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Another storm crossed north Georgia this past week and left its mark, with many green leaves pulled off onto roads and yards. Some bruising and other damage has occurred, and temperatures have run in the mid and even upper 80’s in some locations. However, there is still a forest full of leaves that have just begun to change or that are just waiting to change.

Northeast Georgia:

Northeast Georgia is still mainly a canopy of green. However, we are definitely seeing change in individual trees and in groups of trees. And, depending on aspect (the direction the slope faces), elevation, and plant communities, we are seeing widespread change across some locations. Some of the best color right now is found on the roadsides and in areas with young growth and full sun.

Species that are currently showing color include the returning reds and burgundies of the sourwood, reds and some yellows of the maple and bright to golden yellows of the birch with the birch really coming on strong above about 2500 feet of elevation. We’re seeing more dogwoods with their reds and deep burgundies, sumac with some bright reds, and sumac showing yellows and orange-yellows. The yellow poplar, traditionally one of the early yellow color producers, is one of the trees that has seen early leaf loss, due in part to the storms, but you’ll still find it showing color in some areas.

Northwest Georgia:

Sourwood and maple continue to show color in the region that’s still showing lots of green. In addition, this week the northwest Georgia area is seeing cherry and yellow poplars starting to show some yellows, but again, a lot of foliage has been lost in the last two storms. Due to lower elevations in this area, we generally see about a week’s lag between the two regions, and next week or so should see increased change for the northwest.

Percentage of color change from green to date:  5%-40%

Peak should be the last week in October, into the first week of November.

Scenic drives:

Northeast Georgia – The yellows of the birch are really coming on along GA 180 between GA 17 and US 129. Take GA 180 to GA 180 Spur and travel up to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in GA.

Northwest Georgia – While it’s not vivid yet, a trip up towards Cloudland Canyon always provides a nice day.

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Dale's Grove

Georgia Forestry Commission retiree, Dale Higdon, has been named one of three finalists in the prestigious Cox Conserves Heroes awards program created by WSB-TV’s parent company, Cox Enterprises, and the Trust for Public land. The program honors volunteers like Dale, who lends his time and forestry expertise to to the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust, Mill Creek Nature Preserve, American Chestnut Foundation, Georgia Urban Forest Council, Walk in the Forest event with the Society of American Foresters Chattahoochee Chapter, and more.

Visit http://www.coxconservesheroes.com/atlanta/finalists.aspx​​ to view a video about Dale, his time with GFC and his genuine spirit of volunteerism that makes us proud to have had him as part of the GFC family.

Voting takes place in October and individuals are permitted to vote once. If Dale receives the most votes, The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust will receive a $10,000 award.

This time last year we were trying to predict what the severe drought was going to do to our fall colors, and then we were watching mountain wildfires and thick layers of smoke. Mother Nature sent Irma this year and widespread, scattered tree damage was left in the form of uprooted trees and many downed limbs and tops. One additional factor that may have some impact on our color this year is the “bruising” of plant tissue; in some cases it may have resulted in the tearing or disruption of leaf stems and the death of leaves still on the trees, especially on the higher ridges and in some of the gaps. However, there are already signs of color change and Mother Nature rarely lets us down this time of year.

And in case you’re curious, the web-like structures/material you may see in some of our trees along the roads is the Fall Webworm. This caterpillar feeds on the foliage of many species and unfortunately, sourwood is among its favorites. This caterpillar will feed on the foliage and will often strip the tree of leaves. However, this time of year the leaves have completed their jobs, so the long term effects on the tree are minimal.

Continued cool nights and sunny days should provide us with the best chances for another great leaf season!

Northeast Georgia:

We are still likely a week out for significant color change in north Georgia. In the very highest elevations (Brasstown Bald), sourwood, which is one of our earliest turners, is starting to show some deep burgundies, though still mixed with green. Yellow birch is also showing its yellows in these upper slopes, as is sassafras which is starting with some yellows and orange.  Our maples are also just starting to show some deep reds, though color is limited and scattered.

