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Palm Beach Property Owners Chafe Under Tree Replacement Rule

Property owners in Palm Beach County, Fla. thought things were bad enough when thousands of trees were knocked over and destroyed when Hurricane Frances passed through town.

When the storm passed, residents knew they’d be paying thousands of dollars to have the downed trees removed.

So when county officials said local development ordinances required them to replace the trees in short order, at a cost of $250 to $300 each, they were flabbergasted.

“We just spent thousands of dollars to take trees out and now they want us to spend thousands of dollars to replant them? That’s ridiculous,” Al Grubow of the Boca Chase homeowners’ association told the Palm Beach Post. “I’ll fight it.”

The ruling hasn’t been overturned, but residents have wrested one concession from the county. Associations and individual home owners will be allowed to replace large trees with single, less expensive juvenile trees, instead of multiple small trees or single bigger ones as the rule formerly required.

And there’s one more bit of silver lining–many of the downed trees were listed as invasive under another county ordinance, and were to have been removed by 2012. Now hundreds of the invasive melaleuca, Brazilian pepper and schefflera trees have been removed years early by the hurricane.

Tree Experts Learn From Storms’ Aftermath

Tree experts are learning a thing or two as they survey damage from this year’s hurricane season in Florida.

Palms–which are native to the region–did quite well, with most surviving the storms. Other non-native species–like Australian pines and carrotwood trees–fell in large numbers.

The information was gathered by the city of Cape Coral in Lee County, which will share the data with the University of Florida, which is planning a more detailed survey of the southwestern portion of the state.

The university has already published several pamphlets that can help property owners and landscape workers prepare for hurricane-strength storms. One is titled “How to Minimize Wind Damage in the South Florida Garden” and includes advice on choosing wind-resistant species and on pruning trees to minimize wind damage.

The document is available at

Southwest Palms Have Sudden Crown Drop

The same fungus that causes black scorch is responsible for sudden crown drop, which will send the two-ton crown hurtling down into the street.

When the crown of a very large palm tree unexpectedly drops into traffic in Beverly Hills, then people start to take notice. There is a new disease that is attacking Canary Island date palms in the southwest and it’s particularly dangerous. The fungus responsible for the disease, Thielaviopsis paradoxa, enters through wounds in the trunk causing rot and decay in the interior of the trunk. Usually there are no signs on the exterior of the trunk, however there is still enough sound healthy tissue to keep the crown of leaves looking normal even though there isn’t enough structural strength to keep the crown attached for long. When the disease has advanced enough, the weight of the crown is too much and it simply snaps off. This is particularly dangerous because the crown and attached portion of the trunk can easily weigh a ton or more, and when they crash unexpectedly people have been killed. In Beverly Hills alone there are over a thousand Canary Island date palms. Fortunately, sudden crown drop rarely affects true date palms, the California fan palm or the queen palm. The disease can be controlled through prevention by limiting the use of chainsaws when trimming the “ball” just below the leaves. It is easy to knick the trunk or cut too deeply when using a chainsaw, therefore avoid using chainsaws altogether when trimming and pruning and check the trunk frequently for any damage.

For more information, contact Donald R. Hodel of the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles, California at:

SRW Installer Program Graduates 1,500

Herndon, Va. – The National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) has graduated over 1,500 segmental retaining wall installers during 58 installer-training programs since November 2003. Those completing the one-day course qualify to take the NCMA Level I SRW Installer Exam. Those obtaining a grade of 80% or higher on the multiple-choice exam are awarded a Certificate of Achievement.

The exam evaluates the installer’s understanding of structural capabilities
and limitations, soils and compaction, water and drainage considerations, and minimum installation requirements.

Upcoming SRW installer education programs are:

  • November 11, 2004: Philadelphia, Penn. Contact E.P. Henry Corporation, (856) 845-6200
  • December 8, 2004: Orlando, Florida. Contact Rockwood Retaining Walls Inc, (888) 288-4045
  • February 12, 2005: 2005 MCPX, Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact NCMA, (703) 713-1900

For more information on the SRW program, visit, or call (703) 713-1900.

“Gray Market” Machines Illegal

Kubota initiated legal action against distributors pedaling “gray market” machines in the U.S. because their reputation for selling high quality machinery was being adversely affected.

