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 for 2018

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I have divided the original Home page into several sections as it was getting cumbersome

to copy. At this time there are Home (this Page), Archive 1, and Archive 2

  1. I have back ups for most of my old information and will fill in the gaps from Dec to the present.   ( entered May 21,2018)

December 9, 2018 Sunday
A word of caution about the snow, ice, sleet storm we are getting today and tomorrow.  Trees normally have lost their foliage by this time of the year, and many trees are still in full leave.  A wet snow or ice on leaves creates a tremendous load on the root system.  Many of our large trees have a root system confined in a small space, and a canopy that under ideal circumstances spreads in the air to as much as 3 times the drip zone. (photo of Drip zone)  Where I live, our planting strip between the sidewalk and the street is 11 feet wide.  This is a lot greater than most trees have because we live on a thoroughfare. Some of the planting strips in Charlotte are 3 to 4 feet in width, and no where near 11 feet wide.   What this ends up looking like is an upside down lollipop for a root system, tall trunk, and considerable foliage.  To make bad matters worse,
 we have lots of willow oaks and they are particularly susceptible to root rot.  Inonotus happened in particular. Link here for
Weeping Conk ... Inonotus draydeus  


November 1 through December 3, 2018 Monday

Several things to catch up on .... lots of things have happened. 

I heard someone say that it was time to get the cankerworm traps up now. I radically disagree for several reasons. The first is that many trees are still loaded with leaves and your traps
will be covered up with falling or it not that and you have the Bug Barrier trap where the leaves are protected from falling leaves, leaf blowers will do a thorough job blowing leave up under the trap.
The last point is that the season last year was radically off.  In the Myers Park area some large trees did not capture any or very few cankerworms.  As I have suggested in the past do not put
up traps until you are sure you will have an infestation.  link here later


Fall colors have been great.  This photo was in Dilworth near Worthington.

20181120_103551 (4)


This is one of my favorite maple trees I always try to photograph very fall.  In the fall as the sun is going down, it can be gorgeous.  This year we have had so much rain and the falling leaves and the setting sun did not cooperate.  Still, it is a pretty photo. 

Great fall colors

20181123_161912 (1) (1)


The conks for the common mushroom we see growing at the base of our large willow oaks is called Inonotus draydeus.  The common name is weeping conk.  You can see from the Photo below what the weeping is referring to.



From a little distance the smaller conk (fungus) on the right in the proceeding photo which shows the “bleeding” better.  Interestingly These Weeping Conks came out almost exactly one month later than in previous years.   We have had a lot of rain this season but drought has been mixed in with, and we all know the weather has been strange.

October 30,2018 Tuesday
I found some photos of a willow oak I was watching in Freedom Park from 2013.  It was September of 2013 when the mushrooms started showing and growing.  three photos are shown below  click here Inonotus

October 17, 2018

While looking at a tree on Queens Road West, I observed  Mushrooms at the base of a street tree.  This was the Inonotus dryadeus.  I think it is very late in the season to see this as we usually see the mushroom in September.  I will check past dates on photos... read below.

IMG_4205  out of focus remove and replace


Here are a series of photos of Inonotus dryadeus that were taken in 2013. Note the dates.  It would be interesting to check the weather preceding the time these mushrooms became visible.  It is also interesting to see how fast the mushroom grew.  The tree in question was a very large willow oak at the entrance to Freedom Park off East Blvd.  The tree also had several large dead limbs in it that were covered with Hypoxalon Canker. 

This first photo was taken on September 17 2013 and the one below it on October 21 2013.  The point being that there is a month difference when the appeared.  Note also that there is the blackened remains of the the conk that was left from the previous year and that is there the new mushrooms are growing. 

Inonotus dryadeus   September 17 2013

2013-09-17_16-41-45_884-anonotis qrw well



Inonotus dryadus  Photographed  Oct 21, 2013    only xxx days apart.



November 09, 2013  Note the two mushrooms are touching.



October 13, 2018 Saturday
I lost some data on this computer when we had a short electrical problem due to Hurricane Michael.  I have been around Dilworth, Myers Park and part of Eastover looking for uprooted trees.  I have records on Hurricane Hugo and a little on Florence and now Michael.  I will be posting more.  Yesterday I was in Dilworth and there were 246 people on one grid with no power.  I am sure there are places where the situation is worse, but still it is serious. 

I will post more about these storms, uprooted trees, root rot.  Check out Hurricanes on this site.


September 27, 2018  Thursday
This morning at about 8:00 the electrical power went out in our home, and 151 other people along Queens Road West and Maryland Avenue.  This is the Fifth time in the month of September that the power has gone out in our home.  One of those times was the day Hurricane Florence knocked it out.  I looked at two trees that came down on Queens Road West.  Each one fell on homes and did a great deal of damage. If you want to read more about Florence click here.

I suspected that another tree had uprooted because the feed back from Duke Energy was that it would be out until 3:00 and then later 1:00, and the two power poles had been damaged (cross ties damaged) or were down.  It actually came back by around 9:00.

As it turned out a large limb had fallen from a Sweetgum Tree.  Below is the fruit of the tree called a sweetgum ball.



This time of year the sweetgum balls are maturing and are actually quite heavy.  When you get a branch that is loaded with the fruit (sweetgum balls) the limb will often fall.  This is not an uncommon problem.  Out west they have something they call Sudden Limb Drop.  That refers to the limbs of eucalyptus trees.   I recall a case where a limb of an eucalyptus dropped from a tree in a park or a parking lot and killed a child who was eating an ice cream cone.

If you have a sweetgum tree, then you should have it checked to see if a similar situation exist.  One way to do this on your own would be to look back at the history of the tree to see if such unforseen limbs have dropped suddenly for no apparent reason in the past.

The photo below which is not very sharp in focus came from the sweetgum debris that was still under the tree that took out the power line on the morning of September 27th.

sweetgum limb_4145


 September 17, 2018  Monday   The day after hurricane Florence arrived in Charlotte.

We were lucky for a lot of reasons.  Some outlined on My Generator Page.  More important is what I saw today which concerns safety and why trees fall.  I always get annoyed when I watch TV or see photos in the news papers that show up-rooted trees that have obvious decay in the roots.  I looked at several situations over the last few days and took many photos of decay in trees that fell.  I also have many photos of uprooted trees and their decay that caused them to fall in my archives and decided that after Florence, it is time to share that information.

