trees (57)

AmericanGrove.org is a social network of community tree and urban forestry advocates. The website, www.americangrove.org is managed by the nonprofit Georgia Urban Forest Council. The mission of the website is to be an online community for sharing tree-planting experiences and knowledge that will encourage others to create thriving community forests. AmericanGrove.org's footprint exceeds over 4100 google-indexed pages. In its five year history, it has had over half a million page views. Its 4000- plus unique members are urban forestry advocates and tree enthusiasts, potentially growing any content on American Grove exponentially. American Grove also relies on its network of social media to both draw attention to tree content on the Grove as well as tree content from across the internet. The administrator of American Grove is at the hub of tree content production, curation, and propagation. The administrator also sets the tone and personality of American Grove though design, support, and choice of content.

The intern must be committed to working 5-8 hours per week.

This is a part-time internship and work can be done at home.  The intern will be paid over a two-semester period in monthly hourly payments at a rate of $15 per hour.

Interested candidates may send their resumes, a small writing sample, and contact information to marylynne@gufc.org until July 1.  Selected candidate will begin internship around August 1 or the beginning of their fall academic semester.

Qualifications:

This position requires that the intern:

Must be enrolled in undergrad or grad school and commit to the internship for 2 semesters.

Must have integrity in weekly progress reports and time sheets.

Must have excellent communication and writing skills, creativity, and a natural eye for good web layout. Candidates will be asked to submit a short writing sample.

Must love trees and the natural environment.

Contact:

Mary Lynne Beckley

Executive Director

Georgia Urban Forest Council

P.O. Box 2199

Stone Mountain, Georgia 30086

marylynne@gufc.org

http://www.gufc.org/

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The essential elements of any landscape are trees. Trees are a long-term investment and also the longest living plants that we can grow in our garden. A healthy tree can live up to centuries if it is provided proper protection and is not harmed externally. However, it is so important to choose the right tree for the right place. If a tree is planted in a place where it doesn't fit in, it will devalue your property rather than putting any value to it. This is why it is essential to know why and where you are going to plant a tree. 

Choosing the Right Tree: 

Many people follow the approach of buying a tree first, coming home and then deciding where to plant it, which is a very wrong approach. You first need to make a complete survey of the place where you want the tree and then determine why you need it there, only then can you choose the right one. You cannot call a tree “superior” in-breed than the other. There are hundreds of excellent varieties out there to choose from. Hence, after you have decided which tree you want at what spot, move on to getting a soil checkup to determine if that specific breed can grow well in your garden. Once you have gone through this process, you can go and purchase the tree you want. Following are a few types of trees:

Large Trees

1. Green Ash

Green Ash is known to be very vigorous when young and eventually grown a broad crown as it matures. This tree is particularly strong and can grow in a number of soils and is also drought-resistant.

2. Red Maple

Red Maples is a tree that sings of spring. As soon as the spring spreads through the air, it starts to produce red, beautiful flowers. This tree is also the first to signal the start of fall, as it changes its colors.

3. White Oak

It is said that a full-grown White Oak is one of the most majestic of the trees. They have sturdy and thick horizontal branches. It grows slowly, but handsomely.

Medium Trees

1. Black Gum

One of the most beautiful tree species Black Gum has colors of scarlet and orange in fall. It is also extremely dense and lustrous green, with stiff, leathery leaves. The pros of planting this tree is the fact that it grows very fast.

2. River Birch

River Birch is known for its unique bark, which is salmon colored and comes off in thin layers. Eventually, as the tree matures, its bark becomes dark gray as well as scaly. Many people avoid planting River Birch because of its white birches.

3. Lacebark Elm

This tree is among the best ones for landscapes. They are durable and have beautiful barks. Its exfoliating bark is usually grey, with brown, green and orange underneath, but can vary in colors as well.

Small Trees

1. Japanese Maple

This small tree, or shrub as called by some, is grown because of its unique foliage. It has many different types however the ones that have beautiful red foliage are the most popular. For the best growth of this tree, a soil is rich as well as well drained is required.

