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Port Chester Puts Arbor Day Grant to Work

event flyer

The Village of Port Chester in the Town of Rye in Westchester County recently wrapped up its Arbor Day Kick-Off Event, funded in part by an Arbor Day Grant from the NYSUFC. Port Chester Mayor’s Office, Department of Public Works, and Department of Planning & Economic Development organized the replanting of trees on the median of Haines Boulevard where a monoculture of pin oaks had succumbed to oak wilt.

The grant from the NYSUFC helped pay for the 20 replacement trees, which include ornamental cherry and pear and Japanese maples. The smaller-stature trees are more suitable for the space they’re afforded in the median, and the flowering ones have the added benefit of providing beauty in spring. The Village diversified the planting palette to create more biodiversity that will help avoid tree losses from diseases and insects in the future.

In order to generate interest in the event, Village staff canvassed every property along Haines Boulevard to speak with residents and invite them to the Arbor Day Kick-Off. The Westmore News was invited to attend the event along with the Village of Port Chester Board of Trustees, Village Beautification Commission, and Village Parks Commission. Mayor Richard “Fritz” Falanka attended to say a few words about the event and help dig the first hole for the trees; Highway Department staff ably completed the task.

The event was a huge success, and has drummed up a lot of interest in beautification and the role of trees and landscaping in enhancing the aesthetics of the Village. The Village Board of Trustees has directed staff to take a more active approach in planting and replanting efforts throughout the Village. Further, the Village is soon to release an Owner’s Manual for Green Infrastructure, which will aid property owners and the Village in combining low-impact development efforts with planting practices that can better retain stormwater and reduce pressures on the Village’s gray infrastructure.

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NYSUFC Partners with NYSDEC to Award 2017 Arbor Day Project Grants

Photo by Pat Evens
Photo by Pat Evens

For the third consecutive year, the New York State Urban Forestry Council has partnered with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as the administrative and award mechanism for community Arbor Day grants (once known as “Quick Start” grants), providing a total of $10,000 in grant monies to conduct an Arbor Day tree planting program and ceremony. These grants may be up to $1,000 for communities to conduct a tree planting event on their Arbor Day. Applications are reviewed by a committee of Council board members by means of a competitive ranking review once the communities meet the grant requirements.

In 2015, 12 communities applied, and all 12 communities received a grant. In 2016, 35 communities applied, and 13 were granted funding. For 2017, 18 communities applied to the Council and the committee was able to award $10,810 in grant monies this year to 12 worthy communities.

Our congratulations to the communities that were selected for grants this year: the towns of Fishkill, Mt. Hope, Rush, and Grand Island; the villages of Lewiston, Port Chester, Champlain, Nunda, Attica, Fair Haven, and Cambridge; and the City of Niagara Falls. We look forward to doing blog posts about their successful Arbor Day celebrations and planting events.

Please congratulate anyone you know from those communities on their success and continue to encourage other communities to apply for the grant next year. Just remind them that they can’t already be a grant recipient, an Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA, or have any parts of the process to become a Tree City (such as a tree inventory or a management plan). This is because the Arbor Day grants are meant to help inexperienced communities begin to get involved in the exciting world of urban forestry! And please don’t forget to thank our partners at the DEC for sharing this opportunity with the Council. We really do appreciate their support and trust. Enjoy the green all summer! —Brian Skinner, Council Vice President 

UHI Research Conclusions: Scoop & Dump Soil Remediation Strategy

In their recent paper in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, “Long-Term Remediation of Compacted Urban Soils by Physical Fracturing and Incorporation of Compost,” study authors Miles Sax, Nina Bassuk, Harold van Es, and Don Rakow published their findings after twelve years of applied research. The technique, “Scoop & Dump Soil Remediation,” was introduced in a previous Council blog post about Urban Horticulture Institute research.

From the Urban Forestry and Urban Greening paper’s Abstract:

On the Cornell University campus a long-term study has measured the impacts of a soil remediation strategy on plant growth and soil quality using the Cornell Soil Health Test. The Scoop & Dump (S&D) process of soil remediation consists of physically fracturing compacted urban soils, incorporating large quantities (33% by volume) of compost with the use of a backhoe, and annually top dressing with mulch. This study was designed to investigate the impact of this remediation technique for the amelioration of compaction and degradation of soils in the urbanized environment.

From the Urban Forestry and Urban Greening paper’s Conclusion:

The authors found that the Scoop & Dump method of soil remediation showed improvement in soil quality indicators – bulk density, resistance, aggregate stability, potentially mineralizable nitrogen, active carbon and organic matter content – compared to unamended sites. Over a period of 12 years, soil quality indicators – bulk density, active carbon and potentially mineralizable nitrogen – improved over time showing long-term beneficial effects of using the Scoop & Dump Technique.

The application of the Scoop & Dump soil remediation strategy is an appropriate method for restoring soils damaged by heavy equipment, building construction and urbanization impacts. With minimal annual maintenance including the addition of shredded bark mulch, these improvements in soil quality are maintained or enhanced over time. This technique offers a practical, research-based tool for green industry professionals, arborists and landscape contractors and has a strong potential for improving soil quality using locally sourced materials and sustainable methods.

Citation:
Sax, M.S., Bassuk, N., van Es, H., Rakow, D., Long-Term Remediation of Compacted Urban Soils by Physical Fracturing and Incorporation of Compost, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening (2017),  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.03.023

Underutilized Trees for Urban Use: ‘Regal Prince’ Oak

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Foliage of Regal Prince oak ● Photo by itrees.com

Regal Prince is the trademark name for Quercus x warei ‘Long’, a narrow, upright hybrid of fastigiate English oak (Quercus robur f. fastigiata) and swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor). Its leaves are clearly intermediate in shape and are glossy and leathery like those of swamp white oak. In Ithaca, Nina Bassuk and Andy Hillman first planted Regal Prince in 2005, and the oaks have performed well there ever since.