Why should I do this.  I was a Consulting Arborist  (member and past President of the American Society of Consulting Arborist.)  I also ran a local tree service called McNeary’s Arborists Inc. in Charlotte North Carolina for 42 years.  I have seen a lot over the years as a professional Arborist and observed many storms over the years including Hurricane Hugo in September 22, 1989 and Florence September 15th and 16th when it arrived in Charlotte NC.  (added information and now Hurricane Michal October 11, 2018 one day after it struck Mexico Beach in Florida with winds of 155 mph.)

We read about seeing the uprooted Trees on TV and the flooding and other damage to the entire State of North Carolina.  I certainly have empathy for those in dire situations, but I want to address why most of the trees blow over.  We only had about 45 mph winds in Charlotte, probably some gust higher, but not the kind that should uproot healthy trees.

I propose to outline this on three pages on this site.  Example of individual trees that blew over. Example 1 Queens Road West. ...  cause root rot ..... Florence
Example 2 Queens Road West ... cause root rot ,,,,,,  Florence
Example 3 Malvern Road        ... Probable root rot or other root issues ..... Florence
A look at Hurricane Hugo

September 16, 2018  Sunday
Florence has passed for the time being in Charlotte, but it looks like another blast will hit later tonight.  At noon today, I captured exactly 6 inches of water in my rain gauge.  I used a 5 gallon pail with straight sides and a brick to hold it down in the wind.  Once it had several inches of water I removed the brick.  Later at about 3:30 after another reading there was 6 and 3/8's inches.  Some areas close by got 10 inches or more.   I was able to get my generator going at about 3:30 am, after the power went out at 2:30.  I kept the generator running because the sump pump was filling and running pretty frequently.  My concern was to protect a freezer with food.  Equally as important, the basement has a lot of stuff like tools, storage containers, old dog toys and children's’ used but still functional  toys. Moving all of that to higher ground would have been very difficult.  The water was coming in fast.  There was about a one inch hole in the side of the sump opening and the pump was spewing a solid stream of water about three inches long.  By the time I got the pump working water was beginning to spread over the basement floor.  I learned a lot about my generator from 2:30 AM until 7:00 AM Read more on Tips on Running a Gasoline Generator during a storm. My Generator Page

September 12, 2018
The path of Florence has changed dramatically and I believe Charlotte is in a position now 8:30 AM to get a lot more rain than I thought.  The eye of the storm is being pushed south and looks like it will really batter the entire coast.  Things will change and I will post more.

For whatever it is worth I have always been fascinated hurricanes because before TV and the Internet, I was born in the middle of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938.  My parents lived in Boston at the time and fled to Philadelphia Pa to escape.  They did not escape all of it.  There was not much in the papers because Hitler invaded (got to look this one up) at the same time so

September 11, 2018
Since my last entry on August 6th, I have noticed a lot of things I should have posted.  Today of course is infamous, and we all who were around at that time remember where we were when the Trade Towers were attacked.  Say some prayers for our country.  The only other time that I remember so vividly was when President Kennedy was shot which was November 22, 1963.   At that time, I was a 1st Lieutenant in the Air Force stationed in Istanbul Turkey.

Significantly, today is shaping up to be a memorable day in that Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the coast of North Carolina and will probably strike somewhere near Wilmington NC.  The surrounding states for the east coast will probably see storm surges, heavy rains and flooding.

We (in Charlotte) are 179 miles from Wilmington NC and 177 miles from Charleston SC which is where Hurricane Hugo made landfall slightly north of Charleston.  McClellanville had serious damage and some of the stories there were really amazing.

 Those of you who might be on the coast watch out for flooding and the Storm Surge.

Hurricane Hugo  A Night of Terror in McClellanville

25 years ago, a night of terror in McClellanville: ‘We came over here to drown’

By JASON RYAN - Special to The State
September 20, 2014 06:26 PM 

It was a last-minute decision, made as Hurricane Hugo churned off the South Carolina coast, poised to come ashore.

Twenty-five years ago today, on Sept. 21, 1989, Elizabeth Young had been at home in McClellanville, watching the evening news, when a reporter urged — one final time — local residents to head to a public shelter, especially if they lived in a one-story home.

Hearing the plea once again, Young changed her mind about staying put in the face of a powerful hurricane. Grabbing her pregnant daughter and two young grandsons, she headed off to nearby Lincoln High School, joining a few hundred other local residents preparing to wait out the Category 4 storm.

Hurricane Hugo already had torn through the Caribbean, causing two dozen deaths. Now, having traveled northeast across the Gulf Stream, it was ready to make landfall again, just north of Charleston.
Though it had weakened since leaving the Caribbean, Hugo – the first major hurricane to strike South Carolina in 30 years – still had sustained winds of 135 mph. As the eye of the storm passed over Sullivan’s Island on the north side of Charleston Harbor just shy of midnight, Hugo’s fiercest winds assaulted McClellanville, a small fishing village of 400 residents another 40 miles north.

Many of those seeking shelter at Lincoln High took refuge in the school’s large cafeteria, where there was also a stage.

Young, who worked as a secretary at the school, camped out with her family in the home economics classroom, enjoying biscuits and coffee prepared by a friend. Anticipating a long night, Young had brought along a bag of books, and arts and crafts supplies to help pass the time.

Some time before midnight, the power went out at the school, leaving the shelter in darkness. A half hour or so later, Young reached down to the floor to retrieve something from her bag. To her surprise, her fingers touched water. The school, Young and the others realized, had started to flood.

The water rose quickly.

Within minutes it was above ankles, then knees, then waists, with no sign of stopping.

In the cafeteria, some nervous residents stood atop tables to escape the rising water. Others took to the elevated stage.

In the home economics room, a man in a wheelchair was hoisted onto a table, too. Young placed her two grandsons even higher, atop a refrigerator, hoping they would be safe. No one could be sure, however, since the water kept rising in the darkness.

What’s more, there was no obvious escape from the building. The floodwater seeping into the building sealed shut every door. It was a scene from a horror movie: Hundreds of people trapped in dark rooms that kept filling and filling with water.

