Category: News

Videos: NCUFC Public Service Announcements Emphasize Trees’ Importance

The North Carolina Urban Forest Council (NCUFC) released two public service announcements to encourage communities across the state to properly plant, protect, and care for urban trees – the trees where we live, work and play.

The announcements helped support efforts of North Carolina Arbor Day on March 19 and National Arbor Day on April 30. They were partially funded by the North Carolina Forest Service.

The Importance of Urban Trees:

The Importance of Proper Tree Care:

“Trees are often the answer to economic, health, safety, and environmental issues all communities face,” said Leslie Moorman, NCUFC Executive Director. “North Carolina communities participate in wonderful planting and tree care projects every Arbor Day, but we encourage them to go further and plant and protect urban trees year-round.”

Trees in all North Carolina cities and towns help:

  • Clean the air and water;

  • Save energy;

  • Create healthy lifestyles; and

  • Stimulate the state’s economy.

According to a study US Urban Forest Statistics, Values, and Projections by David J. Nowak and Eric J. Greenfield, North Carolina’s urban forest saves the state $706.9 million a year by removing air pollution and helping avoid energy and emissions use. Research also proves spending time around trees and looking at trees reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and improves mood – valuable benefits for people during the pandemic.

“We must properly care for and protect our urban trees every day to continuously get their benefits,” said Moorman. “We can all help North Carolina be green for generations to come.”

To properly care for urban trees:

  • Plant trees at their correct depths;

  • Place thin layers of mulch away from tree trunks;

  • Make proper pruning cuts; and

  • Hire a certified arborist to help if needed.

Residents can visit for a Tree Owner’s Manual, to find out how to hire an arborist, for more information about NCUFC programs, or to become a sponsor or member.

The North Carolina Urban Forest Council (NCUFC) consists of individuals, citizen groups, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and agencies from around the state that share an interest in community and urban forestry. 

NCUFC is a nonprofit organization that helps communities strengthen the efforts of local groups by serving as a resource, a forum for networking and discussion, and an advocate of the urban forest. The Council seeks to encourage and support these communities in their urban forest management efforts. For more information, visit


Slideshow: Chicago Park District’s Wintery Milling Project

The Chicago Park District’s (CPD) Department of Cultural and Natural Resources team recently initiated lumber milling at West Ridge Natural Area, 5800 N. Western Ave.
Gerry Hamm, owner of GH Hamm Woodworking & Sawmill, of Mundelein, IL, was contacted by Mike Dimitroff, manager of Art Initiatives, and Matt Freer, director of Natural Resources Natural Areas, to mill CPD trees infested with the emerald ash borer and downed logs at West Ridge. 
Dimitroff was joined by project manager Isaiah Ballinger and team members Alex Loepke, Krzysztof Makowski and Tyrone Murdo, to assist in the project.
The milling operation involved loading park district logs, which were cut and transported by CPD Forestry, under the direction of Mike Brown, to the West Ridge site. There, the logs were loaded onto the Hamm’s mill and sawed into full-length 3-inch-thick, live-edge slabs.
The slabs will be open-air cured, then cut to length and used as bench stock material. The new benches will be incorporated into CPD natural areas, like Big Marsh and Hegwish as well as other parks and natural areas’ settings.
According to Dimitroff, “This initiative demonstrates one aspect of a great, multi-team effort in continuing our DCNR sustainability mindset.”

USDA Ends Domestic EAB Quarantine Regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced Dec. 14 that it is changing its approach to fight the emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation that has spread through much of the United States.

The agency published a final rule in the Dec. 15 Federal Register that removes the federal domestic EAB quarantine regulations that have proved ineffective and will redirect resources to more promising methods. The new rule took effect Jan. 14. Documents may be viewed online.

APHIS said it has been transparent about the challenges associated with controlling the emerald ash borer and that the domestic quarantine has not proven effective in stopping its spread. The agency has worked to identify more effective and less intrusive methods and will now direct available resources toward non-regulatory options for management and containment of the pest, such as rearing and releasing biological control agents. APHIS said results have already proved effective and the actions announced today will allow the agency to increase their use.

Removing the quarantine regulations ends APHIS’ domestic regulatory activities, which includes actions such as issuing permits, certificates and compliance agreements, making site visits, and conducting investigations of suspected violations.

APHIS said it is working with the National Plant Board on effective strategies to manage firewood movement, which is one of the ways the emerald ash borer spreads.

Since first being detected in the Detroit area in 2002, the emerald ash borer has spread through 35 states and killed tens of millions of ash trees.

Illinois is among states that eliminated its internal quarantine regulations. Illinois discontinued its quarantine mandate in fall of 2015.

Meanwhile, officials of Minnesota and North Dakota, each said they would continue to enforce state emerald ash borer regulations. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture said this includes monitoring for EAB in un-infested areas, quarantining newly infested counties and regulating movement of wood products around the state. In addition, the department said it would take on some of the work previously carried out by the USDA by limiting the movement of ash and firewood from other states into Minnesota.