2. Amur Maple

This is another smaller species of trees, which is extremely hard, short and round headed. Like many other maples, this tree develops bright red color during fall, which looks gorgeous. This tree has an extraordinary ability to grow in wet soil. However, it also can be grown in drier places.

Article by: Rachel Zoe - Certified Arborist at Enviro Frontier Sydney Tree Removal Company.

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Parks & People: Shade is the Secret

Park Pride of Atlanta hosted a conference this week at the Atlanta Botanical Garden with keynote speakers Peter Harnik, Director of the Trust for Public Land's Center for City Park Excellence and Cynthia Nitkin, Senior Vice President at Project for Public Spaces. 

These articles by the Saporta Report summarize the conference theme, Parks and People.

Parks can ignite growth in cities 

by Maria Saporta

http://saportareport.com/parks-can-ignite-the-growth-of-cities/

As more people move to the City of Atlanta, having quality parks is key

by Saba Long

http://saportareport.com/as-more-people-move-to-the-city-of-atlanta-having-quality-parks-is-key/

Examples of the latest techniques in park building were discussed, including the Atlanta Beltline. (Another great example is Ellis Square in Savannah, a park on top of an underground parking garage.)

In her presentation, Cynthia said the key to having a great park is offering food, free wi-fi, seating and shade.

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I am tired of trees being removed for no reason. Trees are the anchors of mini ecosystems that are irreplaceable in our lifetime, yet we choose to obliterate them at the whim of the latest fad in home building. I do not hold just builders and developers accountable, but ourselves as well. How many of us would allow the destruction of trees for a price? Often we are given the false choice of trees or new home. I know this to be a false choice, trees can be built around, it is called a basement or even better elevate the home above the critical root zone. The foot print of a home is flexible, so why do we insist on building in a way that is destructive to the trees? We could be selling forest front homes, but instead too often we choose to wipe the land clear of any living soil and topography. Trees on residential lots need to be protected, we need to make it happen. I argue that the quality of living will be higher around the trees plus we will be preserving a diminishing resource, a micro native ecosystem in the Urban Area.

Most municipalities were rezoned 30 years ago to accommodate what was important back then, building higher density along through fares. Lets rezone using tree ordinances and restricting the removal of trees in new construction.  If we cannot protect forests in our urban areas,is it fair to ask to have them protected in the Amazon. Often we feel hopeless in the onslaught of global warming, well here is your chance to have your voice heard in your local area. Ask to protect your local trees through stronger tree ordinances, where tree removal is the exception and not the rule. 

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Tree Recompense & Developing Differently

Recompense in most tree ordinances are gravely understated. The recompense for the removal of five trees on a recently permitted one acre construction site was $5000. The five trees happened to be healthy white oaks, one with a diameter of 59 inches, with potential life spans of hundreds of more years.  The ecosystem benefits (green house gas mitigation, air quality improvements, and storm water interception) using i-tree averages more than $1500 per tree annually. That would be $7.5K annually in perpetuity for the life of the trees. Moreover, using the Guide for Plant Appraisal-9th Edition and applying the trunk formula method, commonly used to appraise the monetary value of trees considered too large to be replaced with nursery or field grown stock, the 59 inch white oak alone would be valued at $70,977.00. My point being that a $5000 recompense is ridiculous. I equate it to going to your bank and depositing $1000 and then the next day asking for $70,000 saying you are entitled to the 125 years of compound interest in one day.

The point of recompense for me, is to encourage alternative designs that work around trees. Some municipalities have adopted conservation overlay districts allowing more flexibility on setbacks and building height allowing more open space in exchanged for denser development. I have also witnessed these districts misapplied. Ultimately, to build with trees we need to develop differently. Banks want to finance the same cookie cutter approach but often that approach comes at the expense of the land and trees. I believe demand is out there for designs that work with nature and not against it. To do this, we need a recompense that reflects more the cost of the loss than is currently being applied. By readjusting recompense to reflect the true cost of trees we better balance the need to live with nature in urban areas with the need to build new homes. 

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Preparing Your Trees for the Winter

Healthy shade trees around homes provide many benefits including increasing property value by thousands of dollars, reducing soil erosion and stormwater runoff and providing a visual screen and noise buffer.