About this time Young regretted leaving her home to seek shelter at the school. So did the other McClellanville residents trapped at Lincoln High. As one friend in the home economics room said as the water continued to rise, “Miss Young, we came over here to drown.”  ‘We were totally trapped’

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC
 Readers’ memories of Hurricane Hugo: stuck on a submarine
A mile away in the center of town, the storm surge had taken others by surprise as well.

Rutledge Leland, McClellanville's mayor since 1976, had decided to brave the storm by hunkering down at home with his wife and two children.

Close to midnight, he said, Hugo’s winds had died down, only to be replaced by the sound of his dogs scratching on the exterior door. Leland had tied them up outside, under a carport, and was curious why they seemed agitated when it was so calm. Opening the door, Leland was astonished to see his pooches in water up to their necks.

He let the dogs inside and, noticing the water continue to rise and seep into the house, soon moved with his family to the second floor.

His wife stood sentinel at the top of the stairs, watching the water rise step by step by step. Within what seemed like 15 minutes, says Leland, the floodwater was 6 feet deep on the first floor.

In homes across McClellanville, nervous residents were climbing to higher ground.

For some, that meant jumping on furniture. For others, it meant climbing into attics, or upon roofs, especially when the furniture they had been perched upon started bobbing around their water-filled homes.

All watched the floodwater with alarm, praying it would stop rising, if not recede altogether.

Back at Lincoln High, people went into a full-blown panic as the water continued to rise.

Some people sloshed through the halls, desperate to find an exit not sealed by water, the only light provided by flashlights and hallway emergency lights that remained illuminated. They could find no way out, and failed to break through Plexiglas windows when they banged them with a fire extinguisher.

Inside the cafeteria, people cried and prayed as they crowded onto tables and the stage, lifting children high to keep their heads above the water, now 6 feet high.

Some tired of being overcrowded and elected to swim around in the water, clinging to buoyant belongings.

Emergency personnel stationed at the shelter were alarmed by the danger posed by the floodwater.

As paramedic George Metts wrote later: “The enormity of our situation was staggering. We were totally trapped. The tidal surge had risen so rapidly that we had no time to call for help. My walkie-talkie had gotten wet earlier and now it had fallen into the inky darkness. We were on our own. The water was still rising and those that could were packed like sardines on the stage.”

A few men managed to climb out a window and climb to the school’s roof. They had escaped the floodwater but were now buffeted by ferocious winds and flying debris, including terracotta shingles being ripped from the school’s roof. Nonetheless, the men were glad to be outside the school. They feared that they might be the only survivors, that everyone below was doomed.

Fortunately, the water stopped rising.

Perhaps two or three hours after the floodwater penetrated Lincoln High School, it began to seep out, the storm having moved inland, toward Columbia and Sumter.

Daylight soon came, and people exited the building to inspect Hugo’s toll.

Having narrowly survived drowning within the school, they were in for another shock – McClellanville was in shambles.

‘Your world turned upside down in six hours’

At daylight, Mayor Leland began surveying the damage.

The first floor of his home was caked in inches of mud, his belongings waterlogged.

Outside, a 90-foot steel barge had obliterated his dock after coming loose in the storm. Boats of all sizes had come ashore, crashing into buildings and trees throughout town before the water receded, leaving the boats high and semi-dry.

Hurricane Hugo had moved homes off their foundations, and torn walls off others. Cars had floated every which way, too, some deposited on top of each other.

Perhaps most eerily, residents encountered coffins in the street and throughout town. The hurricane and tidal surge had washed the coffins out of their graves in a nearby cemetery.

Trees, formerly flush with a summer’s worth of new growth, had been stripped bare of leaves by Hugo’s winds. Limbs and trunks had snapped and been scattered. The damage was overwhelming.

“You just cannot imagine what it’s like to have your world turned upside down in six hours,” says Leland, who today, at 70, is still McClellanville's mayor. “Everything you’ve done in life is just on restart.”

Leland tallied the destruction in basic terms.

His house was ruined.

His seafood business, located just down the street, was ruined.

McClellanville, it seemed, was ruined.

But he and his family, at least, were alive.

Every McClellanville resident, in fact, had survived the storm.

But that information would not be known for some time, as residents emerged from their homes without telephone service or transportation, all their cars having been stuck underwater and most of the roads made impassable.

The absence of information was agonizing.

Sheila Powell, now the director of the South Santee Senior and Community Center in McClellanville, was living in Las Vegas when Hurricane Hugo roared through her hometown. She watched news reports of the storm damage from out West and was frustrated when she could not reach any family members to check on their safety. Two months later, at Thanksgiving, she made her first visit back home since the storm.

Powell was stunned.

“That was something I don’t care to ever see again,” says Powell, now 54. “It definitely tore up the entire town.”

‘Every time something starts twirling’

McClellanville was not alone in its suffering.

Downtown Charleston and the surrounding metropolitan area and islands also severely were damaged. Hugo wreaked havoc, too, as it spun up into the Midlands and through Charlotte and beyond.

Within South Carolina, at least 26 people were killed by the storm. More than 26,000 homes were destroyed or heavily damaged, and 1.4 million people were left without power. Hugo caused an estimated $5 billion to $8 billion in damage in the Palmetto State.

But tiny McClellanville was perhaps hit the hardest.

Cosmetically, it bounced back rather quickly, looking familiar again within a few years. Debris was removed. Trees sprouted new leaves. Houses were repaired and cleaned.

Other damage, however, was not so easily sorted out.

Many residents suffered economically through lost income and damages not covered by insurance. In a town clobbered by a 16-foot storm surge, few people had flood insurance.

Then, there was the loss of all the things that could not be replaced, including family Bibles and photographs. And the inconvenience of fixing leaky roofs, enduring the stench of rotting sea animals, and having students sent to temporary schools.

Some residents became annoyed with the delivery of government help following the storm, judging it too slow to come or insufficient. Yet South Carolina’s recovery from Hugo lacked the finger-pointing and dysfunction found years later in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina walloped New Orleans.

People in McClellanville do not complain much about Hugo these days. Instead, they remember the generosity of the many strangers who donated needed supplies to residents or volunteered for cleanup and rebuilding efforts.

