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The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is addressing the critical urban forest resource management issues of tree failure and risk in coastal Georgia and equipping community leaders with essential tools to proactively manage the health and sustainability of their urban forests.

International consultant, Mark Duntemann of Natural Path Urban Forestry in Vermont will address misconceptions among community leaders about the price of prevention v. the risk of costly litigation. Mark will discuss proactive management and the benefits of retaining healthy trees that pose low risk, and why and how to prioritize trees of the highest risk, based on city size and budget. This information can save cities thousands of dollars in tree value and benefits.

An important one-day workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Midway, Georgia at the Coastal Electric Cooperative to help community leaders understand genuine tree risks, benefits, and current tree risk management strategies that are reasonable and defensible. The objectives of the Coastal Georgia Tree Risk Management project are to help cities:

  • Recognize that the benefits of trees outweigh the perceived risk.
  • Reduce the potential for human, home and property damage.
  • Be prepared to defend the tree program if a tree-related incident occurs.
  • Understand the ramifications of managing tree risk in a reactive way. Demonstrate due diligence and a proactive approach through "As Low As Reasonably Practical" (ALARP) concepts.
  • Learn what to do and who to call. Consult an ISA Certified Arborist.

Join us! This workshop is for city and county managers, arborists, tree board members, city council members and public works directors.

Register at

Trees: Reduce the risk. It's feasible, it's reasonable, it's your duty! #treerisk

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Georgia Arbor Day #GAarborday

Georgia Forestry Commission celebrated 2016 Georgia Arbor Day across the state in many different  ways.

The statewide Arbor Day event on February 17th at Trees Atlanta was a packed with more than 100 people, including 25 Tree City USAs, 4 Tree Campus USAs,  1 Tree Line USA and 4 mayors from Decatur, Dunwoody, Kennesaw and Mansfield. Director Robert Farris read the Arbor Day proclamation signed by Governor Nathan Deal and presented each community with a certificate and photo opportunity. News releases about the event were sent out locally on Georgia’s Arbor Day, officially declared as Friday, February 19th. Special guests for the “Mayors’ Symposium on Trees” were Danielle Crumrine and Josh Lippert from Tree Pittsburgh, Tim Keane, Walter Brown, Ryan Gravel and Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett.

More than 100 cities across the state celebrated in their own unique ways. The City of Avondale Estates planted a Ginkgo tree, specifically chosen by a homeowner for its beautiful fall color and unique characteristics (hopefully not female!). The city of Duluth planted two fruit trees at Bunten Road Park with the theme of hunger relief. Both mayors attended these local events. Timmy Womick and the Tree Circus made appearances in Albany, Thomasville, Columbus, Warner Robins, Macon, Tifton and Oxford.

At Agnes Scott College, honor trees were planted on campus in recognition of faculty and and staff, and Betty, a baker in the cafeteria, baked a delicious Arbor Day cake for the students.

“My Tree Our Forest” Tree Tags were distributed to 40 communities to hang on the trees at city hall or other public spaces on Arbor Day. The tags help carry the message about the benefits of trees to citizens across the state.

“Hello down there!

  • I’m busy saving you money.
  • I’m busy making city life fun.
  • I’m busy making oxygen for you.
  • I’m busy making useful things for you.
  • I’m busy keeping your streets safe.
  • I’m keeping your drinking water clean.

What are you up to?”

We hope you were celebrating trees in your community too.

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The Arborist and the Urban Forester

Is it important to differentiate the role of the arborist and the urban forester? I am an arborist that has worked in Urban Forestry for eight years. I have been an arborist for 13 years. It is only recently that I am really starting to differentiate the perspectives of the two professions. Arborists tend to look at one tree at a time, while foresters are trained to look at trees in groups.  It seems foresters seem to emphasis management of resources whereas arborist are concerned about health of a particular tree.  There are also differences in education.

An urban forester usually has a degree in forestry with an emphasis on urban areas. Arborist certification from the ISA requires that they three or more years of full-time, eligible, practical work experience in arboriculture and/or a degree in the field of arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry from a regionally accredited educational institute.

Arborist and urban foresters sometimes have conflicting opinions. Some are both arborist and urban foresters. Of course, what both have in common are trees. 

I would be very interested in your reflection on the differences and if the differences can be a cause of conflict.

