Restoring Hope to Disaster-Stricken Communities

DSC_0061 (3)How would your community work toward restoring the local ecosystem following a natural disaster? The terrible wildfires in the western part of the United States are the latest example of why this question remains top-of-mind for community leaders. Communities continue to face devastating loss at the hands of wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and many other natural disasters.

The Community Tree Recovery Program was set up to play an important role in the process of helping communities rebuild following natural disasters. We are currently working on recovery projects in twelve different states. One of these projects is in need of immediate assistance because of timeliness and severity.

The news has been filled with reports of the many uncontained wildfires out west. And with good reason, many of these fires are the worst in decades. Washington is experiencing the worst wildfire in state history, the Okanogan Complex Fire. This comes on the heels of the  Carlton Complex Fire – the previous worst wildfire in state historywhich happened just last year. 

As the courageous firefighters battling these blazes and work to contain them, we need to begin the planning process for helping communities recover. Humanitarian needs will be priority one. But once those needs have been met, we will begin the process of distributing trees to organizations and residents in these areas. Help these communities replant trees lost to wildfire.

Chinese Pistache: There’s More Than Meets the Eye

(Pistacia chinensis)

112_lg_3[1]Sometimes nicknamed the ‘ugly duckling’ in the tree world, the Chinese pistache is often snubbed because of its unattractive and misshapen early stages. Although born into rough beginnings, the tree develops into an impressive specimen. It’s a hardy tree and commonly used in dry landscapes.

As the name predicts, the Chinese pistache is related to the pistachio tree, although it does not produce any nuts. Not only is this tree heat and drought-tolerant, but it is also winter hardy AND pest and fire resistant. Talk about resilience! Here are a few things to note if you’re looking to add one to your yard.

112_lg_2[1]Environmental Factors

  • Grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, silty loam, well-drained and clay soils (hardiness zones 6-9).
  • Grows 1-2 feet a year, reaching 25-35 feet at maturity.
  • Prefers full sun, at least 6 hours of direct unfiltered sunlight a day

Physical Attributes

  • Produces panicles of greenish flowers in April & May.
  • Withstands heat quite well and tolerates urban conditions.
  • Provides vibrant fall foliage with shades of orange and red.

Do you have a Chinese pistache? Share a picture!

Our Hardiness Zone Map Gets a Refresh

The Arbor Day Foundation distributes millions of trees every year, so it’s important that we have an accurate hardiness zone map. This map separates the country into ten different temperature zones to help people select the right trees to plant where they live. Knowing this information helps us—and you—ensure the trees you receive have the best chance of thriving. It’s one of the important tools in any tree planter’s arsenal.

Hardiness-Zone-MapBecause of this, we gave ours an update. Take a moment to check out the Arbor Day Foundation’s new 2015 Hardiness Zone Map, based upon data from 5,000 National Climatic Data Center cooperative stations across the continental United States.

We like to revise the map every 10 years or so to keep up with any temperature shifts that may have occurred. While not many areas changed with this update, people living in the  northeast or along the Ohio River Valley may be in a new zone.

Not sure what hardiness zone you’re in? We have a simple hardiness zone lookup tool to help you figure it out.

Sourwood: A Sweet Surprise

(Oxydendrum arboretum)

What if there were a tree with scented flowers and tart leaves that shaded you from the sun’s heat in the summer and amused you with vibrant foliage in the fall, would you be interested? The sourwood tree does just that. This tree is exclusive to North America and isn’t found on other continents unless planted there. Named after the tangy flavor of its leaves, the sourwood tree is full of wonder. Sourwood blossom

Mountain climbers and hikers quench their thirst by making tea with sourwood leaves, and pioneers used the sap in a mixture for treating fevers. Agonizing from mouth pain? Early settlers chewed the bark as relief from mouth ulcers. Additionally, bees make honey from the nectar of sourwood flowers—rumor has it sourwood honey is among the best quality. Aside from the natural remedies sourwood boasts, this tree is a natural beauty. Check out a few of these tree care tips if you’re considering adding a sourwood for your yard.

Environmental Factors

  • Grows 1-2 feet a year, reaching 25-30 feet at maturity.
  • Although it is native to the south, it will grow in a variety of hardiness zones (5-9).
  • Prefers normal moisture but has some drought tolerance. Grows in acidic, loamy, moist, well-drained and clay soils. Avoid alkaline or compacted soils.
  • Does best in full sun, getting at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day, but will tolerate partial shade.