The International Trade Commission has ruled that it is illegal for importers to sell “gray market” machines, or machines that were developed for the international market, and customs officials have been notified to stop these machines at the border and not allow them to enter the United States. These machines are being shipped back into the U.S. and because they aren’t authorized for sale here, they do not have the full safety features required nor will they qualify for warranty under U.S. guidelines. This action was originally initiated by Kubota because the unauthorized importation, distribution and sale of Kubota “gray market” tractors by individuals and companies independent of Kubota adversely affected their reputation in the United States and with the United States consumer. The ITC affirmed an original finding by the Administrative Law Judge that the sale of these machines infringed on Kubota’s registered trademark. They issued a General Exclusion Order prohibiting further importation and issued various Cease and Desist Orders against various respondents. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Commission decision.

In addition, John Deere has had a similar difficulty. Third party representatives are selling Self-Propelled Forage Harvesters and Telehandlers originally designed for the European market to U.S. dealers, independent retailers and end-users. The gray market machines in question are designed with specific product features for the European market, making some parts and attachments unavailable in the United States. John Deere’s gray market machines are not built in the United States and also do not have warranty coverage or availability of parts or service. These machines are being imported back into the country without the authorization of John Deere. Both John Deere and Kubota value customer safety. Gray market machines, however, are not equipped with important safety equipment such as ROPS and seatbelt, PTO shield, safety decals or operators manual. Kubota has issued a set of tips to identify Gray Market tractors which are:

  • Model Number (refer to list on website)
  • No safety or operation labels are written in English.
  • If an Operator Manual is provided the model number on the face of the manual will differ from the model number on the tractor.
  • If a serial number plate is on the tractor, the information on the plate is written in Japanese.
  • The tractor may be equipped with Japanese rice paddy tires (much higher thread lugs than U.S. agricultural tires) and information on the tire is written in Japanese.
  • Some models have no over-running PTO clutch.

John Deere encourages its customers to work with their local John Deere dealer for the right product to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction, service and support. Kubota intends to continue its efforts to ensure that the Orders of the United States Government in this regard are fully enforced. If you have any questions, or require further information, please contact either or

Montclair, NJ Debates Contractor Signs

The Montclair, New Jersey township council held a community meeting in mid-September to debate the merits of an ordinance to ban contractor signs that dot residential properties undergoing work. The Star-Ledger of Essex County reported that some residents found the signs unsightly and considered them “billboards for contractors”; others felt it was an inconsequential concern. Contractors, for their part, said the signs showed pride in their work, a kind of oversized business card. Contractors also felt the signs helped homeowners looking for reputable contractors.

After hearing testimony from the contractor community and others, the council unanimously rejected the ordinance. It was agreed, however, that the signs be set back at least 10 feet from the property line, not be larger that six square feet, and be removed when the work was completed.

Mayor Ed Remsen said he expected the contractors to honor the sign requirements.

Pavestone Hosts ICPI Courses

The Pavestone Company is hosting several ICPI Certification courses from September to January 2005, with some in Spanish. These two-day courses are aimed at company owners, job superintendents, forepersons, supervisors and crew leaders. The following topics are included: basic material estimating, paver installation, job layout, soil classification, documenting job costs, soil compaction, base material compaction, edge restraints and bedding sand. For more information go to

Moment of Silence . . .
Chester Halka, Sr.
(1924 – 2004)

Halka Nurseries, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is mourning the founder, Chester Halka Sr., who passed away Sept. 11 at the age of 80 at the Monroe Village Healthcare Center in New Jersey.

Halka Nurseries is one of the few farmers of mature trees in the U.S., with tens of thousands of trees on on1,250-acres in Millstone, New Jersey and thousands of others on a farm in Cumberland County. His trees are planted all over the country, including at the White House and on the grounds of the Statue of Liberty.

Mr. Halka, born in South River, New Jersey, was a resident of Millstone the last 38 years. He served in the Army during WW II in the South Pacific. He received lifetime achievement awards from the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Halka enjoyed traveling and the polka.

He had three brothers and four sisters. Two sisters, Irene Livak and Sally Masley, survive him. He also leaves behind his wife, Elsie Halka; a son and daughter-in-law, Chet Jr. and Bonnie; a daughter and son-in-law, Jan and Thomas Waters; and nine grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Fox Chase Cancer Center, 7701 Burholme Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111. Source: Asbury Park Press of New Jersey

Rain Bird Supports Fire Reforestation Efforts

On July 17, Trees for Mt. Lemmon planted approximately 400 ponderosa pine and Douglas fir seedlings in efforts to reforest private land damaged in last summer’s Aspen Fire near Tucson. Each tree was planted with two one-quart cartons of Rain Bird irrigation supplement. Rain Bird has donated 800 quarts of the supplement, a time-released water in gel form that aids in establishing native plant material where permanent irrigation is not available. Its use increases survival rates of transplants by providing continuous moisture for an extended period of time.