“One thing I’ll always remember is the kindness of people around the country,” says Young, the former secretary at Lincoln High School, now 77.

Since Hugo, there have been significant improvements in weather forecasting, building codes and communication technology, including cellphones and personal computers. Together, they suggest coastal residents would be better prepared for another major hurricane.

Local leaders say, too, that, many improvements have been made to emergency planning in coastal South Carolina.

Most notably, evacuation routes have been made more efficient, and there is a greater sense of cooperation between local agencies and governments, especially in coordinating storm preparation plans and responses.

In Charleston County today, most storm shelters are concentrated inland at schools in North Charleston. Should a big storm strike again, that’s where McClellanville’s residents would seek refuge.

Never again would residents be sent to a flood-prone area.

It turned out that a mistake had been made when Lincoln High was designated a storm shelter. The school, just a quarter-mile from the Intracoastal Waterway, was wrongly thought to stand at a much higher elevation.

These days, it is clean and dry, bearing no sign of the calamity and near-tragedy that occurred 25 years ago — with one exception.

Right outside the cafeteria is a plaque, mounted slightly above eye level, marking the high-water line of the storm surge.

The plaque is one of the few visible testaments to Hurricane Hugo.

Since that ferocious night the storm came through, McClellanville has reverted to the sleepy, small-town existence its residents cherish. Hugo has become a somewhat distant memory, its details no longer so sharply recalled or as avidly discussed.

Instead, Hugo has become part of history. But, like the coffins the storm caused to come out of the ground, it has the ability to suddenly resurface. For Leland and many others residents, Hugo has a tendency to pop back into minds “every time something starts twirling in the ocean.”

“'Til we’re all gone,” says the mayor, “it will still be on our minds.”

Credit to The State and JASON RYAN

August 6, 2018
I mentioned in July that I would count the number of recently planted trees along Queens Road West.  From Selwyn  Avenue, to Kings Drive there were nine (9) dead trees that I counted and continuing on Kings drive to Morehead, there were ten (10) that died.  That is a lot of trees and several years ago in 2015 we  had a similar drought and problem with excessive dead trees.

August 5, 2018

Things have really changed in the last few weeks in that we have had a lot of rain.  Actually, the rain has been spotty and did not land in my yard  as much as several other places.  From observations, and what I read this is a cycle that will continue.  All these weather situations are related.  Excessive heat (in places all over the world) has become an issue. that makes forest fires a real threat as they are now and have been in our western states.  The California Car five as of today has burned more than 80,000 acres and is only ??? contained. Serious fires leave open ground that can not absorb rain water, and that creates flash floods and situations for landslides and rock slides, and not the least major and minor dam failure...  as an example the Oraville over-topping in California in early February 2017.  Check this link to how unprepared anyone was for the almost horrific disaster that would have released all the water from the tallest dam at 795 feet in the United States.  This would have been a major, major, disaster for California and the entire US.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQxVmKnBgvc

If you find the Oraville Dam an invigorating episode, then check out the the total collapse of the Teton Dam in June 5th 1973.  There is a book called That Day in June written by the survivors which is quite interesting. 

Next was the near disaster of the Glen Canyon Dam some 20 years after Lady Bird Johnson dedicated it on September 22, 1966.  The dam was was actually started in 1956 and during the early spring of 1983, it came close to a total failure and breakdown.   An interesting fact is that a magazine called High Country News published a magazine (still in existence) about the near collapse.  The chief electrical engineer who designed and installed the power plant for the dam lived ??? which was the town constructed for the workers and their families during the construction process.  His son T J Wolf was a teenager at the time and loved the dam and Lake Powell.  As an adult 20 years later, he worked for High Country News and his perspective of the damage to the spillways and the near collapse is absolutely amazing.  Near Collapse of the Glen Canyon Dam


In China about two years after the Teton Dam Collapsed, the Chinese Government hid for 15 years the destruction of the dam and the death of about 171,000 (some estimates said 300,000) people from the Banqoi Dam on May 8, 1975.  Building dams was very popular over the years but the best locations for dams are gone and consequently with climate change making a difference we will continue to major dams collapse.  Check the link below for some serious information


 More on this later



A rather interesting article about the weather in northern China.... more


July 12, 2018
The drought continues with possible thunder storms on July 17th.  This is serious for all plant material.  We have had more days over 90 degrees every summer for quite a few years.  What is not obvious is that the soil moisture dries out as the summer progresses.  Depending what happens later in July, August, and September, and maybe October, the soil probably will continue to dry.  So far we have  not seen problems with the major tree canopy.  Shallow rooted trees have and will continue to suffer and die.  We will start to see deterioration of major trees if the weather continues as it has.

I plan to count the dead newly planted trees on Queens Road West, and check with Charlotte Landscaping to see the percentage of replacements needed for the city as a whole.  Why do this?  We need to get a handle on what we as individuals can do to help protect the trees.  To my knowledge the average citizen does not know how to evaluate if a large shade tree needs water.  If we do not address this issue it could very costly in dollars and loss of trees.

July 11, 2018.
Here is the more coming referred to from the July 4th..  We had a long period of almost no rain.  When it is 90 degrees outside, any rain gets used up quickly.  The heat evaporate it, and the rain often runs off rather than allowing the water to seep into the ground.  If you have grass or other vegetation, more of the rain will go into the ground.  All these floods we see on TV are partly because the world had lots of roofs, roads and parking lots, and hard surfaces in general.

It has been 11 days since we had the July 3rd rain of 3 to 4 inches.  I have a small vegetable garden with drip irrigation on 4 tomato plants.  They are doing fine but the ground near them is quite hard.  I used a pointed solid steel bar about 1 inch in diameter and 5 feet long to punch some holes in the ground to support a bamboo tripod to grow cucumbers on later in the fall, and could only get the bar in the soil about 1 inch.  We really need more rain.