Quercus bicolor x robur 'Regal Prince'
Regal Prince oaks alongside the main thoroughfare in Ithaca, New York. Photo by Nina Bassuk

“It’s a good tree for tight spaces—not a shade tree as such,” says Cornell Urban Horticulture Institute Director Bassuk. “It has the shape of the fastigiate English oak but is more tolerant of poor drainage and is mildew resistant, unlike Q. robur. It also tolerates a higher pH than does straight Q. bicolor. During last summer’s drought its foliage stayed green throughout so it appears both wet and dry tolerant (after establishment of course).”

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Meet New Tree Campus USA Keuka College and Drew Rojek

Keuka College Tree Campus USA
Keuka College Grounds Manager Drew Rojek proudly accepts recognition for Keuka’s first year as a Tree City USA.

Drew Rojek has been the Keuka College Grounds Manager for just over a year. With Rojek’s leadership, the College recently celebrated its first year as a Tree Campus USA, one of just 22 in the state of New York. Originally from Buffalo, Rojek lives in Canandaigua with his wife Dana and two daughters—Ava, 4, and Lainey, 18 months.

Drew and wife Dana
Drew and his wife Dana live in Canandaigua with their two kids.

Rojek received his BS in Biology from Gannon University in Erie, PA, and his Master of Landscape Architecture from Morgan State University (MSU) in Baltimore, MD. While pursuing the latter, he worked on the grounds department of MSU and after graduation worked for a design-build company as an LA doing mostly residential design work.

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SCA and NYRP Partner Up for 2017 Earth Day in NYC

Making native plant seed balls
Volunteers of all ages made native plant seed balls for distribution across the five boroughs of NYC. All photos courtesy Student Conversation Association

On the 47th Annual Earth Day on April 22, 2017, New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and young people from the Student Conservation Association (SCA), in its 60th year, teamed up in Riverbank State Park in Manhattan to help “ConSERVE” New York City. Together they gave away 250 native trees—like tulip poplar, serviceberry, and black tupelo—to NYC residents. Seven hundred volunteers came out to give away trees, make native seed balls to be planted throughout the city, make recycled seed starters, conduct field research, and paint and assemble boards for park benches.

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2016 Annual Council Report Now Available!

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The Council’s 2016 Annual Report is now available! Please help us circulate this document that tells the story of the NYSUFC’s many accomplishments in 2016.

Our annual report serves many functions including defining mission and enumerating goals and then showing how those have been pursued and achieved. It creates a historic record for the Council and is a fact-filled, handsomely designed and illustrated deliverable that can be shared with constituents, stakeholders, partners, and policy-makers.

Please distribute far and wide to anyone who may be interested in hearing about the Council’s work!

Cheers,
David Moore
NYSUFC President
david.moore@parks.nyc.gov

Another Joyful Tree City/Tree Campus/Tree Line USA Awards Event

Beacon Tree City USA
Celebrating Beacon’s 20th year as a Tree City USA! (from left) NYSDEC Urban Forestry Program Assistant Mary Martin, City of Beacon Highway Superintendent Reuben Simmons Jr., DEC Region 3 Senior Forester George Profous, and NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg.

For the NYS urban and community forestry community, the annual Tree City/Tree Campus/Tree Line USA awards ceremony is always something delightful to look forward to in the last throes of winter. In 2017 it was held on March 30 in Albany and honored 115 Tree Cities statewide, 22 Tree Campuses, and 5 Tree Line Utilities. More than 130 people  from all 9 DEC regions attended, making it the most attended awards celebration yet.

Thank you to NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg for her help with this pictorial of highlights from the event. 

program

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The Red Hook Way: Town & Village Urban Forest Management Plans

Village Green and the Red Hook Town Tree Commission are pleased to share these urban forest management plans. Longtime Red Hook environmental advocate Brenda Cagle shares some background with us. 

Red Hook Town cover to use
The Town of Red Hook Forestry Management Plan is an example of a volunteer-created plan for a small community (pop. 8240). The Red Hook Town Tree Commission created the plan in 2013 after the completion of a street tree inventory conducted by the Hudson Valley Specialized Weekday Arborist Team (SWAT) and funded by a NYSDEC Cost-Share Grant. This plan is very readable and informative. Colorful and inspiring pictures are sprinkled throughout and keep the reader’s attention. In addition to guidelines for budgeting, planting, maintenance and outreach, the plan includes the entire street tree inventory, a master tree list, tree planting instructions, and a resource page.

Red Hook Village cover

The Village of Red Hook Forestry Management Plan (2004) is an another example of a volunteer-created plan for a small community (pop. 1961). In September, 2003, a street tree inventory was conducted by what was then called the Cornell Community Forestry Outreach Team. Village Green, the Village of Red Hook’s tree committee, created the forestry management plan the following spring. Some of the inventory findings—such as the lack of species diversity and the need for immediate maintenance or professional consultation—formed the basis of the plan. The Village used the plan to prioritize tree maintenance work and make informed planting choices. A second street tree inventory, funded by NYSDEC Cost-Share Grant dollars, was conducted in 2009. The results showed greater species diversity and lower maintenance needs, illustrating the value of having and plan and following it. This Village of Red Hook Plan would be most useful to those who have recently completed an inventory.