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Join the i-Tree Development Team for an E-Learning Training Series...

i-Tree 2016 Online Training: Tools for Assessing and Managing Community Forests

A Web-based Instructional Series Introducing i-Tree 2016

Join us for a comprehensive web-based instructional series that will introduce the latest tools in the i-Tree software suite, as well as bring you up to date on the improvements that have been made to the i-Tree collection of inventory, analysis and reporting tools for urban and community forests. i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service, and its partners, that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools.

The online training seminar series will take place monthly, with live, interactive sessions led by members of the i-Tree development team and other instructors. This web-based series will introduce i-Tree to you, help you understand its value as an important tool in your urban forest management toolkit and provide you with hands-on demonstrations related to the installation, use and reporting components of the software suite. 

The series begins Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 1:00 PM (Eastern) and continues every month on the third Wednesday, beginning at the same time. The sessions will provide a in-depth examination of the i-Tree tools and provide the opportunity for exploring the software on your own between each session, in order to get the most out of the informational sessions. There will be time devoted to Questions and Answers during the sessions, as well as an online discussion board for expanded conversation between workshop attendees. 

Please visit to learn more, and to find the log-in details. A complete calendar of dates and presentation topics can be found below.  Plan to attend as many of the sessions as you would like.  

Upcoming i-Tree 2016 Workshop Dates & Topics...

Please note: All instructional sessions begin at 1:00 PM (Eastern)

December 16, 2015 - i-Tree LANDSCAPE

January 20, 2016 - What’s New in i-Tree ECO

February 17, 2016 - Looking at i-Tree HYDRO

March 16, 2016 - i-Tree DESIGN and CANOPY

April 20, 2016 i-Tree STREETS

May 18, 2015 - i-Tree Roundtable: Answering Your Questions About Using i-Tree

June 15, 2015 - Using i-Tree VUE and STORM

July 20, 2015 - Introducing i-Tree Landscape

August 16, 2016 - What’s New in i-Tree ECO

September 20, 2016 - Looking at i-Tree HYDRO

October, 19, 2016 - DESIGN and CANOPY

November 16, 2016 i-Tree STREETS

December 21, 2016 - i-Tree Roundtable: Answering Your Questions About Using i-Tree

Other Details --

Technical Requirements
FUZE online web services are being used for these sessions. Requirements: A computer with Internet access (Windows or Macintosh); speakers and microphone for VoIP audio or telephone for standard audio.

Meeting ID: 31376086
Join Online Meeting:

For the optimal Fuze experience, we suggest you download Fuze before your meeting. Visit

Telephone dial up information is available at

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What do you know about Biomass Fuel?

The Dogwood Alliance has stated, "Utility companies in the United States and Europe are expanding their use of wood as an energy source despite growing scientific evidence that the large-scale burning of wood for electricity—in particular the burning of whole trees—will accelerate industrial logging, increase carbon emissions compared with fossil fuels, and threaten human health with air pollution similar to burning coal.  While the small-scale use of wood waste and residues for energy could play a role in addressing future energy needs, policies in the U.S. and European Union are setting the stage for the large-scale use of wood as a primary fuel source."

The US Forest service is looking into the impact of small woody biomass harvest on our forests.  “Biomass removal is new for the Forest, and currently there is limited research literature for us to use to help explain some of the environmental effects from this type of harvesting,” said Thomas Bailey, forest soil scientist for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

The industry appears to be already ramped up with over 100 plants in the US. The Biomass Power Association is the nation's leading organization working to expand and advance the use of clean, renewable biomass power. The Association represents 80 biomass power plants in 20 states across the U.S. They argue, "Increasing America's use of biomass and other renewable energy is the first step in combating climate change and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Biomass power generates carbon neutral electricity from natural organic waste, providing sustainable energy. America can depend on the biomass industry to provide clean, renewable electricity and create thousands of green jobs in communities across the country. Biomass power is the natural solution for energy independence.

Dogwood Alliance which has started the "Forests aren't Fuel" (see graphic) campaign argue that "we need more forests to capture carbon, burning forests for energy will destroy one of our best defenses against climate change.  A major shift to wood as an energy source could likewise undermine efforts to expand clean, renewable and low-carbon energy sources, such as solar and wind, while also rolling back hard-won victories for forest conservation."