Northwest Georgia:

As in Northeast Georgia, we’re still likely a week out for significant leaf color to begin. Some of the same species, including sourwood and maple, are beginning to show color, but again color is somewhat limited and scattered. 

Estimated percentage of color change from green to date:  5%

The weather is setting up for a good season with cooler nights and lots of sun. Continued similar weather should put us in good position for a great year.

Peak is a moving target, generally starting at the highest elevations and northern most latitudes and moving down in elevation and southerly in latitude and also influenced by aspect (direction of exposure) and species. Thus peak is different at different locations.

Overall peak, however, is generally around the last week and weekend in October. Given we may be a little late in starting this year, that window may stretch into early November.

This weekend is not likely to provide widespread leaf viewing but viewing the mountains any time of year is a treat.

Hurricane Irma is poised to take its place in the history books, and cities across Georgia are expected to be faced with tons of debris – on roadways, in parks and cemeteries, and everything in between. Many trees will be lost, which can take months to clean up. Safety for everyone is the first concern, and only then can clean up be addressed. Here are some tips and resources.

Chainsaw Safety, Contracting and Clean-Up

Urban trees provide health, environmental, economic and aesthetic values to communities, businesses and homes. Trees that are not properly maintained or which are stressed can quickly become major liabilities to people and property during hurricanes.

Immediate responses may be either to prune or remove your trees. These “do-it-yourself” efforts sometimes result in personal injuries, fatalities or property damage that homeowners are attempting to avoid. You can cause greater harm to the urban forest by removing healthy trees that do not need to be cut. Click the link below to download the PDF. For hard copies, please contact jscales@gfc.state.ga.us.

Managing Storm Damaged Trees: Do’s and Dont’s

 

Need the Help of a Certified Arborist to Assess City Trees? Let Us Know

Our foresters will be monitoring local communities for storm damage, but we need your help! If you have community trees that are putting lives and property at risk and need help assessing tree risk, please contact us to find out more about the services of the Urban Forest Strike Team. Send an email to jscales@gfc.state.ga.us. Watch the video below to see our team at work!

Urban Forest Strike Team Video

Visit our website at www.gatrees.org for more information

 

 

The Georgia Forestry Commission’s Sustainable Community Forestry Program is now using Constant Contact to reach Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA tree board members, legislators and partners. Check out the first issue of Community Tree News.

Community Tree News July 2017

great-american-tree-logo

As long summer days draw near, more daylight will be available to capture photos of a truly Great American Tree. The American Grove has launched its annual competition for the extraordinary tree that will represent the nation’s canopy as 2017’s “Great American Tree.” The competition theme this year is “trees that epitomize the meaning of summer,” such as trees that provide cool summer shade, hold tire swings, or bring back summer memories.

The national competition for remarkable trees is in its third year at www.Americangrove.org. Submissions must be uploaded online by the deadline of August 4. Entries must include a description of why the tree is special, its location, species, size including (estimated) height and/or diameter, and photographs displaying the special characteristics of the nominated tree. Nominations will be shared via social media, including Facebook (The Grove), Twitter (@plantyourlegacy; #greatamericantree
#GATC17), and Instagram (@plantyourlegacy). Nominations may also be submitted as an email attachment to morgan@americangrove.org.

After the submission period has ended, American Grove members will have 10 days to cast one vote for their favorite entry. The top five vote winning trees will move on to the next round of the competition. An “all star” urban forestry panel will determine the winner of the 2017 Great American Tree, which will be announced on September 1. The first place winner will receive $500, second place is $250, and third place is $100. The winning tree will earn a feature on The American Grove homepage, along with a lasting legacy under the Great American Tree tab showing winners from previous years.
The 2016 Great American Tree was ‘The Largest Tree in Arkansas,’ a champion bald cypress.

