António Pena / Flickr

An unusual North Carolina Forest Service program has staff compete to collect tree seeds. After a fertile year, the service is touting the results.

This week, the WFAE Talks crew discusses stories making news that concern city politics, the environment and education.

Greg, Lisa and Ben discuss initial impressions of Mayor Dan Clodfelter, and public records related to former Mayor Patrick Cannon that won't be released for at least 60 days. Also on this week's podcast: Public outcry prompts Duke Energy to suspend a program in which tree roots were being injected with a chemical to stunt growth, and observations from a 3rd-grade class trying to meet the state's new reading requirement.

Charlotte Observer

Duke Energy has been the subject of a lot of criticism lately, and it’s not all about coal ash.

For the past month, Duke had workers apply a chemical to the roots of trees near power lines in Charlotte’s Myers Park, Dilworth and Sedgefield neighborhoods. Needless to say, many residents were quite upset.

This week, Duke responded to those concerns by suspending the program. But Duke plans to restart the program after the company retools its outreach efforts.

Flickr/Erik Cleves Kristensen

  A new report on tree canopy cover shows that Charlotte and Mecklenburg County both saw an increase in the percentage of land shaded by trees between 2008 and 2012.

Engineers will present the full results of the latest study before city council Monday night.

Flickr/Erik Cleves Kristensen

 For the last two years, as part of its ordinance, the city of Charlotte has given some developers the option of saving a portion of the trees on their property or to pay. The fund they pay into now has more than half-a-million dollars. And the city just made its first land purchase using some of that money.

A Trifling Place, Episode 6: When Cankerworms Attack

Feb 18, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

Welcome to "A Trifling Place," a podcast dedicated to exploring the ins-and-outs of Charlotte.  

In our last episode (Charlotte's Tree Obsession), we ended with this sound bite: "Die, cankerworm, die!" 

That's city arborist Donald McSween back in 2008 when WFAE's Lisa Miller followed him on his war against the cankerworms.

He also had some help: citizen soldiers like Sophia Hollingsworth. 

"We picked them off and didn’t feel bad at all about mooshing them because we felt it was one less cankerworm," Hollingsworth says. "And I don’t feel bad about any of them dying. It’s the canopy that Charlotte is known for and the trees are more important than the caterpillars. Hate the green monster."

Five years later, the fight against the inch-long creatures continues.

By The Numbers: Charlotte's Trees

Feb 5, 2013
Tasnim Shamma
  • 49: Percent of tree canopy lost between 1995 and 2008
  • One: Public tree for every seven residents
  • $11.83: Amount spent per person on its street trees
  • 215: Tree species in the city's inventory. Predominant tree species are willow oak and crapemyrtle
  • $166: Total benefits of an average street tree
  • 28: Million cubic feet of stormwater intercepted annually 
  • $2.1: Million dollars in stormwater management savings

Episode 5: Charlotte's Tree Obsession

Feb 5, 2013
Flickr/Erik Cleves Kristensen

Welcome to "A Trifling Place," a podcast dedicated to exploring the ins-and-outs of Charlotte.

Of the seven cities I've lived and worked in, Charlotte has got to be most green. When you're getting ready for an airplane landing, it's like you're descending into a forest. Once you're on the ground, you quickly learn trees are a big part of the city's identity.

Greensboro Strikes Back Over Duke's Tree Trimming

Dec 20, 2012

Duke Energy has more than 90,000 miles of overhead power lines across the Carolinas, which makes for a lot of tree-trimming to keep the lines clear – and a lot of complaints about that trimming. In Greensboro, the typical frustration is shaping into a legal battle between Duke and the city.

"Vegetation management" is the technical term for it, but residents of several old neighborhoods near downtown Greensboro use other words.

"Duke Power came in and just clear-cut the area," said Jay James at a Tuesday night meeting of the Greensboro City Council.

Zen Sutherland/Flickr

A new North Carolina law that allows the state to override local tree-protection ordinances has resulted in the loss of several hundred trees that covered at least 50 acres near billboards in Charlotte, according to the city's arborist. 

How the legislation is implemented is still being determined by the state Department of Transportation. The process involves a public comment period that ends Friday.