What are your thoughts?

Land owners that grow forests could view it as a source of additional demand for their product, hence additional revenue, which is one reason states might be advocating for it. On the other hand, it is not clear what portion of the wood comes from agriculturally grown forests vs. National Forest land. However, traditionally our forests are considered a sustainable resource that are to be used.  There is the additional question whether removing all the biomass inhibits recovery.  In the field of morticulture, a dead tree sustains more life than a live one.

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Paul Revell's True Professionals Award from ISA

Paul Revell’s ISA True Professional of Arboriculture Award

Congratulations to Paul Revell, Virginia’s Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator who was named one of ISA’s True Professionals of Arboriculture for excellence in advancing the profession of arboriculture through education, communication and public outreach by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Through his tireless efforts and promotion of arboriculture training, the Virginia Department of Forestry hosts annual workshops across the state and an ISA certification training program at VDOF headquarters.  To date we have had 450 people attend the training. He was also instrumental in promoting ISA certification and training within the agency, the Virginia Department of Forestry currently has 37 ISA Certified Arborists thanks to Paul. Congratulations again!

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Charlottesville Tree Stewards add to Diversity

We have 33 new trees at the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) Headquarters thanks to the local Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards (CATS) and a grant for $2,600.00 they received from Bama Works Fund.  VDOF employees joined the CATS group to plant 12 different native species along the entry to VDOF Headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The species that were planted include: River Birch, Ironwood, Yellowwood, American Beech, Kentucky Coffeetree, Tulip Poplar, Southern Magnolia, Black Gum, Hophornbeam, Sourwood, Swamp White Oak and Princeton American Elm. The goal of this project was to plant a diverse array of native species and highlight some of the lesser known species to show other potentially viable options for planting in public and private settings. These new trees were also used as a teaching example to show how to bare-root containerized planting stock and properly plant techniques for those in attendance. We are extremely grateful for the support we received from VDOF staff, CATS and Bama Works.   











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Volunteer Trees And Fulfilling Dreams

Alliance for Community Trees recently posted an article about Managing ‘Volunteer’ Trees and it reminded of this blog posted over three years ago with another perspective on not managing volunteer trees.

Often I will work in my yard and notice a new tree sprouting up, perhaps a forgotten acorn.  Sadly, more often than not I remove the young tree as it interferes with my overall plan for the yard.  Lately, I have been giving more consideration to the removal of volunteers as they have a potential to not only reach to the sky with their canopy but to also embody the surrounding natural environment.

The Georgia Town I live in, Decatur, is one of the most densely populated in all of Georgia.  Roughly 18K people live in 4.5 square miles, yet our canopy coverage remains around 50%.  Our Urban Forest is changing rapidly as the large oaks slowly succumb to development and storms.  I speculate that most the of these trees, aka, grandfather trees were volunteers that were either encouraged or overlooked over a 100 years ago.  Because summers were hot (AC did not exist), lots were larger, and land was not as intensively developed, owners were more likely to let trees grow.  Today, trees suffer, particularly those placed through non-human means, in an environment where many lots have been subdivided, homes have become larger, and shade is not as relevant.

More and more of our trees are intentionally planted to offset tree removals. In a world where so much retains a human finger print, there is something special about a tree that came up due to forces outside of direct human intervention. Volunteer trees have the advantage to customize their first year to their exact surroundings giving them an ecological edge in adaption over a tree that was transplanted from another location. Volunteers  also will have a genetic connection with the trees that surround them, making them more of a family of trees.

Nurturing the volunteer tree makes you a willing participant in the natural world.  The volunteer incorporates a complex web of interactions and consequences that often express the intelligence of nature.  In participating in that natural world, trees go beyond being a resource and become a source of life and wonderment.  We can take solace in living with the tree's beautiful embodiment of time and nature.  Joan Maloof, author of Teaching the Trees: Lessons from the Forest, states it best when she says; It's good to have dreams, but sometimes it good to let dreams have you too."

