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Arbor News - 2002

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As of this writing, I have just returned from the Wisconsin Arborist Association's annual conference. Three days of interaction with arborists from around the state, world class speakers, the latest equipment and some fun around the edges. This organized professionalism goes mostly unnoticed by the buying public. This is a group of tree care professionals, some 600+ strong, that truly cares about our trees and our environment. It has been my honor to serve on the board of directors for the past 2 years, in charge of Arborist Certification and newly reelected for another term. Am I tooting my own horn? Yes, a little bit. But, the point I'm really trying to make is for you, the user of arborist services, to realize that there is a difference. By looking for tree care from those involved and membered in professional affiliations, you are much more likely to receive the service and care from those striving for excellence. Remember the old saying, "You get what you pay for."

The View from the Jail Cell Is Not as Good

Someone illegally cut down a half-dozen trees in an area known as Lake Park in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. According to the Associated Press, the county sheriff's department is investigating the removal of trees. And the investigators don't have to look too far to find some suspects. Apparently, homeowners in the area have long been complaining that they pay taxes based on the fact that their homes have a view of Lake Michigan, but they can't actually see the lake because of the trees.
The homeowners have asked the county's parks department to remove or prune the trees in the past, but to no avail. Park officials say the trees and shrubs help prevent a hillside from eroding. In addition to pursuing the culprits, the sheriff was also trying to figure out what fines or penalties would apply to the crimes.

A Selling Point For Trees

Here's one benefit of having well-maintained trees in a yard you probably haven't thought to sell a customer with yet: They're great places to hide from elephants. But residents of a village outside of New Delhi, India are finding them useful for just that reason. According to an account from Reuters, dozens of villagers spend days hiding in trees from a herd of 60 or so elephants who went on a rampage. The elephants were apparently spurred on by the smell of a homemade liquor called handia being brewed from rice in the villages.
One Indian official was quoted as saying that "Close to two dozen people are staying in treetops with family members because they are afraid of the elephants. They often take their bedding and food (with them) during the night." And some of them may be there for a while: The elephants have destroyed 200 homes in the past 18 months.

Trees and Aspirin

Trees through the ages have been the source for chemicals used by humans for killing and curing. Some tree species stand out in history. The most commonly used chemical or medicine today originally came from the bark of the white willow, Salix Alba. The medicine, of course, is aspirin. It is not only a human painkiller-analgesic-but it is often recommended for lowering the risk of heart attack.
The bark was used by early humans for pain reduction, but it was not until 1899 that the chemical was discovered. Acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin but salicylic acid, the base molecule, is in a large family of analgesics. Exactly how aspirin works is still not well understood. It is known that the chemical blocks an enzyme that is necessary for nerve impulses.

Trees and Malaria

Trees come to the aid of humans again with the bark of a tree native to South America. Ancient scholars believed that the cure for any human disease could be found in the plants growing where the disease was most severe. So it is with quinine, as alkaloid from the bark of the cinchona tree that grows where malaria is a severe disease.
The mode of action of quinine is fascinating. The chemical binds with the DNA in infected cells. More interesting is that the greater the infection, the greater the binding. Once DNA is disrupted the cell cannot divide. Maybe the ancients knew more than we give them credit for.
Quinine is well known also for its place in tonic to make gin and tonic. In higher doses, quinine causes uterine contractions in animals, and this action could lead to abortion. Dose is the thing!
An alkaloid is a naturally occurring molecule that contains nitrogen. They are bases (alkaline) and many are poisonous as doses increase.

Trees and Cancer

Taxol is a tree chemical that has become very well known for its ability to stall some human cancers. The chemical comes from the bark of the Yew, or Taxus, tree that grows in the forests along the Pacific Northwest and into Canada.
The mode of action is similar to quinine and many chemicals used to stall or cure cancers. The chemical taxol attacks the apparatus that is supposed to stretch as cells divide. Taxol prevents the stretching and thus inhibits cell division. Remember, humans are regenerating systems. Parts grow, break down, and are replaced in the same special position. Cancer cells don't like to break down. They only want to divide. So any chemical that prevents cell division gives the cancer cells some problems. Taxol does give cancer cells some problems for rapid division.

Who is the owner of a boundary line tree?

A tree which is located on the common boundary line of adjoining landowners is owned by both landowners as tenants in common. The courts have generally taken the position that trees standing on the boundary line between adjoining landowners are owned jointly by both landowners when the trees are treated by the adjoining landowners as their common property pursuant to an agreement or a course of conduct.

What rights do the owners of a boundary line tree have in the cutting or trimming of the boundary line tree?

The Court in Scarborough set forth the rights that owners of a boundary line tree have in cutting or trimming such a tree and held that neither of the property owners is at liberty to cut the tree without the consent of the other, not to cut away the part which extends into the property owner's land, if injury would result to the common property in the tree.

Rubber Sidewalks Save Trees

Maybe it's a story that could happen only in California. A public works inspector worried about tree roots has a dream about flexible sidewalks. An environmental activist, trying to save trees from being cut, locates the inspector, who is testing his brainstorm. The inspector and the activist locate a manufacturer and set up meeting of public works employees interested in sidewalk alternatives.
The result? A blossoming interest in rubber sidewalks, which have the potential to save thousands of trees per year in urban settings.

Tree Climber Makes Guinness Book - Sort of

The publishers of the Guinness Book of World Records say their 2002 edition contains a new entry relating to tree climbing. In a way. The book will, for the first time, carry an entry for "best tree-climbing fish." The winner and apparently the only entry is the Anabas Testudineus, also known as the climbing perch, which can scamper up palm trees in its native Thailand and has gills that enable it to breath out of water.
In a development apparently unrelated to arborists the world over, the 2002 edition of Guinness will also carry an entry, for the first time, for the loudest burp, which measured 118 decibels, or about as loud as an airplane on takeoff.

What Keeps Trees Free From Attack by Insects & Diseases?

How much damage do trees receive?

One of the most interesting features of insect herbivores and plant pathogens or trees is that they are often conspicuous by their absence. Despite the fact that there are tens of thousands of these species feeding on trees worldwide, with many capable of very high rates of reproduction, trees are not routinely devastated by either. In fact, the overwhelming majority of insects and pathogens on trees are rare most of the time and cause relatively little damage.

What keeps trees green?

What keeps insects and pathogens generally rare and trees usually green? Are the trees responsible? Is it abiotic or biotic environmental factors, or is it some combination of all these factors? Based on findings accumulated from research in many systems over the years, three general factors emerge as being important.
First and foremost, plants-and trees are no exception-are generally poor quality food to both insect herbivores and plant pathogens, and low food quality is a major factor keeping both insect herbivores and plant pathogens rare.
Second, the natural enemies of insect herbivores-viruses, bacterial and fungal pathogens, small mammals, birds, ants, spiders, predatory beetles, insect parasitoids and the like-play a key role in keeping the densities of insect herbivores low and trees green.

Previous Arbor News Publications

This newsletter has adapted articles from the publications of the following organizations in addition to our original pictures and stories.

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