Physical Attributes

  • Blooms fragrant, white flowers in late summer (June to early July) that resemble lilies-of-the-valley.
  • Can live up to 200 years if planted at the right site.
  • Bees produce high quality honey from the blossoms of the tree that is said to have a caramel or buttery flavor.
  • Offers vibrant fall color with leaves turning crimson, purplish-red and sometimes yellow. The numerous uses that stem from the sourwood give this tree some merit. Its shorter height make it a great contender to plant in your yard, or in front of a backdrop of taller trees.

Do you have a sourwood? Share a picture below!

August is Tree Check Month: Are Your Trees Safe?

In case you haven’t heard, August is Tree Check Month and taking a few minutes from your day to examine your trees for pest threats could save you some grim damage down the road. August is a time of peak emergence for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) who earned a reputation for threatening recreational areas, forests and suburban shade trees. If ALB were to become widely established in the U.S., it would have a severe impact on the timber, maple syrup, tree nursery and tourism industries and would take decades to recover.

ALB

Spot the Signs

Besides seeing the beetle itself there are distinctive signs to look for while examining your trees.

  • Round Exit Holes– adult beetles chew their way out of the tree, leaving one-quarter inch exit holes.
  • Oval or round-shaped egg sites- female beetles chew up to 90 oval depressions, called oviposition sites, or egg sites, into the bark of the host tree, and then lay a single egg beneath the bark resembling a wound on the tree.
  • Accumulation of frass- As the larvae feed they leave a sawdust-like excrement on the ground or branches.
  • Weeping sap- Tree sap may be seen from the wounds or egg sites left by the beetle.
  • Tunneling- Larva tunnel through the layers of the tree.
  • Pupal chambers- beetle larvae inside the tree will develop (pupate) in a chamber or area in the tree, turning into adult.
  • Unreasonable yellowing or dropping of leaves- If you see leaves turning colors sooner than they should be, or broken, dead, or dying branches, this can be a sign that something is wrong.

Trees at risk

Read up on last year’s blog post August is Tree Check Month: Is your tree safe from Asian Long-horned Beetle? to learn more about ALB. ALB isn’t the only pest you should watch out for, check out Six Pests You Should Know About to stay proactive in your tree’s health.

Report It

If you think you’ve spotted signs of damage from ALB contact your state ALB eradication program office or plant health director’s office.

Vine Cutting at Lied Lodge & Conference Center

August 13th was a monumental day for the Arbor Day Foundation.LLCC_Vine Cutters 1 Nearly a year of top-to-bottom renovation came to an inspiring crescendo at the Vine-Cutting Ceremony for Lied Lodge & Conference Center in Nebraska City, Nebraska.

Nebraska Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse and U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry were in attendance, along with many of the partners who were so instrumental in making this $9 million renewal a reality. It was a time to celebrate not only our accomplishments but also the bright future ahead.

A special thank you goes out to all of our partners: Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Elements HospitDSC_9941ality, Classic Painting & Decorating, Inc., Pella Windows & Doors, Peter Kiewit Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, and Nebraska Forest Service, among many others in attendance.

In addition to our partners, we’d also like to recognize the hundreds of Lied Lodge and Arbor Day Farm team members who worked tirelessly throughout the past months and took on additional tasks and extraordinary efforts above and beyond their usual responsibilities. These team members are the true definition of dedication and serve as an inspiration to us all.

If you haven’t already, check out the photo gallery to see the complete renovation. Better yet, come see it for yourself!

Lied Lodge & Conference Center: A Fresh Face

Lied Lodge & Conference CenterAfter more than two decades of inspiring guests from around the world and sharing with them a passion for trees, conservation, and environmental stewardship, Lied Lodge & Conference Center was due for an update. Thanks to a shared vision with our long-time partners at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, we began a $9 million renovation project last year.

No corner was left unturned. Guest rooms, hallways, conference rooms, The Timber Dining Room, the lobby, the spa . . . it was all remodeled with granite, custom tile, and all-new, specially designed furniture and carpet. Even the Olympic-sized pool got a fresh coat of paint!