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Working with Nature & Trees

Tree destruction is probably visiting a location near you.  Many tree ordinance attempt to plant themselves out of the destruction, but do not account for the time and conditions  it takes to grow mature trees. It truly takes a team to tackle the issue of tree removal in urban areas and requires people coming out of their shells. There are many forces that will work against you, but in the end it comes down to wanting to work with nature rather than against nature. When our impact was but a small percentage of the planet we could afford to work against nature but given how that tide has shifted and the human imprint is everywhere, my aspiration is to always try my best to work with nature. Trees are the perfect metaphor as they share the earth with us and represent nature. Once we learn to work with trees, it will be a sign that we are learning to work with nature in a symbiotic way.


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Shoreline, WA 'Tree City'

On a Citizens Mind

The security fence is now up and these old trees will come down to build a 6-story, low-income apartment building. There are 2 issues within that last sentence; preservation vs. progress, and needed housing assistance for families. Ronald Methodist church has combined these two issues but lets separate them for a moment.

HopeLink and Compass want to help the latter issue and so would any decent citizen. The apartment building will be built with taxpayers’ money. This is the kind of thing most people are happy to see their money being used for. As a wealthy nation, we are obligated to help those in need.

Homeowners in the area surrounding this church are also concerned about the former issue. Some councilmembers use the words community and walkability when discussing Shoreline’s future. Currently, my neighbors walk their dogs to use this fenceless green space as a small dog run. It has offered walkability and served the neighborhood wonderfully. Unless we get in our cars, it is the only nearby option.

So what is Shoreline’s future? In this section of Richmond Highlands, it will get a bit more crowded and less green. What makes many neighbors disheartened is that if you hit a golf ball in either direction up or down the Aurora corridor, you will hit an empty or blighted lot. Any of these locations would be welcomed by the community to build something nice upon; instead, the city council granted the church an exemption to divide their property and even changed the building setback rule, building 15 feet from the curb to 0 feet. (Will Hall admitted the setback change was a mistake and the council modified it…but by doing that, the church got grandfathered in to build at 0 feet)

So what’s the point citizen? The damage is done. My answer is that this will be coming to your neighborhood someday and if you are comfortable living amongst buildings as tall as the trees they will replace, then, all is well. If not, then you should stop reading and start doing...oh, and remember to vote. Make your voice heard and fight for what you want this city to become because trust has been lost with the current city council. The council’s motives are being questioned and the fact that one councilmember is now a real estate broker, some motives seem selfishly obvious.

Well, it all starts tomorrow in Echo Lake at the ELNA meeting.

To Echo Lake, think of all the buildings the city could put up if we drained the lake. That was a joke. It would be silly to needlessly kill off nature when useable options exist a 3-wood away. Exactly.

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The Great American Tree for 2015 is...

That Tree in Platteville, Wisconsin!

About the Winner:

That Tree is a famous Bur Oak located across from 1276 Airport Road in Platteville, WI. 53818. 53' tall, with a canopy 75' wide, this tree is special because it has survived almost 200 years residing in the middle of a Wisconsin cornfield. This tree is featured in the book That Tree by Mark Hirsch, who photographed it every day for a year resulting in a book that chronicles a year in the life of the tree. He has continued to photograph the tree and posts the photos on his Facebook page at Featured in news articles and broadcast stories by some of the most noted media outlets in the world, it has also been featured by The Sierra Club and most recently by The Nature Conservancy. 41,000 people following That Tree’s photo and news posts on Facebook.


2nd Place: Darien Oak – Darien, GA

Darien is known for its iconic sprawling oaks. Many are noteworthy, but at 250 years old, this oak tree, with its 100-foot crown spread, has seen many historically significant periods of time, including Scottish settlement of the area, Spanish-Indian wars, and antebellum port days. Darien was built in the early 1800s; later, the Union Army burned it during the Civil War, but the then-100-year-old tree survived. Eventually, the Darien Live Oak shaded sawmill workers taking breaks when Darien became a lumber center and trees were cut inland and rafted down the Altamaha River. For the past 47 years, it has shaded many of the 30,000 who come every year for the Blessing of the Fleet, and its limbs overhang bleachers in front of a concert stage.