July 4, 2018.  Boy that rain was quick  3 to four inches of rain last night.
 That does not mean the drought is over.  more coming 

July 4, 2018  Alert.  We are in the middle of a severe drought.
I have been gone for a time, and this web site is a little behind.  I came back after 13 days on the west coast, and there had been only one light rain shower while I was gone.  I have been back since June 20, 2018, and it is super dry.  I am fortunate to have an irrigation system so my plants look pretty good considering how dry it has been.  I use drip irrigation on my landscaping, but even that has not been enough.  So far the larger shade trees look good, but we still have lots of summer to go. Most of July, August, and September will be dry before it starts to cool down.

Plants like shallow rooted azaleas are in bad shape and will likely die if they have started to wilt severely.  I have a hedge of Laural along the edge of the driveway which has been there for 20 plus years.  A few of the plants were wilting three days ago See Photo below, and I watered them down hard.  The badly wilted branches will not come back but might put out some buds on the stems.

In the summer of 2015, we also had a bad drought very similar and lost many newly planted trees.  There are at least 10 new willow oaks planted this spring along Queens Road West which are dead.  Rather than repeat what I wrote in 2015, check this link.   (July 12, 2018 Some of the Photos on this link are missing because I posted this information in 2016.  Maybe they went out of business?)

June 1, 2018
Hot and muggy, and we did have a pretty hard rain last night. Clear and sunny today probably have storms this afternoon.  Serious damage from flooding on the Natahalla River where I like to fly fish and I expect several other rivers in the mountains have seen lots of flooding. The town of Asheville really was flooded badly and more heavy rains expected.  All of this reminds me of the fact that I think climate change is real.  Our 25 and 100 year floods have now become 500 and 1000 floods.  There is so much documentation about this, it is really not necessary to repeat all the facts.  I will choose some and report 

May 29,2018
Lots of rain should be on its way from Tropical storm Alberto??.  A storm does not become a hurricane until the wind speed reaches 72 miles per hour. Any storm including a Tropical Depression can deliver lots of water  When ever there is 3 inches of more of rain, there will be flooding to one degree or another.  If the drainage area is large and one gets 3 to 8 inches of rain the results can be devastating.  I live about 40 feet above Sugar Creek that runs through Freedom Park.  I measured the difference with an anemometer which tells the exact feet above sea level.  I do not think we are at great risk because the flood plain around the creek where we are is quite wide.  If one is anticipating buying a home, it is always a good idea to check out the flood potential.  What used to be 100 year flood comes often and a 1000 year flood can happen.  We who live in the Charlotte area were lucky that the flood  in 2016?????? that clobbered South Carolina, just missed the lower part of Charlotte.  In fact I 77 down close to the South Carolina border was flooded.   Keep your eyes open and have an emergency plan.

May 15,2018

April 30,2018

April 18, 2018 I expected to see cankerworms today but did not.  They should be out, but we had a very weak infestation in this area (Myers Park).  If anyone out there has information, let me know.  I went fishing over a long weekend and could have missed the hatch.  BTW I always enjoy the mountains this time of year.  The green spring foliage was on the lower mountains but not at any higher elevation.  it was interesting how much more green was visible on the way home four days later.

April 11, 2018
Spring is here... Several days ago (April 6, 2018) I happened to stumble upon a short article I wrote back in April of 2000 which is 18 years ago. To me this has been a rough winter, but plants are starting to bloom on exactly the same schedule.  I thought our weird winter would slow things down. I would say that azaleas were  out in full bloom yesterday, April 10th.

Take a look:
April 4, 2000

Every year I wonder where we are in the spring as compared to last year or the year before.  Below are a few things happening right now which gives us an idea as to what will happen next year also.

Trees flower about 3 to 4 weeks earlier here in Charlotte, then they do up north in areas such as Rochester New York.  Washington is about 3 weeks behind.

To day the boxwood leaf miner came out.  I have seen the little orange fly emerge as early as the last day of March and as late as the 15th of April.  Most azaleas are in full bloom or will be in a day or three.  Daffodils are mostly gone, only the latest varieties are still hanging around.

Willow oaks in full leaf although some of the young trees in cooler areas only are partially out.  The tassels of the willow oak are falling but have not reached their peak.  They are a real mess and pollen from the oaks and pines will coat everything soon.

Sweet gum pollen will turn ponds dark coffee color.  We actually spray them soon to keep the sweetgum balls from forming.  This works well if you are interested.  It beats cutting down the trees and the balls are really a pain.

I will continue to post as plants come into leaf.

I observed the azaleas in my own yard starting to flower and even took a few photos which I will post here.

March 29, 2018
It feels like spring out there today.... finally.  So far we have missed the rains and tornadoes that are racing in from the Midwest.  I did miss the nasty weather of a freeze, rain, and snow that was here a couple of weeks ago.  I was fortunate to be in South Africa where is was early fall, nice weather, but a severe drought in Cape Town.  Here is what one of the large reservoirs looked like from the Air.  Part of the issue for Capetown is that they have had double influx of people in the last several years and that has put a real strain on infrastructure.

  Lake near Capetown with very low  (photo water_0029). 

Lake Capetown low water_0029

map above.

March 28, 2018
 I am back from a little time off and have reached a turning point in that I have a different focus on life.  Maintaining a business property takes work. There are taxes, property to be maintained and unexpected things that happen because of weather or other unforeseen things.  I plan to maintain these pages and keep my Observations to continue to add content to the site.

March 3, 2018
I guess we need to get back to the business of dealing with things that did not get sold at my sale.  We got rid of a lot of small things, but some of the larger items are still here.  I am moving stuff from the property as the new owner takes over soon.  I intend to remove the photos of what is gone which means that if the photo is still there, so is the item available. Give me a couple of weeks to get that done as I have other priorities.

February 23, 2018
Since the timing of the cankerworm seems to be on schedule I think we can assume that the emergence will be late March or early April.  The eggs are laid in the top of the trees and after the first cankerworms hatch, they will be green and about 1/16th of an inch long.  It used to be that you could see small cankerworms on the Tanglefoot trap, but since there are so few females, I have seen very few egg cases on the trunk. We will have to hear from others in areas where there were heavier infestations.  So much for now..

February 18, 2018
I have not seen any cankerworm for a week.  I think they are done for the season.  Since I have not heard anyone come up with a better thought as to why there have been dramatically fewer cankerworms, here is mine.  We had a drought just before the big freeze.  It was below freezing at sometime during each day for 10 days or more.