Despite these valuable benefits, homeowners may be concerned about the risk large trees provide, especially during the winter storm season in Georgia. While assessing tree risk requires training and experience by a Certified Arborist, there are some simple things you can do to get some peace of mind and determine if you need to seek a professional assessment. Start with a self-survey of each of your trees to identify the obvious risks.

English ivy and other invasive vines should be removed to help inspect the base of the tree for cavities and other fruiting bodies, such as mushrooms which indicate root disease. Cut vines and let them die back and fall off naturally. Also, prune dead, diseased and dying limbs annually. During sidewalk replacement, utility work, or other excavation, avoid cutting roots or keep root damage to a minimum.

Lastly, it’s important to plant new trees to provide benefits to future generations and keep them healthy and safe. Trees that are not properly maintained or which are stressed can quickly become major liabilities to people and property from weather phenomena. Choose the right tree for the right place. Select trees with good form at the nursery and don’t plant trees too deeply. Regular watering, mulching and ongoing tree care is important to maintain healthy trees in your yard. December through February is the best time to plant new trees in Georgia.

The Georgia Forestry Commission has a host of resources that can help you find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about trees at Ask The Arborist and a list of arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) who conduct fee-based site visits to determine tree care needs. Trees and storm safety information can also be found at GaTrees.org.

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Freaky Eaters & Trees

What do freaky eaters and trees have in common? They both can withstand very unhealthy conditions and still survive. As a consulting arborist, many of my clients do not manage their trees properly yet the trees survive and the clients often see no reason for changing their behavior. I recently was drawn in by the the cable series "Freaky Eaters" (on Netflix) that documents one person that drank 80 Cokes a day on average and yet another that ate only french fries. What shocked me is that on the exterior these people looked relatively healthy despite their unusual eating habits. Trees often are the same, despite horrible soil conditions or construction damage, they tend to survive. My first point is that there is a difference between surviving and optimal health. Most of us do not live perfect life styles but we understand that when we take care of ourselves it positively impacts our longevity. The same applies to trees. When considering trees we should consider their optimal longevity, not their survival in any given day or year. The second point is that when we go beyond the surface that "healthy" tree may not be as healthy as you think. Like the Coke drinker that had early onset diabetes at the age of 20 after doing a blood test, often trees will be masking decay, disease and or stress that is not readily apparent without tests or to the untrained eye. I equate many street tree installations as "freaky eater" diets for trees by planting them in 4x8 boxes with poor soil, limited water, and cramped rooting conditions. It may initially cost more to eat well, but it will positively impact health and longevity and lower costs over the long run. Don't take your trees health for granted, with proper management that tree could survive much longer and healthier.

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American Grove was created to share tree planting and urban forestry knowledge and passion online. The core of our knowledge comes from you our members and state urban forestry coordinators that are professionals that work hard in their region to proliferate and take care of urban trees. State coordinators oversee the individual state groups that make up American Grove. Most of us are nature enthusiast and hands on, so to ask you to share online is probably against your grain. That said, online communities and social networking are often where understanding and opinions are formed and we appreciate your input. Online communities are a way to share knowledge and help educate. For us at American Grove, in the end it is about the trees. So if you have anything to share about your experience or knowledge with trees, post it on American Grove. We also like questions,if we don't know the answer, we will encourage a state urban forester from your state to get in touch. The best way to share is with a picture or some words in our blog or forum in your State's grove. Let us be your hub of tree information and leave it to us to put it out in the social network. Together lets make trees relevant not just in the ground but to the many people online that might not know as much about tress.

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Dreaming & Swaying with Trees

I recently spent 3 weeks sleeping outside during a trip to the Southwest. For twenty glorious evenings I slept outside looking up at stars outlined by the canopy. Most those nights I slept on the ground, but then I discovered the comfort of sleeping in my hammock. The best part is that typically the hammock is suspended by trees, giving me yet another connection to my favorite living organism. While in my hammock I would sway and dream with the trees often sharing in their very geographically specific experience. The sky is rotating and by being tethered to the tree you have a unique perspective. I also was shocked by the amount of action that goes on around a tree at night. There are the bats in the early evening followed by other critters like possums and several I could hear but not identify including birds. Sleeping with a tree is very inspirational. I also found my perception of a tree at night to be different. They feel much bigger as you can typically just see their outlines and you rely more on feeling them then seeing them and they feel BIG.  Try getting your hammock out and sway and dream with the trees. I highly recommend the hammock I used which can be set up in a matter of minutes. It is produced by Eagle Nest Outfitters. They have quite a selection.