Lied Lodge Guest RoomOur friends at Wyndham Vacation Ownership asked their construction partners to join them in generously donating time, material, and professional services to help us refurbish Lied Lodge from top to bottom. They also introduced us to Elements Hospitality, a long-time Wyndham partner that coordinated this massive undertaking.

It was a labor of love for all involved, and we can’t wait for you to experience it for yourself! Check out the photo gallery to see the complete renovation.

Washington Hawthorn: A Blossom Amongst Thorns

 (crataegus phaenopyrum)

Washington-Hawthorn_1-846[1]If you’re looking to fill in the open spaces in your yard, or just add a bit of color to your landscaping, the Washington hawthorn is a great option. First introduced to Pennsylvania from Washington, the tree earned its name because of its prominent thorns.

Legend has it that Paul Bunyan used the Washington hawthorn’s branches as a back scratcher. Here are a few things to note if you’re considering adding one to your landscape.

Environmental Factors

  • Grows 1-2 feet a year reaching 25-30 feet at maturity.
  • Versatile tree, growing in a wide variety of hardiness zone (4-8).
  • Prefers full sun (6 hours of direct sunlight a day).
  • Drought-tolerant, grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils.

Physical Attributes

  • Blooms white flowers with reddish-purple leaves.
  • Produces bright red berries that hang until the winter. It is popular amongst birds.
  • Develops thorns on its branches, making it an effective barrier.
washington hawthorn berry

Flickr | Taryn Domingos

Do you have a Washington hawthorn in your yard? Share a picture below!

Russell Moore, Engineering consultant, Soldotna, AK

portrait-Russell-Moore[1]Trees on Former Maintenance Site Reduce Runoff and Improve View

When Russell Moore’s parents built their home on Soldotna Creek, he says you could look over the water and see vegetation except at the Department of Transportation maintenance yard where the trees were gone.

In 2013, the Soldotna Parks and Recreation Department undertook a transformation project at the site to enlarge Soldotna Creek Park, a recreational area on the Kenai River. With a grant from the U.S. Forest Service administered by the Alaska Division of Forestry, trees were planted with the intent of the site serving as a large rain garden, reducing surface water runoff into the adjoining waterways.

figure1-Russell-Moore[1]When Russell heard of the project, he was excited and jumped into the project to personally participate. Russell and community members are thrilled with the results. “I can now see the trees from across the river. They are going to grow, and as they mature, they will have the presence the community will enjoy when they visit the park. For those who live across the river, the trees will help enhance their view to the other side.” He adds, “I feel good to have been a part of the park’s renovation and to know that people beyond us will be able to enjoy it.”

Check out our other Faces of Urban Forestry.

Texas Ebony: The Deciduous Evergreen

Flickr | Dick Culbert

(Pithecellobium flexicaule)

Although summer may be dwindling down, the heat of the sun and limited rainfall is not backing off. This year’s current conditions could be a hint to what next summer will be like. If you’re planning ahead for alternative ways to stay cool in the long-run, then planting a tree is the way to go.

As the name implies, the Texas ebony is native to Texas and only grows in the southwest region of the country. This tree has several unique traits, a notable one being that it doesn’t drop its leaves. If you’re searching for The Right Tree in the Right Place and are limited on space, then check out what this tree can offer to your landscape.

Environmental conditions

  • Grows in several different soils including acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay. Can survive in the driest conditions once tree is established.
  • Grows at medium growth rate of 1-2 feet a year, and can reach anywhere from 35-80 feet at maturity.
  • Prefers full sun, at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day.

Physical Attributes

  • This is an evergreen tree and keeps its dense foliage year-round.
  • Blooms fragrant, creamy white and yellow flowers and has 4-6 inch brown seed pods. Fun fact: the seeds have been dried and made into jewelry and shells have been used as an alternative to coffee.
  • Can grow in compact spaces, making it a practical choice if you don’t have a lot of yard space. (Has a spread of 20-30 feet).The Texas ebony is a wonderful tree if you’re looking for shade but don’t have the space. You get the benefit of a larger shade tree with its dense foliage and colorful flowers, and the advantage of an evergreen with year-round foliage

    TX ebony leaves

    Flickr | Wendy Cutler

Do you have a Texas ebony? Share a picture below!