Drought Causes Tree Death and Limbs to Fall

Tyler State Park in East Texas has seen an increase in trees dying, due to drought in the region. Although more trees are dying, the state park says that it has been difficult keeping up with the necessary tree maintenance and removal because the state legislature took away some of their funding this year. An estimated 250 dying trees have been cut down in the park from about April through June to keep campers safe.

One tree that was not cut in time dropped a large limb onto an RV in the park. Neal Williams, his wife, and two grandsons were asleep in the RV at the time the branch fell. Although they were uninjured, the RV suffered minor damage. Williams and park officials were surprised that the limb fell in calm weather from what appeared to be a healthy tree.

Tyler State Park Superintendent, Bill Smart, says, “Since most of the trees die in winter, we don’t know until spring when the trees were supposed to come back and out, and they weren’t coming back out.” Smart warns that although they are doing the best they can, they need people to be aware of the condition of the trees and of the possibility of limbs falling.


Tree Preservation

tree preservation under construction photo

tree preservation under construction photo

The city of Cambridge, Ontario has decided that it needs a bylaw that protects trees from being cut down by residents and developers. This policy change has come about after past concerns were aired from tree removals on construction sites and from the recent tree removals at the Hill Manor nursing home. The Hill Manor nursing home is a long-term care facility that is undergoing an expansion. The company operating this facility, Peoplecare, decided to remove two butternut hybrid trees that the city council had requested be saved during construction. Because there was no bylaw in place before the removal, Peoplecare will not be penalized for the removal.

The butternut hybrid trees were removed because they were not in excellent health and because they would prevent a fire truck from reaching the back of the building. Although these removals have been factored into a replanting proposal for the site, Janet Babcock, commissioner of planning for the city, is unhappy with the removals. “ It is not just a question of replacement, you can’t just replace a tree that’s been growing for 50 years,” she said.

The proposed tree protection bylaw was presented to the Cambridge city council on June 27th. This bylaw would set guidelines for removing trees that developers and residents would have to follow. Currently, the tree bylaw is scheduled to be ready for the council to vote on in November and become active in December. “A tree preservation would be helpful…it puts in place penalties in the event that someone wants to remove mature, healthy trees,” said Babcock.



Asian Longhorn Beetle Eradication

Clermont County, Ohio discovered they had an Asian longhorn beetle infestation last summer. The beetle tunnels into trees in the larval stage and kills by cutting off the water and nutrient supply to the trees. The beetles are especially attracted to maple trees, but also attack 12 other types of trees, including willows, elms, and poplars, which means they are a serious threat to the Ohio forests and timber industry. The beetles are believed to have arrived in cargo shipments from Asia containing wooden materials.

To reduce the spread of the beetle, agriculture officials are requiring trucks be covered with tarp while hauling infested trees. The infested trees are being chipped down to a size where the beetles won’t survive. Because thousands of infested trees were removed last year, when the beetles emerge this spring the hope is that the population will be drastically reduced.

The federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service released a plan earlier this month that would cut down every beetle-infested tree as well as every other healthy tree they could attack within a half-mile radius of the infected tree. They say this is the most effective eradication method. Two other options in the plan would treat healthy trees with a protective pesticide.

The beetles are difficult to detect – from the ground, well-trained individuals only spot about 30% of lightly infested trees, while trained climbers detect about 70%. State and federal funding is available to eradicate the beetle and for reforestation programs.