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An Independence Day Legacy!

Trees often give a glimpse into the past via their old age. This Friday we celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the declaration of independence of the United States. An enormous horse chestnut tree (Aeculus hippocatarnum) was planted in 1776 by General William Whipple upon his return from signing the Declaration of Independence and can still be seen today. The horse chestnut tree was designated the Millennium Landmark Tree for the State of New Hampshire in 2000 and is on the National Register of Historic Trees.

The Horse Chestnut is not actually a chestnut tree but instead is a native of northern and central parts of Asia, from which it was introduced into England about the middle of the sixteenth century. It was called a chestnut as its fruit bear a resemblance to the chestnut but are not edible. 

Also of interest, in my preliminary search of a National Register of Historic Trees I could find none. There are many registers of big trees but few of historic trees, particularly a national register of historic trees. Please post a link if you have better luck locating it.

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My friend recently returned from the Serengeti in Africa, where the Acacia Tree, a favorite food of giraffes, has developed a unique defense strategy. In response to its constant pruning via consumption, the tree produces tannins which makes the taste bitter and less palatable to the giraffe. The Acacia tree will also alert neighboring trees to produce a similar response. Giraffes have learned to go up wind where the trees have not received the notification to nosh on more of their favorite tree. Of course it is probably just a matter of time before the Giraffes adapt, similar to the way their tongue can eat the Acacia despite its large and very sharp thorns. The giraffe with its desensitized, twenty-inch long tongue is able to strip leaves from the thorny branches and crush the thorns with its molars. Thorns do not prevent tissue and foliage loss but they do lessen it by restricting bite size and retarding bite rates, in some cases slowing the rate of consumption by three times the rate of thornless branches. Ultimately, through time nature perfectly restores a balance. 

For more info check out:

NO PLACE TO RUN, NO PLACE TO HIDE by Kirk Andersen, Living Desert and Zoo Palm Springs, California

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The Music of Trees

Bartholomäus Traubeck, has created a record player that turns slices of trees into music.

The project is called Years and Traubeck describes how it works:

“A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.”

Traubeck has turned a handful of trees into music: Picea (spruce), Fraxinus (ash), Quercus (oak), Acer (maple), Alnus (alder), Juglans (walnut), Fagus (beech).

Follow the link below to watch a video with a sample of the music.

Years - Bartholomäus Traubeck

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Spring Green

Spring overwhelms me. I attribute this to trees coming out of dormancy with such vibrancy. It is difficult not to notice the curtain of green envelop you, particularly on wooded lots. The green is not just overwhelming in color, but also in volume. Once wide open views become views into the color green and your vista contracts from expanse to the tree nearest to you. In the southeast, we are often exposed to this shocking transition in our surroundings as the Southeast has many, many, deciduous trees. This in opposition to the wide open vistas I grew up with in the West, so it is not surprising that my initial reaction to the spring tree phenomena is one of being closed in upon. However, having lived in the southeast for 20 years, I have been able to temper this initial reaction with one of wonder. The wonder of green, of tree's abilities to spring forth such massive amounts of energy, and simply the wonder of trees. The contraction also has the affect of turning your spirit back towards you, creating a feeling of introspection. Trees shade us, but also impose their wills into the space around us in the form of leaves and green. It is as if a waterfall of green spouts out of nowhere and immerses you into it as if you were swimming in a lake. I take this annual rite for what it is, and try to swim and splash within it without the panic of losing the vista around me.