I saw plants die this year that have not before.  At my office I have had three separate     ten gallon containers with three types of water lilies in them.  They have lived happily for 15 years in those three containers and all of them froze oout this season.  The cold might have been the critical factor but the drought could have added to it by weakening the cankerworms just below the surface of the ground.

February 11, Sunday 0 cws today total  cws for the year 46.  .





December 19, 2017 Tuesday
I got a call today from the North West Charlotte that 4 cankerworms were spotted on a “pin” oak tree.  I suspect that the tree was a willow oak in that the long leaves of the willow oak often confuse people who have heard of the Pin Oak which has deeply indented leaves and has a more traditional oak leaf shape.  The pin oak also has the bad habit of keeping its leaves on most of the winter.  In other words you will have to rake leaves all winter long.

I put up my trap last night with no Tanglefoot on itsee more

December 17, 2017 Sunday
Looks like we will get a little rain over the next few days.  We need it, as we are in a drought which is not good for trees and shrubs going into dormancy.

December 13, 2017 Wednesday
Yesterday, the cities contract crew banded about 1/2 of the city trees along Queens Road West.  This morning about 10:30 am I took this photo.  It was windy and this is not the entire trap, but here within 24 hours there are a significant number of leaves in the trap.  Please note that there are a lot of leaves on the ground and invariably the city will send out a bunch of leaf blowers in a few days and really blow the leaves up on the trap.

leaves reduced on trap qrw day after


On the way back down the road, I saw that a lawn care crew was just finishing up cleaning a rather large yard,  There were three men with blowers and they did a really good job of getting the lawn clear of leaves. You can see them in the background in this first photo below.  The cankerworm trap is ruined.   see below

Hold off a few days from putting up your cankerworm traps and watch out for the leaf blowers.

It’s not just leaves, it is dust and other debris that clogs up the glue on the trap.  Look closely and you will see what I mean.   These traps have to stay on the trees until mid April ...4 months.

wio 3 reduced blowers qw ruined trap

December 12,2017 Tuesday
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get the traps up.  I see city traps with tanglefoot full of leaves already.  In much of Charlotte, the trees still have lots of leaves.  There are more details on the cankerworm page.  The cold front should arrive tomorrow and that has delayed the real cold that we need to bring them out to crawl up the trunk.  more on cankerworms
December 10, 2017 Sunday  
The temperature only dropped to 28 last night; I expected 26.  I started thinking about the cold weather coming and all the other things I needed to do this Christmas Season.  About 3:00 Am after a good sleep I woke up and realized I had not protected several outside faucets.  One in the back yard is a copper pipe that stands up from the ground about 24 inches.  If it freezes and burst, it is a pain to fix.  Fortunately, I know a little about soldering copper, and if I were to not take care of this I know I would have a broken pipe.

At the same time I have 3 hoses in the front and back yard each of which has a spray nozzle.  If they are drained they are not affected by the cold, but if there is water inside them they will break.  I gathered the faucets up also and went back to bed and slept

December 6, 2017

The leaves are flying from the trees, and with the coming cold front and wind, I think most of the trees will be rid of their leaves soon.  If you are doing the banding yourself you should put the bands up now, but do not put Tanglefoot or other sticky material on the band. (see more on banding).

When I used to rake my yard, I realized that it would take about 100 leaf bags to clean up all the leaves.  It  did not matter if I raked leaves once a week during the leaf falling time, or if I raked once a month, or waited until the end  of the season, it always took about 100 bags.  I have fewer willow oaks now, but my neighbors might not.  All of these leaves came from one yard.

 Sixty Three ( 63) Bags of leaves from one residential yard on QRW.

   63 wio reduced leaf bags on Queens Road West Dec 5,17


December 2, 2017 Saturday
It will several more days before we see female cankerworms start climbing the trees.  The 10 day
forecase for Charlotte shows us getting into the 25 and 28 degree range by Saturday December 9th.  Shortly after that I would expect to see some activity. There are certain areas around Charlotte that are not as affected by the heat of the city, and they might experience colder temperatures sooner than we do.  I have several people who report when they see cankerworm activity and that is a big help to all of us. I still see lots of trees loaded with leaves.

wio big reduced to 4%

Big Willow Oak

 I photographed this large willow yesterday (Friday Dec first), and as you can see there are many leaves to still fall.  At the same time a light wind was blowing leaves out of the trees, and we are expecting rain soon.  If that is the the case then certainly on large trees the leaves will fall, and it would be ok to put up traps  I is ok to put the band on the tree now, but do not put the sticky material on until we 3 good cold days.

Personally I would wait a few days to put Tanglefoot on because I always put a very thin 1/2 inch band on my lone large tree and will not put up the remaining tanglefoot until I see modest activity. 

I also recognize that lots of people hire tree companies to put up the Bug Barrier trap and the way it is made to shield the glue this trap can be put up earlier than the traditional Tanglefoot trap. There are other reasons I don't care for the Bug Barrier trap and you can read about that here.

November 3, 2017  Thursday Thanksgiving Day

    It is close to the cankerworm migration up the trees.  I read an article a couple of days ago in the Charlotte Observer that this week and next were the appropriate time to band trees for cankerworm. 

    I take issue with that because the willow oaks are loaded with leaves.  We need a good rain, and wind to rid the trees of leaves.  Back when cankerworms first became a problem after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the timing for putting up cankerworm traps was about Thanksgiving.  Each year it seems to start later and now is later in December.   See this link

     It takes a good Hard Freeze to get  the cankerworms crawling.  What that means is that it needs to be 27 degrees F. or cooler for about 3 days in a row to get the female canker worms moving.

    If you band too soon you will have a lot of leaves captured in the Tanglefoot.  If you use other products that protect the sticky stuff you are probably ok.  The wind will tend to blow leaves under the Bug Barrier trap.  Actually the other day I heard about 6 leaf blowers all making tremendous noise at the same time.  There were 3 going two houses down from me and a like number up the street.  I had to put on a head phone like ear protectors just to work in the yard.

    Leaf blowers are really bad about blowing up leaves on to the cankerworm traps.  It might be the operator who is careless, but in general if you put up a trap too early, the leaf blowers will ruin the trap.