The American Grove is an online community for sharing experiences and knowledge about trees and the benefits they provide to communities throughout the nation. It is managed by the Georgia Urban Forest Council, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to sustain Georgia’s green legacy by partnering with individuals, organizations and communities in raising awareness about improving and maintaining Georgia’s community forests. Assistance is also given by the Georgia Forestry Commission,
which provides leadership, service and education in the protection and conservation of Georgia’s forest resources. Learn more at GaTrees.org.

@plantyourlegacy
#greatamericantree #GATC17
www.AmericanGrove.org

Orange SAF Patch - no year

A Walk in the Forest for Boy and Girl Scouts, organized by the Society of American Foresters – Chattahoochee Chapter and Stone Mountain Memorial Association, will be held October 21, 2017, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This free event is designed to help Boy Scouts, Webelos and Cadette Girl Scouts meet most of the requirements of the Webelos Elective Adventure: Into the Woods, Forestry Merit Badge or Cadette Trees Badge in one day! Additional Merit Badge and Trees Badge work will be needed to complete the badge.

Scouts are divided into groups with fellow Boy Scouts, Webelos or Cadettes and work with professional foresters at various educational stations to learn about the benefits of trees and forests and the forestry profession.

Educational Stations Include: Tree and Wildlife Identification, Forest Products and Sustainability, Managing a Georgia Forest: Silvicultural Basics, Forest Health, Forest Fire Fighting: Prescribed Burning, Maps and Safety, Urban Forestry, Tree Climbing and Careers in Forestry.

This event is funded by various corporate sponsors and relies heavily on volunteer support from professional foresters, educators, nonprofits and federal, state and local government employees. (SEE LIST BELOW)

A Walk in the Forest for Metro Atlanta Scouts received a prestigious 1st Place National Recognition Award from The House Society of Delegates of the Society of American Foresters, Nov. 2011.

Event Details:

  • Register Here: 2017 Walk in the Forest
  • Event gates open at 8 a.m. but the event does not start until 9 a.m. You may arrive early and register, but please be prepared to wait until the 9 a.m. start time. Coffee/breakfast is not provided and there are no vendors on-site.
  • The Stone Mountain Education Annex is located just outside the west gate entrance to Stone Mountain Park at 6826 James B. Rivers/Memorial Dr., Stone Mountain, GA 30083. You do not need to enter the park.
  • Check-in (8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.)
  • Scouts should register as a part of a troop/pack. A parent can complete the registration form, or a leader can register a whole group at one time. If a Scout wants to attend on their own without the rest of their troop, they will be grouped with another troop, and they must be supervised.
  • All scouts must be accompanied by a Scoutmaster/troop leader/adult to supervise through various stations. Please do not register a Scout without a Leader to accompany them.
  • Clipboards, worksheets and lunch are provided.
  • Lunch includes a deli sandwich, cookie and soft drink and/or water. This is not a peanut-free event. Please bring a picnic blanket and your own seating.
  • Chairs will not be provided at each station but please feel free to bring your own.
  • This event is for Cadette Girl Scouts only. Due to the specific badge work, Daisy, Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts are not eligible.
  • By your group’s registration and attendance at this event, you consent to the use of any photos taken for promotional purposes.
  • Questions? Email: safwalkintheforest@gmail.com
  • The event will be held rain or shine!
  • We will make every allowance possible to make this event handicap accessible.

Boy Scout Forestry Merit Badge work: Each Boy Scout is expected to have read the Forestry Merit Badge (4. a.,b.,c.,d.,e) and (5. a) will not be covered at this event. Contact information can be provided to help fulfill these requirements.

Thanks to our sponsors and our partners:

Society of American Foresters – Chattahoochee Chapter

Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Forest Investment Associates

Georgia Forestry Commission

Downey Trees Inc.

Stone Mountain Memorial Association

Tree ID with Girl Scouts