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Trees, Transpiration, and the Water Cycle

In helping my child prepare for her test on the water cycle, I noticed the diagram being used left out transpiration. According to the USGS, transpiration accounts for 10% of the moisture in the atmosphere. Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through plants from roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, where it changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere. As an arborist, I was deeply offended that this important function of trees was not included. Of course oceans and other bodies of water account for the other 90%. I had a encounter with an Arborist at trade show that claimed he was able to put a mylar material over a sycamore tree in the summer and in a 24 hour period he collected 150 gallons of water at its base. That said, the USGS estimates that one large oak tree can transpire 40,000 gallons in one year. Trees and plants are important contributors to the water cycle, and I was sure to submit the graphic on the right to the science teacher for future lessons about the water cycle.

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Cue Cards

The downloadable cue cards are designed to fit in a shirt pocket and can be printed onto 3 1/2 " x 8" card stock and laminated for field use. They are also available in Spanish. Feel free to reproduce them.

Nursery Tree Quality Guidelines Root Management Planting Young Tree Pruning
English | Spanish English | Spanish English | Spanish English | Spanish
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The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) program is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices. Similar to how LEED created standards for green practices in constructing buildings, SITES hopes to have a similar impact on designing and working with the landscape. 

Their first set of guidelines or "Preliminary Report" - was released in November 2007 with the Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009 published in 2009.  A revised version is due out 2014.  Below is the point system they use.

2009 Rating System (250 Points Available)

  • One Star: 100 points (40% of total points)
  • Two Stars: 125 points (50% of total points)
  • Three Stars: 150 points (60% of total points)
  • Four Stars: 200 points (80% of total points)

Trees are mostly addressed in the soil and vegetation section. Below is the points available within that section.

  • Credit 4.4: Minimize soil disturbance in design and construction (6 points)
  • Credit 4.5: Preserve all vegetation designated as special status (5 points)
  • Credit 4.6: Preserve or restore appropriate plant biomass on site (3–8 points)
  • Credit 4.7: Use native plants (1–4 points)
  • Credit 4.8: Preserve plant communities native to the ecoregion (2–6 points)
  • Credit 4.9: Restore plant communities native to the ecoregion (1–5 points)
  • Credit 4.10: Use vegetation to minimize building heating requirements (2–4 points)
  • Credit 4.11: Use vegetation to minimize building cooling requirements (2–5 points)
  • Credit 4.12: Reduce urban heat island effects (3–5 points)
  • Credit 4.13: Reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire (3 points)

The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) program is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.eeeThe Sustainable Sites Initiative is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden in conjunction with a diverse group of stakeholder organizations to transform land development and management practices with the first national rating system for sustainable landscapes. These guidelines apply to any type of designed landscape, with or without buildings, ranging from shopping malls, streetscapes, subdivisions, corporate and academic campuses, transportation corridors, parks and recreation areas, all the way to single family homes.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™) was created to promote sustainable land development and management practices that can apply to sites with and without buildings including, but not limited to the following:

  • Open spaces such as local, state and national parks, conservation easements and buffer zones and transportation rights-of-way
  • Sites with buildings including industrial, retail and office parks, military complexes, airports, botanical gardens, streetscapes and plazas, residential and commercial developments and public and private campuses.

SITES will provide tools for those who influence land development and management practices and can address increasingly urgent global concerns such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and resource depletion. They can be used by those who design, construct, operate and maintain landscapes, including but not limited to planners, landscape architects, engineers, developers, builders, maintenance crews, horticulturists, governments, land stewards and organizations offering building standards.

For more information, visit www.sustainablesites.org/

- See more at: http://www.unri.org/news/sustainable-sites-initiative-on-line-resources/#sthash.eDbw9e4E.dpuf

The Sustainable Sites Initiative is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden in conjunction with a diverse group of stakeholder organizations to transform land development and management practices with the first national rating system for sustainable landscapes. These guidelines apply to any type of designed landscape, with or without buildings, ranging from shopping malls, streetscapes, subdivisions, corporate and academic campuses, transportation corridors, parks and recreation areas, all the way to single family homes.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™) was created to promote sustainable land development and management practices that can apply to sites with and without buildings including, but not limited to the following:

  • Open spaces such as local, state and national parks, conservation easements and buffer zones and transportation rights-of-way
  • Sites with buildings including industrial, retail and office parks, military complexes, airports, botanical gardens, streetscapes and plazas, residential and commercial developments and public and private campuses.