Video: Wood from the Hood’s story and slideshow tour

The Minnesota Woodworkers Guild devoted its December 2020 meeting to examining the realm of urban lumber production through the eyes Rick and Cindy Siewert, owners of Minneapolis-based Wood from the Hood in Minneapolis, MN.

The Siewert’s founded Wood From The Hood to reclaim discarded trees from local neighborhoods to create beautiful, high-quality wood products. The Siewerts discuss the story of how Wood From The Hood came to be and why urban wood is a valuable and sustainable resource for creating unique furniture and other wood products. They also give a tour of their facility, including the showroom they opened in summer of 2019.

Wood From The Hood operates a sawmill and dry kiln. Its lumber is sold to woodworking professionals and hobbyists. The company also manufactures a variety of wood products ranging from cribbage boards and picture frames to dining and conference tables. 
Learn more about Wood From The Hood.

The Minnesota Woodworkers Guild is a group of professional and amateur woodworkers bound together by three goals:

  • To advocate high standards in our craft;
  • To meet new friends and discuss woodworking; and
  • To educate ourselves and the public about woodworking.

Learn more about the Minnesota Woodworkers Guild.

Urban Forest Connections: More Than 60 Webinars Served

The December 2019 Urban Forest Connections webinar included a presentation of urban wood certification by Jennifer Alger of Far West Forest Products and the Urban Wood Network.

Since the first Urban Forest Connections webinar – Urban Forests for Human Health and Wellness – was presented on Sept. 10, 2014, the U.S. Forest Service’s National Urban Forest Technology & Science Delivery Team has organized and produced more than five dozen webinars dedicated to a wide range of urban forestry topics.

The most recent webinar, Extreme Events in the Urban Forest: Assessment, Response, and Recovery, was conducted on Feb. 10.

The next webinar, Tree Equity for Climate and Health: State and Local Applications, is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 10.

The Forest Service’s Urban Forest Connections webinar series brings experts together to discuss the latest science, practice, and policy on urban forestry and the environment. These webinars are open to all. Past webinar presentations and recordings are available below.

Each of the webinars features experts who discuss the latest science, practice, and policy on urban forestry and the environment.

The entire Urban Forest Connections webinar series is archived for on-demand viewing on the Forest Service’s website.

Two of the archived webinars have had a distinct urban wood theme, including:

Scaling-Up Your Urban Wood Opportunities: A Role for Everyone
December 11, 2019
Kathryn Fernholz, Dovetail Partners, Inc.
Jennifer Alger, Urban Salvaged and Reclaimed Woods

Remove and Repurpose: Increasing the Value of Urban Wood
December 9, 2015
Steve Bratkovich, Dovetail Partners
Dave Gamstetter, Cincinnati Park Board

Other Urban Forest Connections presentations have delved with a variety of urban forestry topics. Here are just a few examples: 

A Call to Action for Ash Tree Conservation and Resistance Breeding
March 11, 2020
Kathleen Knight, USDA Forest Service
Jennifer Koch, USDA Forest Service
Jonathan Rosenthal, Ecological Research Institute

Breeding and Restoring the Next Generation American Elm
September 11, 2019
Carrie Pike, USDA Forest Service
Leila Pinchot, USDA Forest Service
Charlie Flower, USDA Forest Service

Construction Damage, Severe Storms, and Tree Failure Analysis
September 12, 2018
Eric North, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Larry Costello, University of California Emeritus & Oracle Oak LLC

Tree Selection for the 21st Century
December 13, 2017
Greg McPherson, USDA Forest Service

Climate Change & Urban Environments: Adaptation Through Diversity
December 14, 2016
Leslie Brandt, USDA Forest Service
Justi Evertson, Nebraska Forest Service & Nebraska Statewide Arboretum

The Science and Future of i-Tree
May 13, 2015
David Nowak, USDA Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service applies for 1.0 ISA CEU credit for each live broadcast. ISA credit and certificates of participation for other credentials can be requested at the end of the live broadcasts. CEUs and certificates of participation are not available for watching recorded webinars. 

Sign up to receive announcements of future Urban Forest Connections webinars.



NASF Fact Sheet Highlights Wisconsin Urban Woods’ Success

The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) recently featured Wisconsin Urban Wood and its role in helping to develop the national Urban Wood Network in a recently published fact sheet highlighting the importance of state and federal support of urban wood utilization programs.

The publication summarizes several key benefits made possible by WUW’s commitment to giving trees removed due to death, disease invasive pests or other circumstances a new life as lumber and wood products. These benefits include reducing the amount of woody materials going to landfills, creating private sector businesses and jobs that help grow local economies and demonstrate the environmental benefits of urban wood.

The fact sheet provides a targeted message that can be shared with legislators, agency and municipal staff, and others to help them understand the value of local urban wood utilization programs and economies such as those created by WUW members.


UK Researchers Search for Ash Borer-Resistant Trees

Before the emerald ash borer arrived, ash trees made up about 4% of the trees across Kentucky. World famous Louisville Slugger baseball bats were traditionally made from white ash.