Third Place: Angel Oak – Charleston, SC

An icon of the coastal South Carolina Lowcountry, the Angel Oak serves as the focal point and raison d’etre of a small park owned and operated by the City of Charleston. The park and tree are located on Johns Island, one of the sea islands that buffer the mainland from Atlantic storms. Local mythology claims the tree to be over 1400 years old and the “oldest living thing, east of the Rocky Mountains”. A more reasonable guess of the magnificent tree’s age would be between 300 and 500 years old. Regardless of its age, the Angel Oak is one of the most beautiful, inspiring and often-visited trees in the southeastern United States. The tree is 65 feet tall with a diameter of 8.5 feet and has a shade area of approximately17, 000 square feet. The longest limb is 89 feet long and it has a circumference of 11.5 feet.  The City of Charleston acquired the Angel Oak and surrounding property in 1991. The Angel Oak is cared for by the City of Charleston Urban Forestry Division and is visited and appreciated by people from around the globe. 

The first place winner of the Great American Tree contest will receive $500 and a complimentary scholarship to the Partners in Community Forestry (PCF) Conference in Denver, CO, November 18-19, 2015. Second place is $250 and a PCF scholarship, and third place is a $100 Visa gift card. The PCF Conference is designed to provide inspiration and tools that help strengthen community forests.

Congratulations to our 2015 Great American Tree Competition winner and our second and third place winners, and kudos to all who nominated your own outstanding trees. All thirty-eight trees are truly remarkable and a gem in the crown of their respective states! 

The nomination period for next year’s Great American Tree Competition will be announced in April 2016. 

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A massive live oak tree that could be more than 300 years old has been added to Georgia's "Champion Tree" register. According to the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC), the tree stands 89-feet tall with a crown spread of 147-feet near Iron City, GA.

"The tree is spectacular," said Mark McClellan, Champion Tree Manager and Forest Specialist for the Georgia Forestry Commission. "It is especially notable because it has a single stem, as opposed to many live oaks that grow in multi-stems."

The tree was measured twice to ensure accuracy of its dimensions. The GFC and American Forests confirmed the tree is a co-champion in Georgia's Champion Tree program, earning a place next to Waycross' "Village Sentinel" live oak.

"For the state and national champion tree programs, measurements are taken on height, crown spread and circumference-at-breast-height," said McClellan. "This tree's circumference is just over 32-feet. Trees are given a total rating, and this one rates 511 points." McClellan said the Waycross live oak has a slightly higher total rating of 536.

The new co-champion live oak is named the "Spooner Oak" for the long-time Seminole county family on whose property it is located. While GFC experts say it is difficult to establish the age of the live oak species, Quercus virginiana, this tree could be in the 300-400 year old range. If cared for properly and severe weather doesn't strike, McClellan said it could remain healthy for many decades to come.

A YouTube video documenting early measurement proceedings can be seen at

For more information about Georgia's Champion Tree program and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit

See more Great Georgia Trees here: GFC Tree Talk

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Great American Tree Finalists

Voting is now closed. Thank you to everyone that voted! The five finalists have been determined by your vote and  a national panel is currently reviewing the five trees with the most votes and will select the 2015 Great American Tree. The winner will be announced September 15th. The top five vote recipients are:

  1. That Tree – Platteville, WI (130 votes)
  2. Darien Oak – Darien, GA (75 votes)
  3. Angel Oak – Charleston, SC (43 votes)
  4. Arkansas Champion Bald Cypress- Arkansas County, AK (27 votes)
  5. Morty – Santa Monica, CA (25 votes)

FINAL VOTE TALLY  (Voting ended 7/31/15 @ midnight)

Arkansas Champion Bald Cypress- Arkansas County, AK (27 votes)

American Elms - Johnstown, PA (10 votes)

White Oak Alabama - Morris, AL (10 votes)

Dodge City Red Oak - Dodge City, KS (3 votes)

Longleaf Pine - Garner, NC (20 votes)

Black Walnut - Dickson, TN (3 votes)

The Carrboro American Elm - Carrboro, NC (2 votes)

Homestead Oak – Hall County, GA (19 votes)

Big Oak Alabama – Geneva, AL (23 votes)

That Tree – Platteville, WI (130 votes)

Swamp White Oak – Elmwood Park, NE (16 votes)

Bessemer City Deodar Cedar – Bessemer City, NC (11 votes)

Bebb Oak – Northbrook, IL (11 votes)

Amazing Butternut Tree - Forest Grove, OR (24 votes)

Endicott Park Tree - Danvers, MA (1 votes)

Texas Pecan – Anna, TX (1 vote)

Elma American Chestnut – Elma, WA (14 votes)

