A monthly e-newsletter from UMass Extension for landscapers, arborists, and other Green Industry professionals. To read individual sections of the message, click on the section headings below to expand the content: Hot Topics UMass Garden Calendar Photo Contest Ever take a great garden photo and think “this would be perfect for the UMass Garden Calendar?” We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting photos submitted by the public. Submissions will be judged by the calendar team at UMass Extension and may earn a spot in the 2019 Garden Calendar. For more information visit the Garden Calendar page. Ticks are active at this time! Remember to take precautions when working outdoors and to conduct daily tick checks. The UMass Amherst Laboratory of Medical Zoology tests ticks for Lyme Disease and other tick-borne pathogens. Visit the Tick Report website for more information. Special Report: Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards Information for Massachusetts Tree Wardens The ANSI Z-133 is the safety standard of the tree care industry for both commercial and municipal entities. While the Z-133 standard stands alone, it does work in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Section 5(a)(1) of that Act reads, “Each employer - (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” Section 5(a)(1) is a general duty clause that recognizes a consensus standard. The Z-133 is the consensus standard for the tree care industry. This basically means that although the ANSI standard is not a law, all tree care industry employers must comply with the standard or risk being cited by OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 excludes all units of government, but this does not mean that government agencies can ignore safety standards. First, in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Labor has mandated that municipal agencies comply with the federal standards. Second, if a workplace accident occurs, the municipal agency may be held liable. In the case of a tree care accident, the Z-133 standard will be used as a baseline in the investigation, which means that government agencies should follow the requirements. In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Labor recognizes the Z-133 for both commercial and municipal tree work. In December of 2015, there was a workplace injury when a municipal employee cut his finger with a chainsaw. He had to miss some work and filed a workers compensation claim. The compensation claim is what triggered the municipality to be contacted by the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS). They were contacted in February of 2016 and were issued a “Written Warning and Order to Correct” by the DLS. Below are several of the documents produced as part of the corrective action as well as the original written report by DLS. The main point is that DLS wants municipalities to be consistent with their training programs. In this case, the town did have documentation of safety training sessions for the past five years, but this was a new employee (1.5 months on the job) who had not completed all the same training sessions as the other employees. The town now has a packet that is given to every new employee and then each one enters the training program with everyone else. The MA Dept. of Labor inspector also mentioned that DLS was specifically interested in monitoring municipal forestry operations, and inspectors would be targeting municipal tree crews for random inspection and observation. However, the town that was inspected has not had any of these done since this incident. It truly is all about training, documentation, and consistency. The DLS is looking for written policies that were not in place at the time of the incident. Citation: MARCH 18, 2016 Town of XXXX, Department of Parks Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 149, §§ 6, 6 1/2 and 454 CMR 25.00, it is the responsibility of the Department of Labor Standards (“DLS”) to investigate occupational hazards in the workplace, to recommend controls to reduce such hazards, and to assist counties municipalities and state agencies to ensure compliance with applicable workplace safety and health laws, regulations, and recognized industry standards. On December 17, 2015, a Town of XXXX, Department of Parks arborist suffered a laceration and open fracture of the index finger of his left hand while working to remove a sizeable tree. Working as part of a crew on an overcast and rainy day, the worker was limbing the tree from a height of approximately seventy-five feet in a 2015 Terex XT 60/70 Pro aerial lift truck while using a Husqvarna 346XP, fully equipped, professional logging chainsaw. According to the worker, and those who investigated the matter within the department, the worker attempted to engage the chain brake with his left hand. He further claimed that wet gloves may have caused his hand to slip from the chain brake facilitating contact with the turning chain resulting in the injury. Chainsaw basics teach that there are two ways to engage the chain brake: by pushing the handle forward with a closed fist or a roll of the backhand, or by force of inertia that occur when the saw kicks back. Grabbing the top of the chain break exposes the hand/fingers to the chain. Subsequently, on February 17, 2016, DLS met with and interviewed the Town of XXXX Department of Parks personnel (“Respondents”) and the Town of XXXX Safety & Health Training Manager to discuss and determine the facts of the incident. DLS also has offered voluntary safety and health technical assistance services of the Respondent’s facilities at a mutually convenient time. DLS identified conditions which place employees at risk of work-related injury or illness, and issues this Written Warning and Order to Correct to the Respondent to correct those conditions in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws and Federal Regulations, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Section 5(a)(1), 29 CFR 1910, and 29 CFR 1926. (Respondent is advised to apply DLS corrective actions and recommendations as appropriate to all work locations.) Recommendations may also be provided to prevent work-related injuries at this site and are based