Trees for Mt. Lemmon will also plant an additional 400 trees that will be watered by permanent irrigation.

“We’re happy to be able to play a role in the reforestation efforts at Mt. Lemmon,” said Gurmeet Singh, Rain Bird product manager. “It’s very gratifying to be able to reach out to our local community.”

Dallas Steps up Sensor Requirements

The city of Dallas has increased water ordinance requirements for automatic irrigation systems. It is now mandatory that all systems, including existing systems, have both rain and freeze sensors installed prior to Jan. 1. Previously, any system installed in 2002 or later was required to have the devices. In making this ruling, Dallas Water Utilities cited both increased water savings and reduced repairs due to freezing. The utility recommends homeowners contact an irrigation professional to determine if their system is in compliance and, if not, to make the necessary upgrades. As an incentive, Dallas will offer rebates to help offset a portion of the cost of retrofitting the system to bring it into compliance. A homeowner will receive a water bill credit of up to $50 if the unit is installed by a professional. If a homeowner elects to make the installation themselves, the city will provide a free rain and freeze sensor.

Source: The Irrigation Association

Georgia Adopts Water Use Schedules

Beginning this summer, Georgia residents must follow outdoor water use schedules during drought and non-drought periods. The State Board of Natural Resources adopted new rules designed to get Georgians to continuously manage outdoor water use. “Population growth, combined with inevitable periods of drought, makes water conservation more important than ever,” says Carol Couch, director of the Environmental Protection Division. Water providers must begin enforcing the new rules by Aug. 1. Some local governments will begin enforcement immediately, while others must adopt new ordinances to implement and enforce the rules. Local jurisdictions are free to adopt more stringent requirements. Under current conditions, the non-drought schedule for outdoor water use will be in effect statewide. Should conditions worsen, outdoor water restrictions would increase for each of four levels of declared drought. Restrictions range from daily time limits to a total ban on outdoor water use.

Under the non-drought schedule, people with odd-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and those with even-numbered or unnumbered addresses may water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. There are no mandatory hourly limitations.

Source: The Irrigation Association.

California Water Bill Could Spawn Urban Irrigation Rules

California Assemblyman John Laird (D--Santa Cruz) introduced the urban water conservation bill that passed on Aug. 17. The legislation was sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority.

California legislators have approved a measure that could pave the way for more restrictive irrigation rules. Called Assembly Bill 2717, the legislation directs the state’s water advisory council to draw up a list of water-saving steps, which could be implemented at a later date.

“We’re looking for more efficient use of irrigation water,” said Clyde Macdonald, a staff member for Assemblyman Laird. The bill directs the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) to explore water-saving steps that could force irrigation in urban landscape settings to meet more efficient standards.

Literature supplied by Laird’s office suggests the council look at standards for irrigation equipment, water budgets for irrigated landscapes, training standards and price incentives.

Macdonald said the council would focus on automated sprinkler control and grading standards to minimize runoff. Significant savings to the state’s limited water supply would be the payoff if basic rules to limit runoff were enforced, he said.

“Every evening you can float a kayak down the gutter,” observed Macdonald about his Sacramento neighborhood. “People don’t take into consideration how much water runs off the lawn and straight down the gutter.”

Landscape contractors, architects, and maintenance supervisors are invited to join the council and offer input.

More information is available at or by calling Assemblyman Laird’s office at (916) 319-2027.

Arizona Supreme Court Rules on Water Rights

A recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling gives the Arizona Department of Water Resources flexibility in how it imposes water conservation mandates.

The court ruled that the state water resources department can require regional water providers to meet water conservation standards rather than imposing conservation programs directly on water users. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 1990 by the Arizona Water Co., which said it was put in a bind between conflicting mandates to encourage conservation by the water resources department and to meet customers’ needs by the Arizona Corporation Commission. The water provider argued it was up to the water resources department to create and implement programs to encourage end-users to conserve.

A lower court had agreed with Arizona Water Co., but the state Supreme Court ruled in June that the water resources department was acting within the state’s 1980 groundwater law when it set conservation standards for the provider, expecting the provider to encourage its customers to conserve.

Source: The Irrigation Association.


1949 – Year the Irrigation Association was established.

1990 – Year the Irrigation Association’s water conservation policy was adopted.

Source: The Irrigation Association

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June 27, 2019, 2:04 am PDT

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