Great Oak of Collinswood – Collinswood, NJ (4 votes)

Survivor Tree - Oklahoma City, Ok (16 votes)

Austin Live Oak - Austin, TX (3 votes)

Ancient Tree - Oak Harbor, WA (23 votes)

Sentinel Oak - Waycross, GA (9 votes)

Friendship Oak - Long Beach, MS (16 votes)

Celeste - Celeste, TX (2 votes)

Live Oak – Anna, TX (3 votes)

Angel Oak – Charleston, SC (43 votes)

Moon Tree – Athens, GA (15 votes)

Morty – Santa Monica, CA (25 votes)

Jack’s Oak – Glen Ellen, CA (16 votes)

The Birthing Tree – McMinnville, TN (6 votes)

Darien Oak – Darien, GA (75 votes)

American Chestnut – New York, NY (2 vote)

Florida Ficus - Coconut Grove, FL (6 votes)

Wiltondale Oak – Towson, MD (14 votes)

Champion Osage-orange – Charlotte County, VA (8 votes)

Alwood Oak – Blacksburg, VA (8 votes)

Yarbrough Oak – Oxford, GA (6 votes)

Allegheny Chinkapin – Tallahassee, FL (6 votes)

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Atlanta is known as the “City of Trees,” and for good reason: it is the most heavily forested city in the United States. With nine million trees in the metro area, Atlanta has close to twice as many trees as any other metropolitan area.[1] I often share with my tree inspection clients whose homes are surrounded by trees that they have “forestfront” property, the equivalent of beachfront property by the sea.

Like the ocean, urban trees can have a calming effect on us. Studies have found that seeing nature affects worker attitudes and well being, reduces stress, and increases women’s fertility. Dr. Rachel Kaplan has found that workers who can see nature from their desks experience 23 percent less time off sick.[2] Desk workers who can see nature also report greater job satisfaction.[3] Hospital patients with views of trees have been found to recover significantly faster than those who are surrounded by walls.[4]

Trees are an important component of real estate value. Like beachfront property, forestfront property sells for a premium. The presence of larger trees in yards and as street trees can add from 3% to 15% to home values throughout neighborhoods.[5] In another study, 83 percent of realtors believe that mature trees have a “strong or moderate impact on the salability of homes listed for under $150,000; on homes over $250,000, this perception increases to 98%.”[6]

With benefits comes responsibility, however. The question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?” does not apply in the urban setting. Tree failure usually causes damage to property and sometimes loss of life. These accidents are widely reported in the news, often creating a fear about trees. The easiest way to alleviate those fears – and mitigate risk wherever possible -- is to have a certified arborist look at your trees to evaluate their health. Tree evaluations -- especially for trees close to the home and along busy roads and walkways -- should be performed prior to new home purchases and for established homeowners every so often.

A certified arborist is a tree professional who is educated in the science of trees and tree care. Many certified arborists are also TRAQ (Tree Risk Assessment Qualification)-certified. TRAQ is a training program put on by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the professional organization for tree workers, which teaches certified arborists a systematic method for evaluating trees.

You can find an independent arborist or a tree service by going to the website of the Georgia Arborist Association, Certified arborists are also listed by location on the website of Trees Are Good,, the ISA’s educational website for the public.

Trees and humans have a reciprocal relationship.Your trees can help you relax and breathe; you help maintain their health.  Be a good steward of trees by enjoying their many benefits, maintaining them responsibly, and planting new trees whenever possible.

Neil Norton is a certified arborist in the Atlanta area. He works for, LLC.  He can be reached at or 404-271-6526.

Photo by Tobi Ames

[1] Nowak, David. “A Ground-Based Method of Assessing Urban Forest Structure and Ecosystem Services.” Arboriculuture & Urban Forestry 2008. 34(6):347-58

[2] Kaplan, R. 1992. Urban Forestry and the Workplace. In P. H. Gobster (editor), Managing Urban and High-Use Recreation Settings. USDA Forest Service, General Technical Report NC-163. Chicago, IL: North Central Forest Experiment Station.

[3] Wolf, K 1998 Urban Nature Benefits: Psycho-Social Dimensions of People and Plants, University of Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #1.

[4] Wolf, K 1998 Urban Nature Benefits: Psycho-Social Dimensions of People and Plants, University of Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #1.