Ash trees infested by the emerald ash borer can take up to several years to die after first being attacked. Yet, relatively healthy ash trees have been  discovered amid stands of dead and dying trees. These survivors are known as “lingering ash.” They are untreated trees that are still healthy in areas where more than 95% of the other ash trees have been killed by the emerald ash borer. 

Researchers at the University of Kentucky (UK) hope to use the seed and genetic material from these lingering ash trees for breeding programs and research purposes to develop ash trees that confer some resistance to the emerald ash borer.

“The idea is those trees that have some natural genetic resistance to the emerald ash borer are going to be the future of ash,” said Ellen Crocker, UK assistant professor of forest health extension in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “We’ve been trying to find some of these trees for several years now, and when we do, we get their seeds, so the Kentucky Division of Forestry can propagate them at their nursery and hopefully, get them back into the natural landscape.”

Identifying lingering ash trees may present a way forward for ash in North America, using seed and genetic material from these trees for breeding programs and research purposes, with the hope of developing ash trees that confer some resistance to EAB.

UK researchers are seeking the public’s help to find lingering ash trees. They said they can most likely be found in a stand where 95% or more of the trees have been dead for two or more years. The best lingering ash candidates would be greater than 10 inches in diameter.

In a similar vein, several years ago, the U.S. Forest Service and Ohio State University embarked on a collaborative effort to preserve and study the lingering ash through grafting, which allows both preservation and replication to study resistance to EAB. 



How Harrisonburg, VA, Upscales Dead Ash Trees

Harrisonburg, VA, home to 54,000 people and the annual Gr8 Film Festival, is also serious about repurposing its ash trees victimized by the emerald ash borer.

Harrisonburg’s first EAB siting was in 2015. Since 2018, the city has removed more than 550 ash trees. More than 750 additional ash trees are scheduled for removal by the end of 2021. 

In 2018, Harrisonburg chemically treated 36 ash trees through the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Cost-Share Program in an attempt to preserve them. Thirty-two of those trees received a second treatment in 2020. The four untreated in the second round were damaged by storms. Plans call for reevaluating the remaining 32 trees for treatment again in 2022.

Unfortunately the city cannot afford to treat all of its ash trees. In the search for finding a higher use for the many that can’t be saved, the Harrisonburg’s public works department has partnered with the Virginia Urban Wood Group to use the wood when possible and, thus, keep it out of landfills.

Some of the wood is auctioned off through the city’s public surplus website. 

In one of the more creative displays of using reclaimed ash wood, two city staff members working with local company Willow Run Custom Lumber,  took an ash tree that was recently removed from Westover Park and transformed the lumber into a shadow box to present an American flag created out of a fire hose. It was a fitting send-off gift to retiring master firefighter BJ Clark.

 “As much as I was saddened to retire, I truly appreciate that a part of the city will remain with me,” Clark said. 

Added Jeremy Harold, Harrisonburg’s green space manager, “Anytime we can take a tree that was lost for unfortunate reasons, and give it a new purpose as opposed to it going to waste – that’s what the Harrisonburg Urban Wood Utilization Program is all about.” 

Learn more: Out of the Ashes | City of Harrisonburg, VA.

About that Super Gr8 film fest, here’s a video that will tickle the nostalgic funny bone of anyone who ever filmed or was filmed with a Super 8 camera.







Urban Tree Merchants Is Keeping Score

Urban Tree Merchants (UTM) of Arlington, TX, maintains a scoreboard of sorts on its website.

The statistics above – captured on Dec. 28 – reflect the current running tally of urban trees that the custom woodworking company has repurposed into slabs and lumber since it was established on Dec. 1, 2016 by Caleb and Kelly Geer.

Pecan accent wall

The Geers bill their business as a “tree to table” enterprise. The company specializes in the design and manufacture of custom wood furniture and decorative items including tables, shelves, mantels, benches, cutting boards, cake stands and lazy Susans.

UTM works with local tree care companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth corridor to repurpose removed trees. The company mills and dries its own lumber.

Caleb Geer’s was inspired to found UTM while working for Tree Shepherds, his father’s tree care company. Kelly Geer’s diverse background includes catering, coordinating programs for the City of Arlington, social media marketing and serving as operations manager for Tree Shepherds.

UTM is a member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and the Urban Wood Network.

Learn more at

River and waterfall countertop



American Hardwoods Focus of New Free Guide

A Guide to Sustainable American Hardwoods was recently issued by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC). 

The publication combines AHEC’s guide to species and guide to lumber grades in to a single illustrated and comprehensive 102-page publication.

The front half of the guide provides a full break down of the properties, applications, and environmental credentials of commercially available U.S. hardwood species. The back half includes a simplified explanation of the NHLA grading system, which is the national standard for the U.S. hardwood lumber industry and forms the basis for export grading.

AHEC is an international trade association for the U.S. hardwood industry, representing U.S. hardwood exporters and major U.S. hardwood product trade associations. AHEC runs a worldwide program to promote the full range of American hardwoods in more than 50 export markets.

Download the Guide