SITES will provide tools for those who influence land development and management practices and can address increasingly urgent global concerns such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and resource depletion. They can be used by those who design, construct, operate and maintain landscapes, including but not limited to planners, landscape architects, engineers, developers, builders, maintenance crews, horticulturists, governments, land stewards and organizations offering building standards.

For more information, visit www.sustainablesites.org/

- See more at: http://www.unri.org/news/sustainable-sites-initiative-on-line-resources/#sthash.eDbw9e4E.dpuf
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Why Existing Healthy Urban Trees are so Valuable

Urban Trees are our oldest and hardest working residents. Existing healthy urban trees with a lifespan of more than 20 years are difficult to replace with replanting or tree banking. An existing tree is like a million dollars that has compounded in value over 100 years, while a fine or actually replanting is like one hundred dollars that has yet to compound. To replace one with the other is like saying 1 million dollars (actually $1.4 million using $100, compounding 100 years @ 10% interest) equals 100 dollars. Yes, it is important to invest in the future by replanting, but it is not the same as preserving an existing healthy tree. Does tree value really compound like money and interest? In a recent article published in The Dirt, J. Green states, "Humans’ growth spurts stop by late adolescence, but trees accelerate their growth and get bigger as they age." Moreover, the ecosystem created around the tree in the soil takes decades to develop. Trees require less roots in good soil than poor soil so you can have healthy trees in less space for when you do plant that tree. Trees are typically easily planted, especially for the enthusiast, but not all trees are planted and maintained equally. If the tree is being planted by a municipality you also have to worry about the management of the tree planting program, which can be expensive. The real kicker is the problem of land. Land to grow large trees with critical root zones that can take up to 6,000 square feet can be very expensive and scarce in an urban area. When such pressure exists on the land, it is difficult for large trees to have enough land to grow on. For these reasons, treasure the existing healthy urban tree, and do your utmost to convey its value before it is removed, for it will not be easily replaced.

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Just saw this interesting article on NPR.

Like other animals and many living things, we humans grow when we're young and then stop growing once we mature. But trees, it turns out, are an exception to this general rule. In fact, scientists have discovered that trees grow faster the older they get.

Once trees reach a certain height, they do stop getting taller. So many foresters figured that tree growth — and girth — also slowed with age.

"What we found was the exact opposite," says Nate Stephenson, a forest ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, based in California's Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. "Tree growth rate increases continuously as trees get bigger and bigger," Stephenson says.

for the rest of the article follow the link to the original NPR story:

Old Trees Don't Grow Taller, But Pack On Weight Like A Body-Builder

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Why large trees in urban areas are removed

Tree Ordinances have been successful at tree banking and tree planting, but it is rare they prevent the removal of existing trees on lots being developed or redeveloped in desirable urban areas. The reason, the perceived value of the land exceeds the value of the tree.

Trees require their roots, and in poor urban soils those roots can take up large swaths of land, often referred to as the critical root zone. The science dictates that removing more than one-third of the root zone can put trees into drought conditions since there are less absorbing roots to give water to the trees. Trees like us are mostly water, and when you restrict water they often die, although most often that decline can be over five to seven years.

Most large urban trees reside in older residential areas. These trees grow up mostly undisturbed in a front, back, or side yard for fifty years or more. The lots are often less than a quarter of an acre and run from $200-500K. The lot is attractive for development and/or rennovations due to its intown location combined with an existing home that is affordable due to its age and size. To maximize profit, the builder wants to build the most expensive home to fit on the lot. The homeowner doing a renovation wants a larger home. Lets say when the new home is completed it will sell for 800K allowing developer to recover their costs and some profit and the homeowner to gain some value. The problem is that the critical root zone of the existing tree on the lot could take up to 50% of the buildable area. Unless the penalty to remove it exceeds the return on the property, that tree is coming down. In the scenario presented that would require a penalty of around $100K to not make it economically feasible to remove that tree.

As a result of this difficultly, tree ordinances do not usually require saving existing trees or do not give a high enough penalty to protect them but instead encourage replanting and/or tree banking (recompense). In my next blog I will discuss the economics of tree banking and replanting.

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