[5] Wolf, K.L. 2007 (August). City Trees and Property Values. Arborist News 16, 4:34-36.

[6] USA TODAY , Vol. 123, No. 2590 , July 1994, Survey conducted by Arbor National Mortgage Inc.

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Here they are! A list of 38 Great American Tree nominees from 23 states and the number of votes to date. Click on your favorite and vote to help decide which one will be named the 2015 Great American Tree.

American Elms - Johnstown, PA (5 votes)

White Oak Alabama - Morris, AL (9 votes)

Dodge City Red Oak - Dodge City, KS (3 votes)

Longleaf Pine - Garner, NC (11 votes)

Black Walnut - Dickson, TN

The Carrboro American Elm - Carrboro, NC

Homestead Oak – Hall County, GA (9 votes)

Big Oak Alabama – Geneva, AL (10 votes)

That Tree – Platteville, WI (76 votes)

Swamp White Oak – Elmwood Park, NE (13 votes)

Bessemer City Deodar Cedar – Bessemer City, NC (5 votes)

Bebb Oak – Northbrook, IL (7 votes)

Amazing Butternut Tree - Forest Grove, OR (12 votes)

Endicott Park Tree - Danvers, MA

Texas Pecan – Anna, TX

Elma American Chestnut – Elma, WA (8 votes)

Great Oak of Collinswood – Collinswood, NJ (4 votes)

Survivor Tree - Oklahoma City, Ok (9 votes)

Austin Live Oak - Austin, TX (1 vote)

Ancient Tree - Oak Harbor, WA (14 votes)

Sentinel Oak - Waycross, GA (7 votes)

Friendship Oak - Long Beach, MS (9 votes)

Celeste - Celeste, TX (1 vote)

Live Oak – Anna, TX (3 votes)

Angel Oak – Charleston, SC (13 votes)

Moon Tree – Athens, GA (9 votes)

Morty – Santa Monica, CA (15 votes)

Jack’s Oak – Glen Ellen, CA (12 votes)

The Birthing Tree – McMinnville, TN (3 votes)

Live Oak – Darien, GA (22 votes)

American Chestnut – New York, NY (1 vote)

Florida Ficus - Coconut Grove, FL (2 votes)

Wiltondale Oak – Towson, MD (8 votes)

Champion Osage-orange – Charlotte County, VA (3 votes)

Alwood Oak – Blacksburg, VA (3 votes)

Yarbrough Oak – Oxford, GA (3 votes)

Allegheny Chinkapin – Tallahassee, FL (4 votes)

Arkansas Champion Bald Cypress – Arkansas County, AR (16 votes)

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I want to link observations made by two group that share an interest in imperiled trees; Santa Catalina Conservancy and The American Chestnut Foundation.  The Santa Catalina Conservancy reports that their staff monitor 14 Cercocarpus trees know to exist on the island each summer.  Conservancy biologists visit the gully to assess the health and growth patterns of the individuals. They report that only 6 of these are pure Cercocarpus traskiae. Five individuals are hybrids meaning genetically they are a combination of Cercocarpus trakiae and Cercocarpus betuloides blancheae. The genetics of the 3 remaining individuals has not been tested so it is unknown if they are pure or hybrids.

Having been involved in both eDNA testing and statistical analysis I want to sound a note of optimism.  I have no access to the raw data but I want to suggest that it is reasonable to think that during genetic sequencing researchers may have selected the wrong probe for the genetic testing.  PCR probe selection is both tricky and critical to good speciation.  If one looks at the statistical analysis from The American Chestnut Foundation article on Out-Crossing Restoration Chestnut 1.0 Trees  they feel that hydridization is not a significant issue if their 1.0 chestnuts are planted in the forest.  While the circumstances affecting these two species are different, we can say three things.  
1)  Santa Catalina mountain mahogany trees exist in a secluded area surrounded by other pollen producing trees located in the immediate area.  
2)  This population occurs on a Pacific island significantly influenced by westerly winds.  
3)  The current genetic stock has developed over thousands of years with the exact same presence of Cercocarpus betuloides blancheae populations occurring on the mainland.  
That 5 of the 11 trees tested are believed to be hybrids of trees growing in California certainly seems to warrant a degree of scientific skepticism and a second look.
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