on nationally recognized standards. Respondent is advised to apply DLS corrective actions and recommendations as appropriate to all work locations, as well. CONDITIONS REQUIRING CORRECTIVE ACTION Item No. 01 Correction Due Date: APRIL 22, 2016 Condition: During the DLS investigation with Town of XXXX Department of Parks personnel (“Respondents”), no evidence was presented to demonstrate that workers were currently trained in recognition and avoidance of unsafe chainsaw and tree work conditions, nor in the regulations or town policies and procedures applicable to their work environment to control or eliminate hazards and exposures to risks. Specifically, documentation of: 1) Written city policies and procedures specific to tree work; 2) Check lists used on a regular basis to assist in full tree and aerial lift work compliance; 3) Worker training documentation for affected workers in the dangers of such work and the appropriate, fully compliant ways of performing such work safely; and 4) Procedures for the use of town-owned chainsaw and aerial lift and equipment . Massachusetts General Law: MGL c. 149, § 6 Recognized Industry Standards: 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2) – Safety Training and Education; ANSI Z133 – Safety Standard for Arboricultural Operations Corrective Action Required: Secure, provide and document (or provide evidence of) suitable tree work training for those assigned to tree work operations. Training must be comprehensive, all inclusive and include effects of impact with felled trees including key engineering controls and work practices such as: CHAINSAWS The blades can cut you. Chainsaws are heavy and can cause a back injury. Noise from the chainsaws can cause hearing loss. Chainsaws can kick back and cause an injury. Vibration from the chainsaw can cause numbness and injuries to your muscles, nerves, or tendons (sometimes called “ergonomic” injuries) Flying debris can cause an eye injury TREE FELLING Limit access/set up controlled access zones During trimming, keep non-essential response and recovery workers at least 20 feet beyond expected drop zones during trimming During felling, designate work area so that trees cannot fall into an adjacent occupied work area. Adjacent occupied work areas should be at least two tree lengths from the tree being felled (allow more if it is reasonably foreseeable that the tree might roll or slide) Always plan a clear path of retreat before cutting Determine the felling direction and how to deal with forward, back, and/or side lean Determine the proper hinge size to safely guide the tree in its fall If tree is broken and under pressure, make sure you know which way the pressure is going. If not sure, make small cuts to release some of the pressure before cutting up the section Be careful of young trees that other trees have fallen against; they act like spring poles and can propel back If you have to cut a dead tree, be careful: the top could break off If possible, avoid felling trees into other trees or objects; branches and objects may get thrown back toward the tree cutter The investigation yielded that most/many of the department personnel are likely well vetted and trained, although said training may not be all inclusive and is not well documented. As you know, many programs are available for training and/or refresher training. One, for example, permits one or more key employees at a given organization to become certified tree care safety experts, thereby empowering and encouraging a culture of safety within that organization. CIVIL PENALTY Failure to comply with the requirements set forth in this Written Warning and the corrective measures set forth in the associated Order to Correct within the period of time specified may result in the issuance of a civil citation with monetary penalties and other civil penalties as provided by law, pursuant to MGL c. 149, § 6. Proof of Corrective Action: Submit to DLS documentation that employees have been well trained in appropriate chain saw and tree care operations. Subject: Forestry Operations Safety Policies and Procedures The Town of XXXX Forestry Division hereby adopts the American National Standards Institute Z133 Safety Requirements for Arboricultural Operations as the official City policy for forestry operations. All work practices conducted by the Forestry Division will abide by the safety recommendations provided in the most current edition of this standard. This includes but is not limited to the following provisions: Section 5.2: Aerial Devices Section 5.3: Brush Chippers Section 6.3: Chain Saws Section 8.2: Pruning and Trimming Section 8.5: Tree Removal Written Certification of Workplace Hazard Assessment This is to certify that XXXX Forestry Division has evaluated Forestry Division Operations on 3/21/16 in order to determine if PPE is required and, if so, what specific type is required. (PPE required for this operation or work area is continued on page 16) Examples of PPE required for this operation or work area: PPE Required Specific Type Hazard (protection against) Eye/Face Protection Safety Glasses Debris Head Protection Class E Helmet Impact/low voltage conductors Foot Protection Safety shoes with impact protection Dropped objects Protective Clothing Cut resistant leg protection Chainsaw cuts Hearing Protection Min. 23 decibel noise reduction rating Noise exposure Fall Arrest Harness Full body harness with shock absorbing lanyard Fall from height Subject: Forestry Safety Training Policies and Procedures The Town of XXXX Forestry Division shall utilize the TCI “Tailgate Safety: Manual for Job Site Safety Meetings, 6th edition” published by the Tree Care Industry Association as a safety training program for forestry staff. All new employees will complete the following sessions at a minimum before performing work for the Forestry Division: Session 12: Chainsaw Selection and Maintenance Session 13: Chainsaw Use and Safety Session 19: Brush Removal and Chipping Session 40: Aerial Equipment and Electrical Hazards Session 47: Tree Removal Additional training will be provided on an on-going basis utilizing the “Tailgate Safety” program as well as other sources of training materials. (Signed) XXXX, Town Arborist Conclusion It