    Every year I watch the city band trees on the median of Queens Road West. A day or so later, the city or their contractor comes by and blows up so many leaves that the traps are covered.  I will post a photo here later. 

  1. November 18, 2017  Saturday
    I am up and running at last.  Just in time for the fall cankerworms it appears.  Presently I am in Rochester New York.  It is amazing how different the trees are here. It is especially obvious as we drive along the highway.  I have been interested in the oak trees.  They are in the process of turning from their fall colors to a blend of just brown.  Conspicuously, the white oak are just brown,  A few Scarlet oaks have retained their fall color.  The Scarlet oak is one we don’t often see in the Charlotte area.  Mostly we have willow oaks, white oaks, some Northern red oaks, water oaks, Southern Red oak ( this one’s leaf looks like a candle flame).  Lesser seen are the chestnut oak and some mossy cup oaks that probably came from seeds brought down by a  Dr. Tilley a dentist I think in about the 1930’s.  There are some of these original trees on 7th Street, and I went by and got some great examples of their acorns.  Photo here....soon.  The name is Querscus macrocarpa which means large cap.  I planted several of these over the years and one is on the property at Lake Norman Yacht Club. It is now about 50 feet tall and producing acorns for the past 10 yearsor so.  More on acorns later.
  2. November 14, 2017  Tuesday  (viewing on inspiron shows up on web most old potos on board .  Still have to merge text from dec 6th to end of the year.  Recover all photos and copy to Assets.
  3. November 06, 2017  Monday

    In case you landed here today, notice that it is exactly 11 months since I have been able to update this site.  It is far from done, but I will explain later.

              As you can see there  is an overlap here.  The data below is information I saved.  The total number                of canerworoms for the    

    February 22,2017 
    As of February 17th, I have not seen any more female cankerworms.  I do have some eggs on the trap where the male cankerworms were attracted to the stuck females.  We can expect these eggs and the eggs up in the trees to hatch in late March.  Keep your eyes opened and you will see small green worms on the traps.  Ten days later you should see some defoliation.
    February 17, 2017 Friday 3cw in TF today Total  248cw  post later
    February 16, 2017 Thursday  3cw in TF today Total  245cw  post later
    February 15, 2017 Wednesday 2cw in TF today Total  242cw  post later
    February 14, 2017 Tuesday 3cw in TF today Total  240cw  post later
    February 13, 2017 Monday  3cw in TF today Total  237cw  post later
    February 12, 2017 Sunday 4cw in TF today Total  234cw  post later
    February 11, 2017 Saturday 8cw in TF today Total  227cw  post later
    February 10, 2017 Friday 4cw in TF today Total  219cw
    February 9, 2017 Thrusday 3cw in TF today Total  215cw
    February 8, 2017 Wednesday 4cw in TF today Total  208cw
    February 7, 2017 Tuesday 3cw in TF today Total  204cw
    February 6, 2017 Monday 14cw in TF today Total  201cw
    This was a surprise to me.
    February 5, 2017 Sunday 5cw in TF today Total  187cw
    Go down and look at the Feb 3 comparison from total count for four months.  Note that this year almost to the end of the cankerworm migration I have counted 187 cws and in 2006 there were 5941 cankerworms trapped.  There will be a few more cws added in the remainder of the month, but not many.  That is almost 32 times more cws in 2006 than in 2017.
    February 4, 2017 Saturday 3cw in TF today Total  182cw
    Again all insects were from the shady side of the tree.  It also is pretty cold, below freezing.

    February 3, 2017
    Friday 4cw in TF today Total  179cw
    I did not it add to my message yesterday but today did go back through my records to 2006 which was the most cankerworms I counted.  Here is the breakdown....
    November 2006 =      26 female cankerworms trapped
    December 2006 = 1987
    January 2006 =     3901
    February 2006 =   27
    Total              =   5941

    February 2, 2017 Thursday 00cw in TF today Total  175cw
    I will write more about this later today.  I want to make some comparisons to previous years.  I find what we have seen this year in terms of the overall migration to be very abnormal.

    Today with 175 total cankerworms, how does this compare with earlier seasons.  In 2016 in early February, I had trapped
    February 1, 2017 Wednesday 4cw in TF today Total  175cw
    Early February last year (2016) we had over 700 cankerworms on the same tree and trap.  in early February of 2015 the total of cankerworms trapped was
    January 31, 2017 Tuesday 7cw in TF today Total  171cw
    Only 7 cankerworms today, that is a surprise.  On the last of January in
    January 30, 2017 Wednesday 20cw in TF today Total  164cw
    II have not checked my trap since January 25th.  I expected that there would be about 30 cankerworms a day.  The actual count was 20 cws and 150 would have been the number if my guess had been correct.  I also have noticed that the cankerworms have been coming up from the back side of the tree in this case, the shady side of the tree.  In the past that has been an indication that the migration was slowing down.
    January 25, 2017 Wednesday 32cw in TF today Total  144cw
    This is beginning to look normal but arrival of female cankerworms about a month late.  I am getting reports that the cws are out everywhere. 

    January 24, 2017 Tuesday  34cw in TF today Total 112 cw
    January 23, 2017 Monday 2cw in TF today Total 78 cw
    January 22, 2017 Sunday 4cw in TF today Total 76 cw
    Heavy rain last night My rain gauge which is glass froze and broke a week ago.  I was a little late gluing it back together last night.  It had been raining several hours when I replaced it and it registered 3.5 inches of rain early this morning.
    January 21, 2017 Saturday 9cw in TF today Total 72 cw
     Finally another normal day for cankerworm movement.  I counted 9 female cankerworms on the trap today.  I looked back over some historical figures.  In past years as the migration started, we would see days like this:  3,5,2,4,6,8 and then a few days up to 24.  One year on Christmas day, there were 100 cankerworms captured.  A few trees had 5000, to 8,000 insects for the entire season  read more
    January 20, 2017 Friday 13cw in TF today Total 63 cw
    It rained a little bit last night but not enough to wet the bark and I trapped 13 female cankerworms.  This seems to be more toward normal movement.  Still we have seen a very late start to the cankerwom migration.

