continental United States near Charleston, South Carolina. It apparently has spread along the lower Piedmont region and coastal plain to North Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, and East Texas.

Xylosandrus crassiusculus adult beetles and larva bore into the trunks of trees, excavating a system of tunnels and introduce a fungus on which they feed. The fungus clogs the xylem, killing the plant. Beetle damage can be seen as spines of boring dust, with the appearance of a broken toothpick, protruding from tiny holes. Unlike other ambrosia beetles, which normally attack only stressed or damaged plants, Asian ambrosia beetles can attack reasonably healthy plants.

Preventative insecticidal sprays can reduce infestations.

Thanks to Tim Thoms, of Thoms Trees and Plants, Inc. for the tip.

February 3, 2009

Advanced Tree Appraisal Workshop

The Georgia Urban Forestry Council is offering an advanced skills course in tree appraisal:

Location: Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences, 4182 Forsyth Road, Macon, GA. Participants will review the common methodologies available to tree appraisers, and delve into how these methodologies apply to real-world scenarios. Topics will include tree appraisal theory, review of common alternative methods, unusual circumstances, and development of the value premise. Both beginners and more advanced students will benefit.

Instructors: Jesse Milton, President, Onebark, Board Certified Master Arborist; Rob Swanson, President, Specimen Tree, Certified Arborist February 11, 8:30 a.m to 4 p.m. $100 members, $110 non-members Lunch provided.

6 ISA CEUs and 7 SAF contact hours will be offered. Certificates of attendance are available for all. Click here for a registration form (PDF).

January 16, 2009

Cold Snap Not a Problem for Windmill Palm


Palms are not just for warm climates. The Windmill Palm Trachycarpus fortunei is the most cold hardy Palm 'tree' that you can grow in the Piedmont, tolerating temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

The trunk of this tree can mature between 20 and 40 feet, depending on soil and sunlight conditions. Full, blazing sun is the key to growing this palm. This tree, er...grass, can fit well into small areas like courtyards and entries. It is often seen as a framing accent near Mediterranean-influenced architecture.

One of my favorite contexts is the Windmill palm planted in a group, especially when palms of different heights are staggered in irregular patterns.

The trick to finding a palm species to grow in Atlanta is finding one that will tolerate the cold, heat, AND humidity.

January 7, 2009

Early Blooms seen on Red Maples


Several patches of urban-planted Red maples were seen to have flower blooms as recently as Tuesday, January 6. This is one of the earliest Atlanta sightings in recent memory.

It appears the early bloomers are primarily cultivated varieties, most of which are near parking lots or landscaped areas.

January 3, 2009

First-grade Teacher Wins Tree Grant for School

Alicia Lindsey, of Mansfield Elementary near Covington, has secured a new resource for the her school: she won a $5,000 tree planting grant from the Georgia Forestry Commission. After talking with GFC forester Beryl Budd, Lindsey decided to apply for the grant hoping to gain more shade for the school grounds and provide new educational tools for students.

The Georgia Forestry Commission has provided this grant since 2005, and since awarded it to more than a dozen schools throughout Georgia.

Over the holiday break, volunteers from school staff, parents, city and county workers, the Service Guild of Covington, and Hands on Newton, all banded together to install 40 new trees. Species include a variety of oaks, maples, myrtle, cherry and elm trees. The diverse mix will produce an array of colors and blooms, with a mature canopy height of 60 to 80 feet.

Lindsey is looking forward to a cooler playground. The equipment sometimes gets so hot that the school has actually closed the playground down in August.

The City of Mansfield also installed a new water line so the school would be able to water the new trees.