is the responsibility of all tree care managers, commercial or municipal, to be knowledgeable about all local, state and federal laws, rules, and regulations as they apply to tree work. This would include, but not be limited to, the OSHA, the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations. There will be an updated new Z-133 2017 being released this fall. Every municipality should get and review a copy. H. Dennis Ryan, MCA, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Arboriculture & Community Forestry Questions & Answers Q: I had powdery mildew on my peonies and bee balm last summer. What can I do to prevent it next year? A: Powdery mildew is common on many herbaceous perennials in Northeastern gardens. The disease is characterized by a distinctive white to gray, powdery growth which typically appears on the upper surfaces of leaves and makes plants unsightly. Lower leaf surfaces, stems, and/or flowers may also be affected. The disease is caused by several species of fungi, all of which have a similar appearance. While powdery mildews are seldom fatal, plants may be weakened by the loss of photosynthetic tissue, particularly if infection is chronic. Some species of powdery mildew are not capable of overwintering in the Northeast, and arrive each summer on winds that bring spores up from the south. Other species form cleistothecia, thick-walled structures resembling tiny peppercorns. Cleistothecia survive the winter and produce spores when spring arrives. Once established on plant leaves, powdery mildews produce abundant spores that are dispersed by wind and will continue to spread the disease as long as conditions are right. High humidity is conducive to the growth and spread of powdery mildews. Optimum temperatures generally fall in the range of 60-80°F (15-27°C), but can vary widely according to fungal species. Each powdery mildew species has a particular host range, which is typically limited to members of one or two plant families. Almost all herbaceous perennials are susceptible to at least one species of powdery mildew. The limited host range has some bearing on the spread of a particular species. For instance, Golovinomyces monardae, a species that affects bee balm, can also be found on oregano, thyme, and lemon balm, but does cannot cause disease on any plants outside of the mint family. The most important thing you can do before the snow flies is to clean up the yard and garden. Sanitation is very important for powdery mildew management, especially those species that produce cleistothecia. Remove all infected plant debris from the garden or landscape. In the spring, consider pruning, thinning, or dividing dense plantings This will increase air circulation and decrease humidity. Remove weeds which also contribute to humidity and may also harbor powdery mildew. Diversify your plant selections and avoid planting large blocks of susceptible species or cultivars. Plant disease tolerant or resistant cultivars when available. Unfortunately there are no powdery mildew-resistant peonies available yet, but there are a number of tolerant/resistant cultivars of bee balm, including ‘Marshall’s Delight’, ‘Cambridge Scarlet’, and ‘Blaukranz’. Cultural controls such as these can go a long way towards powdery mildew management. Fungicides are generally not recommended for control of this disease on herbaceous ornamentals in the landscape; however, some products based on horticultural oils or potassium bicarbonate are labeled for use. Angie Madeiras ,UMass Extension Plant Pathologist Trouble Maker of the Month Glyphosate: Review of research related to risks Green industry professionals are most likely aware that in early 2015, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated the potential carcinogenic risks to humans of several pesticides, including glyphosate. After that meeting the IARC panel classified glyphosate in Category 2A (note: red meat is also included in Category 2A). This finding was rather surprising as glyphosate has a long history of safe use. In evaluations spanning four decades, the overwhelming conclusion of experts worldwide has been that glyphosate, when used according to label directions, does not present an unreasonable risk of adverse effects to humans, wildlife or the environment. The United States scientific research and regulatory communities strongly disagreed and were suspicious of the IARC’s classification of glyphosate. These groups believed that IARC overlooked decades of thorough and science-based analysis by regulatory agencies around the world and selectively interpreted data to arrive at its classification. No regulatory agency in the world considers glyphosate to be a carcinogen. Since IRAC’s classification of glyphosate, regulatory agencies have reviewed all the key studies examined by IARC – and many more – and arrived at the overwhelming consensus that glyphosate poses no unreasonable risks to humans or the environment when used according to label instructions. Regulatory authorities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have publicly reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the oldest permanent specialized agency of the United Nations. In May of 2016, the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) concluded that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.” In an attempt to better understand how IARC arrived at such an inconsistent conclusion, the primary manufacturer of glyphosate retained a scientific consultant to convene an expert panel to review IARC’s assessment. The charge to this panel of experts was to take a thorough look at the data in the monograph, assess the scope of the research included or excluded, and publish their conclusions to allow for external review. The panel concluded that “the data does not support IARC’s conclusion that glyphosate is a ‘probable human carcinogen’ and, consistent with previous regulatory assessments, further concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.” In October of 2017, Reuters reported on recent activities on the topic of glyphosate and IRAC’s classification. Below is a brief summary and a link for the full story published by Reuters. In Glyphosate Review, IARC Edited Out 'Non-Carcinogenic' Findings