March 15, 2021
MAA Members,

As we start to enjoy warmer weather, the MAA looks forward to all the joys that Spring has to offer, including our 40th Annual Safety and Recertification Seminar. The event has been postponed to May 11, 2021. It will be open to a limited number of in-person attendees at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center. We plan to offer a virtual event option as well. Registration will open on March 30. A link to register will be sent directly to your inbox. If you would like to attend in-person, be sure to act fast! We expect this option to sell out quickly.

As tree care work picks up this Spring, we would like to remind our members the importance of being alert in the workplace. Some ways to prevent and control hazards are: regularly and thoroughly maintain equipment, ensure that hazard mitigation procedures are in place, ensure that everyone knows how to use and maintain personal protective equipment, and make sure that everyone understands and follows safe work procedures. We know that everyone is busy, but taking the extra minute to make sure that work is done safely and correctly could save a life - maybe even your own.

Stay Safe and Healthy!

Danielle Bauer Farace
Executive Director
Being a Maryland Arborist Association Member provides a number of benefits to you and your business.
Benefits include discounted event registration, educational resources, and up-to-date news and information.
Sugar Maple Sponsor:
BGE’s Contractor Assistance Program - Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on private tree care
The following is a message from BGE's Vegetation Management Unit:

BGE continues to monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have adapted our contractor assistance program within, and it will be seamless to private tree care contractors. We are committed to supplying appropriate support for the safety of your members.

As in 2020, our representatives (Davey Resource Group professionals-certified arborists, utility specialists, inspectors) will accept, inspect, and assess each contractor assistance request in a timely and professional manner and communicate throughout the process.

BGE will continue to schedule house service loop “drops “while you work (the service loop is typically the 120/240 volts lines directly connected from our pole to the house). Call our Customer Call Center on 410-685-0123 - at least 4 days in advance to schedule. Service loop drops will be disconnected
temporarily only if it impacts just one customer - that is your client.

This is an unprecedented health event and we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we adapt to the rapidly changing conditions.

Maryland LTE Continuing Education Requirements
In response to the Governor’s Executive Orders [Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak], the Maryland Forest Service will accept approved online courses to meet the MD Licensed Tree Experts continuing education requirement for those renewing December 2021 and December 2022 (both odd and even numbered licenses). A listing of online courses will be available on their website in March 2021.
Brood X Periodical Cicadas
The following was provided by Stanton Gill, Extension Specialist in IPM and Entomology, CMREC, University of Maryland Extension and Professor, Montgomery College, Landscape Technology Program. Read the full story in the University of Maryland Extension IPM Report published February 26, 2021.
Photo credit: University of Maryland Extension.

So much focus has been on the economy and the Covid situation let’s move forward to what is happening in the insect world this spring. First, take a minute and drift back to 2004. The air was “abuzz” with the sound of the 17-year periodical cicadas, Magicicada septemdecim. Male cicadas were drumming their abdomens making noises that carried for miles. The female cicadas slashed into branches to lay their eggs. At the peak of the flight activity of the cicadas, the bird population was getting plump from the bounty of insects to feed on. The eggs hatched in a couple of weeks and the nymphs dropped to the ground to burrow into the root-zones of plants to feed on tree roots for the next 17 years. We thought we were safe from the 17-year cicadas until 2021. Well, time slipped by and it is now “2021”, and we will be seeing and hearing the Brood X periodical cicada this year in late spring to early summer.
MDA Announces Pesticide Disposal Program for 2021
The Maryland Department of Agriculture has announced that it will reconstitute its Pesticide Disposal Program this year. This free program allows pesticide applicators across the state to safely and properly dispose of any unwanted or unusable pesticides. Applications will be accepted March 15 - September 15, 2021.
Forestry Stewardship Handbook Available for Green Industry Professionals
Are you interested in expanding your suite of services to natural areas like small forests? The Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology has funded the creation of a Woodland Health Practices Handbook for arborists, landscapers, and landowners. Created by the Woods in Your Backyard Partnership, this handbook and an accompanying checklist focus on practices that can be used that enhance natural areas, like invasive pest control, tree planting and forestry practices, trail development, wildlife habitat enhancement, and more. The purchase price for the Woodland Health Practices Handbook is $27 for the manual and shipping.
The Tree That Owns Itself
The following was shared with us by Matthew Anacker of A&A Tree Experts. The full story can be found on the Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau website. Photo credit: Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau.