    Also of interest, is that most of the city trees I have seen are showing few cankerworms.  I suspect that in certain parts of the town the numbers will much larger.
    January 19, 2017 Thursday 8cw in TF today Total 50 cw
    Well, finally what I would consider a normal day. Seeing 8 female cankerworms on the trap was a good sign.  Since I know they are moving in other parts of the city, I think we will see more favorable days ahead.
     January 18, 2017 Wednesday 0cw in TF today Total 42 cw
    Today there were no cankerworms on the trunk of my tree which surprised me since I thought they were moving upward on Tuesday the 17th.  I also checked the two street trees in front of my home and there were no cws on the first street tree and possibly one on the second tree.  I mashed it so there would be no carryover from today.
    January 17, 2017 Tuesday 4cw in TF today Total 42 cw  
    January 16, 2017 Monday 0cw in TF today Total 38 cw   This year by January 17th (2016 / 2017 we had caught 38 female cankerworms
    Last year 2015 / 2016 at this time, (January 17, 2015) I had trapped 655 cws. 
    In 2015/ 2016   the number of female cankerworms that were trapped were  cws
    January 16, 2017 Monday 0cw in TF today Total 38 cw

    At least today I have found that some other parts of the county are having a good bit of cankerworm activity.  The Highland Creek area as well as Concord are having a good bit of activity.  Concord has been pretty bad for several years.  Mint Hill was spotty last year and I  don’t know how that  is doing this season.
    January 15, 2017  Sunday    0cw in TF today Total  38 cw
    No cankerworms today.   I am mistified.
    January 14, 2017  Saturday    0cw in TF today Total  38 cw
    No Cankerworms today
    January 13, 2017   Friday       2cw in TF today Total   38
    Small number of cankerworms today and pretty warm too
    January 12, 2017   Thursday       6cw in TF today Total   36 cw
    I have had a number of cankerworms get through the Red & Tacky so I  will stop separating the two types of sticky material.   Note that my  total of 36 is not much different from the count I made on another large willow oak across the street yesterday.   I counted approximately 40  because it was hard to see under the trap.
    January 11, 2017   Wednesday     7cw in TF today, 2cw in RT     Total 30 cw
    The ice and snow are mostly gone, and there are cankerworms on the trap.   I did not have time to count them, but will do so later this morning.
    I attended the CIA (Charlotte Arborist Association) meeting last night  and the general consensuses is that the cankerworms either have not  started en mass yet except in a few isolated cases.   One person  mentioned that a trap directly across the street from me in an  individual’s yard was loaded with female cankerwormsl   I hustled across  the street about 8:00 and did count approximately 40 female cankerworms  in the trap.   This was a Bug Barrier trap, and it is hard to count the  numbers because they are on the inside of the trap and hard to see.
    Why the difference from the norm?   I really don’t have the answer, but this is a healthy willow oak that is growing in a bed of English Ivy.   Maybe the ivy insulates the ground from freezing and the worms started moving sooner that those trees that are on bare soil more or less void of any  mulch.
    I will explore this later.
    January 10, 2017   Tuesday     2cw in TF today, 1cw in RT     Total   21 cw
    January 9, 2017   Monday     0cw in TF today, 0cw in RT     Total   18 cw
    Same as yesterday with ice and snow.   It is clearing from the grass.
    January 8, 2017 Sunday       0 cw in TF today, 0cw in RT     Total   18 cw
    Snow and Ice
    January 7, 2017       cw in TF today, 0cw in RT     Total   18 cw
      January 6, 2017       6cw in TF today, 1cw in RT     Total   18 cw
    Today it is in low 30 €™s and not suposed to get much warmer.   This has been a  strange seson, and I have had several comments about how late the season is this year.
    Below is an email I got from Jeff Peppard.   Jeff  was the one who used the Red & Tacky (RT an abbreviation I plan to  use more in the future).
    I haven't seen any females as of 01-05-17 after thousands last year.    Could we possibly have effected the life cycle or just not cold enough    this year yet.
    Also, I explained last year that the females are  too weak to get through the "red n tacky" grease. They don't get stuck  like Tanglefoot.   They   merely get the grease on their legs and fall to  the ground. I literally   had thousands on my oak fall last year.
    Strange season so far, but I'll hunt them buggers down.
    Jeff Peppard

    January 5, 2017                 2cw in TF today, 1cw in RT     Total   cw 11
    I realize that I will need to put up more Red & Tacky because it is pretty thin.  
    January 4, 2017             2 cw today     Total 8 cw
    January 3, 2017               0 cw today     Total 6 cw
    cankerworm bu 2We had 2 inches of rain here last night and the cankerworms did not care to come out and climb the trees.
    I did discover some insects that I have seen many times.   They are  colored exactly the same as the lichen on the tree trunk.   I looked them up and that is what the two photos below are.   It turns out the a  Lacewing larvae.   The cover them selves with dried bits and pieces of  the
    lichen for camouflage.   The move about and search for small insects like  aphids etc.   The two links below are very informative and have some  excellent photos plus a lot more detail than I have  provided.http://jimmccormac.blogspot.com/2010/11/lacewing-uses-lichen-camouflage.html
    Blog above identifies this as a camofloged lacewing larvae.
    January 2, 2017               5 cw today   Total 6 cw
    It might seem strange that there have only been six cankerworms so far  this year.   I do not know why.   There is speculation that it might be to the severe drought that we had during the summer of 2016.   The official record for Charlotte was 40 days without rain, but at my home I went  for another 20.   The storm that brought rain to parts of Charlotte after 40 days just happen to skirt my home.
    It would be logical to assume that the dryness killed lots of cankerworms  that breed in the ground, but I don €™t think that has anything to do with the late start.   Here is why, I happen to have an irrigation system for my yard and I also try to be conservative with water for the grass but I did keep things going through the drought and the cankerworms are just  as slow in my yard as they are on the street trees in front of my  house.
    January 1, 2017               0 cw     Total 1 cw
    Lots of rain last night and the bugs don €™t like rain or snow.
    December 31, 2017               1 cw     Total 1 cw

    To read information prior to December 31, 2017 click this link  Archive 1
    should go to Archive 2     I feel that there is some information missing so will make another Archive for the missing material  July 7 2018


 Charlotte, NC 28207
Phone: 704.618-6214