By Kate Kelland, Reuters. October 19, 2017 The World Health Organization’s cancer agency dismissed and edited findings from a draft of its review of glyphosate that were at odds with its final conclusion that the chemical probably causes cancer. Documents seen by Reuters show how a draft of a key section of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) assessment of glyphosate - a report that has prompted international disputes and multi-million-dollar lawsuits - underwent significant changes and deletions before the report was finalized and made public. Reuters found 10 significant changes that were made between the draft chapter on animal studies and the published version of IARC’s glyphosate assessment. In each case, a negative conclusion about glyphosate leading to tumors was either deleted or replaced with a neutral or positive one. For more information read the full report here. Randy Prostak, UMass Extension Weed Specialist Plant of the Month Hamamelis virginiana, American Witch-hazel American witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) also known as common witch-hazel is native to Eastern North America from Nova Scotia to Florida. It is hardy in zones 3 to 8. Hamamelis virginiana is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree with crooked, spreading branches. It typically grows to 15-20 feet tall and wide, but can reach 30 feet tall. The 3-6” leaves are alternate, broadly ovate, and have large wavy teeth on the margins. Leaves have a dark green upper surface and pale green lower surface. Fall color is beautiful shades of yellow. The fragrant flowers have four, bright yellow ribbon like petals and appear in clusters along the branches in late fall. Generally, American witch-hazel is the last woody plant to flower in the season, providing the only sign of color when other trees have dropped their leaves. The fruits are greenish seed capsules that mature to light brown and split open in fall of the following year. American witch-hazel grows best in moist well-drained soil but tolerates heavy clay soils. It performs best in full sun or part shade. Flower performance is best in full sun. Hamamelis virginiana is very suitable for naturalized areas and can be used in shrub borders or in woodland gardens American witch-hazel has no serious disease or insect problem but may occasionally develop galls on the bottom of the leaves caused by leaf gall aphid (Hormaphis hamamelidis). The galls are cone-shaped leading to these aphids being also referred to as “witch-hazel cone gall aphids”. The galls are unsightly, but they are usually not a significant problem. Witch-hazel tends to develop galls on the bottom of the leaves if planted near birch trees, which are the alternative host for the gall aphid. Geoffrey Njue, UMass Extension Floriculture Program Upcoming Events Landscape Safety Conference Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito? Removed an attached tick? Encountered a poisonous plant? Do you work with pesticides? If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, this Landscape Safety Conference is for you. This program will explore many topics that are important for landscapers, arborists, tree wardens, lawn care professionals, grounds managers, and essentially any professionals working in outdoor environments. UMass Extension and speakers from the MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology will come together to provide this day-long program. Topics include mosquito and tick prevention and safety; tick testing services provided by the Laboratory of Medical Zoology; poisonous plants you are likely to encounter and strategies to keep yourself safe; pesticide storage, transportation, and use safety; and PPE when working with pesticides. When: Tuesday February 6, 2018; 8:30am-3:30pm Where: Doubletree Hotel, Milford, MA Registration Other Upcoming Events: 1/8-2/16: UMass Winter School for Turf Managers 1/11: Greenhouse Management and Production for 2018 2/6: Landscape Safety Conference 2/21: Principles and Fundamentals of Weed Science 3/6: 39th Annual UMass Community Tree Conference: Ecological Perspectives of the Urban Forest For more information and registration for any of these events visit the UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program Upcoming Events Page. Additional Resources For detailed reports on growing conditions and pest activity – Check out the Landscape Message For commercial growers of greenhouse crops and flowers - Check out the New England Greenhouse Update website For professional turf managers - Check out Turf Management Updates For home gardeners and garden retailers - Check out home lawn and garden resources. UMass Extension also has a Twitter feed that provides timely, daily gardening tips, sunrise and sunset times to home gardeners, see https://twitter.com/UMassGardenClip Diagnostic Services A UMass Laboratory Diagnoses Landscape and Turf Problems - The UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab is available to serve commercial landscape contractors, turf managers, arborists, nurseries and other green industry professionals. It provides woody plant and turf disease analysis, woody plant and turf insect identification, turfgrass identification, weed identification, and offers a report of pest management strategies that are research based, economically sound and environmentally appropriate for the situation. Accurate diagnosis for a turf or landscape problem can often eliminate or reduce the need for pesticide use. For sampling procedures, detailed submission instructions and a list of fees, see Plant Diagnostics Laboratory Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing - The University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory is located on the campus of The University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Testing services are available to all. The function of the Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory is to provide test results and recommendations that lead to the wise and economical use of soils and soil amendments. For complete information, visit the UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory web site. Alternatively, call the lab at (413) 545-2311.