Growth Rings

When Ascomycota met Ladd’s Addition

Posted on March 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Portland’s Ladd’s Addition was one of the first developed neighborhoods in the Western United States. The

Ready, Set Plant...Lauren Wang

Ready, Set Plant…Lauren Wang

planned community’s level of specificity included guidelines for park space and the directive to plant over 1,600 trees. The master plan called for maple. Linden, birch, locust, the aptly named hawthorne and American elms.

In 1991, Dutch elm Disease, an Asian fungus discovered by Dutch scientists that has taken a horrible toll on American Elm trees, reached Ladd’s Addition. In response, concerned homeowners and tree enthusiasts formed Save Our Elms to combat the toll of infected and disappearing trees.

Lauren Wang

Sticking to the plan – Photo Lauren Wang

Thanks to their mindful efforts, pruning, inoculation programs, 74% of the American Elms survive in the SE neighborhood with diagonal streets. Along with preventative measures, Save Our Elms has been filling in the gaps with disease-resistant elms. This year during the first weekend of March, volunteers gathered in a style that would be familiar to anyone who has spent time with Friends of Trees, to plant trees.

According to SOE volunteer, Lou Miles, Ladd’s Addition is unique because it’s, “A historic district, but NOT based on its architecture.  Instead, it’s based on the street plan and the 1910 street tree plantings.” Because of this, new plantings  reflect the original plan. So if a tree is going in on Ladd Ave, it will be a disease resistant it will Accolade elm.


Planting Trees

You can learn more about Ladd, Ladd’s Addition and Portland by traveling to the museum of the city. Thanks to Lauren Wang for the photos and a hearty thank you to all the volunteers, donors and supporters who work with Save Our Elms to keep the city’s canopy green and healthy.

Mulch Madness

Posted on March 18, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Because we’re not above bandwagoning, let us present:Mulch Madness 15 - Sheet1

Mulch Madness

Proper mulching provides a variety of benefits to newly transplanted trees. Mulch is one of the things we get a little too excited about at FoT Headquarters. So while most offices are filling out basketball brackets, we have our own take on the Springtime event. Fill out your brackets: Mulch Madness 15 – Sheet1 and let the mulching begin.

3 Point Play

We love the long game here, along with the 3 trees planted for every 3 point play the Blazers score this season, we think 3s with mulching as well. Mulch should be 3-3-3:

  • 3 inches away from the trunk (like a doughnut)
  • 3 inch layer of mulch
  • 3 foot diameter

And we so strongly encourage mulching we have free mulch for the taking at the aforementioned FoT HQ – 3117 NE MLK Jr Blvd, Portland (97212). Look forward to more info, tips and video as we run out the clock on Mulch Madness.



Is Your Tree Leafing Out?

Posted on March 17, 2015 at 3:02 pm

We have an old but good post which seems especially relevant with our strange warm and wet winter. This was originally Posted on April 16, 2012.

Spring Buds

Spring buds (Brian Black)

By Jesse Batty

Ahhh, the sun is out, the birds are chirping, spring has officially sprung!

Or has it? Why is it that some trees have leafed out when others are still dormant? At FOT, we often get the question in the spring time, “Is my tree dead?”

Patience, my friends. Some trees leaf out earlier than others because of genetics and environmental factors. In fact, there are many people who dedicate their lives to studying the timing of leafing out and other annual natural occurrences, a study that is called phenology.

For the most part, the timing of leaf out for the majority of trees is related to temperature and/or daylight length or both. Some trees need a certain number of days below a certain temperature threshold (chilling days, most often 32-50 degrees), followed by a certain number of days above a certain temperature threshold (warming days). Other trees need a certain number of daylight hours in order to experience bud break.

March 27, 2011 Gift Trees Planting

Leafing Indian plum (Greg Tudor)

Trees need to balance their desire to leaf out and begin photosynthesis and produce sugars with the potential of leafing out too early and experiencing frost damage. The evolutionary history must be taken into account, as some species originated in cold climates and others in warm climates. These hereditary genetic traits have become learned and have aided trees in their survival over many generations.

Even the same species can leaf out at different times. This can usually be explained by environmental factors like the previous autumn’s conditions, altitude, proximity to buildings, streets or other location factors, direct sunlight or shade, soil type and soil moisture, and other variable cultural affects. Scientists now are studying leaf out times in relation to climate change as well. Early findings show earlier bud break times for some species and the potential for plant ranges to shift. Remote sensing promises to be a useful tool to analyze this phenomena moving forward. (Polgar & Primack)

In the meantime, we hope that you enjoy your spring and the snowbells, birches,and stewartias and all their glory. Soon the oaks, black tupelos, and ashes will be joining in the springtime fun!

For a great article about leaf out times and climate change, read Polgar & Primack’s entry inArnoldia, the magazine of the Arnold Arboretum, the greatest arboretum in the world.

–Batty is a Neighborhood Trees Specialist for Friends of Trees.

Early Spring: A balancing act for trees

Posted on March 9, 2015 at 12:10 pm
Spring is here weeks early accross the West Coast. Photo: Flickr CC / aaroneus</to

Spring is here weeks early across the West Coast. Photo: Flickr CC / aaroneus

The cherry trees and daffodils are in full bloom. The bees are emerging. Our volunteers are wearing sunglasses and leaving their mud-caked boots at home. What’s going on?! Spring is weeks ahead across the West Coast, with a high pressure ridge keeping arctic cold away.

Not that we’re complaining! But the warmer weather has a few unexpected factors that affect trees, plants, and people.

Dry weather = thirsty trees
There’s a balancing act going on right now with our trees, says Andrew Land, our Neighborhood Trees Specialist and a certified arborist. “They’re potentially benefitting from more sunlight than they’d get during an average cloudy winter. On the other hand, they’re getting less water than they might, and trees only intake nutrition through water. Without that fuel, they probably won’t grow as vigorously,” he says.

Our advice for dry spells: Give trees, especially young and newly planted trees, a deep soak sooner rather than later. That’s two or three five-gallon buckets, or ten minutes of hose dribbling. (We also sell ooze

watering young trees

Ten to 15 gallons… so easy even the kiddos can do it! Photo:FoT File

tubes.) When the rains return, feel free to sit back and take a break from watering again until the next dry spell.

The power of mulch
At Friends of Trees’ green space sites, we’re not only doing more watering this season but also more mulching to ensure newly planted trees and shrubs take root in the dry weather. You can do the same for your trees to prevent moisture loss. We recommend the 3-3-3 rule: A ring of mulch 3+ inches deep, in a ring 3+ feet in diameter, kept 3+ inches away from the base of the trunk to keep it from rotting. Mulch can be straw, bark, or even leaves. We also offer free mulch at our office!

Sniffles and sneezes
With trees and flowers are blooming like bonkers, early allergies are here for many people. If you haven’t been yourself lately, maybe that’s why. A few in our office are already feeling symptoms, leaving us to wonder whether we have three months of this ahead?

Time to get outside!
Still, it doesn’t get any better than this for planting trees outside. Spend a Saturday with us planting in a neighborhood or green space and we promise you’ll go home smiling. We also need some extra muscle for our tree care events, when we’ll be watering and mulching plants already in place to make sure they thrive. Check out our planting and tree care calendar and we’ll see you soon!