One of Athens Georgia's most beloved residents, and roadside wonders, is the Tree that Owns Itself. This stately white oak resides at the corner of Dearing and Finley Streets, at the edge of downtown Athens. It is an unusual property owner, as it pays no taxes!

According to a legend first printed in the local newspaper on August 12, 1890, Colonel William H. Jackson's will deeded the tree possession of itself and all the land within eight feet of its trunk. Is this deed legally binding? We’re not sure, as no one has ever contested the tree’s property rights.

Today’s tree is actually a “junior.” The original giant oak, estimated around 400 years old, fell over during a wind storm on October 9, 1942. Not wanting the tradition to die, members of the Junior Ladies Garden Club of Athens were determined to replace the Tree. Garden Club members gathered acorns from the site and lovingly began growing a second-generation white oak to replace Colonel Jackson's beloved tree. In just four short years, on December 4, 1946, Junior Ladies members planted the sapling that stands tall today as the Tree That Owns Itself.

Under the Maryland High Voltage Line Act who is considered a line clearance arborist?

A: tree contractors who are agents or are contracted to perform work by a public utility that is regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC)
B: any contractor who has gone through Electrical Hazards Awareness Program (EHAP) training and received training on identifying electrical equipment and the line voltage
C: Anybody
D: No one – MD has no such law

Per the MD High Voltage Line Act – only those contractors contracted by the utility are considered line clearance certified and all other arborists must maintain the Minimum Approach Distance (MAD) specified for non line clearance arborists. (STATE OF MARYLAND, LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT ARTICLE, ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND Title 6-102 Scope of title)
Line-Clearance Tree Trimming Operations
The following precautions for line-clearance tree trimmers are provided by OSHA:

  • Determine the voltage(s) of any lines that may pose a hazard before work begins. Alternatively, all lines must be considered as operating at the voltage of the line with the highest voltage.

  • Ensure their body parts and any ladders, platforms, or aerial devices being used remain outside the minimum approach distance from any energized part.

  • Use only insulated tools and equipment to remove branches and limbs that are in contract with, or are within the minimum approach distance of, energized parts.

  • Not work during adverse weather conditions (high winds, icing, thunder and lightning, etc.) that make the work hazardous. Line-clearance tree trimming personnel may, however, begin work on storm restoration efforts in the aftermath of a storm (that is, in less severe weather conditions) if they have been trained in the special hazards involved with this type of work. These employees may perform work in any type of weather if the lines and circuits in the area have been deenergized per requirements.
The Boxwood Blight Insight Group (BBIG), is sponsoring an International Boxwood Seminar series to be hosted by AmericanHort and its research arm, Horticultural Research Institute (HRI). The series is open to all boxwood enthusiasts across the globe. The first presentation is March 18 and is entitled “Boxwood Blight: a 15-year love-hate relationship” presented by Dr. Thomas Brand, Department Head of Ornamental Plant Cultivations, Tree Nurseries, Public Greenery @ Chamber of Agriculture of Lower Saxony, Germany.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture's next recertification webinar for Professional Fertilizer Applicators is set for Tuesday, March 23 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. via Zoom. This two-hour will provide 2 continuing education credits (CEU's). You must be registered to receive your CEU's.
Mid Atlantic Chapter International Society of Arboriculture, MAC ISA will be holding a virtual Arborist Certification Course March 23-25. This course is beneficial to anyone who wishes to become an ISA Certified Arborist or MD DNR Licensed Tree Expert.
Upcoming exam dates have been posted online. The next exam is tentatively scheduled for April 14, 2021. However, if state buildings are still closed to the public, the exam will need to be held outdoors and will be weather dependent. Those interested in taking the exam need to submit their exam application paperwork so they can be contacted with up-to-date exam information.
MAC-ISA Tree Climbing Championship
Registration will be announced soon for the 2021 event, which is scheduled for June 5 at Morven Park in Leesburg, VA. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event has been scaled back and will have 30 spaces for competitors.