Blog

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

ac73eaf
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).”

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

2016 Annual Council Report Now Available!

2017-04-26 (2)

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

Read more…

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.

 

 

 

Meet NYC Parks Director of Street Tree Planting Navé Strauss

Nave Strauss
Navé Strauss has been director of street tree planting for NYC Parks since April 2016.

Can you tell us about your childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in urban forestry?
Navé Strauss: I grew up in suburban Long Island with a father who is an arborist. My parents are both strong advocates of being outside and enjoying nature, and my father’s profession supplemented my relationship with the outdoors, peppering it with knowledge of trees and insects by default. I never thought I would end up an arborist, and didn’t know I’d be leading an incredible tree planting program in my home city, but here I am and I’m extremely humbled by the opportunity to serve and share my experience, just as my father did and does with me.

Please tell us about your educational and career trajectories. 
NS: I graduated from St Lawrence University in Canton NY in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies and an emphasis in Forestry. I started as a forester with NYC Parks soon thereafter in early 2009 and have continued my trajectory ever since, becoming a senior forester in 2014 and then director of the street tree planting program as of April 2016.

What do you enjoy so far about your current position? What are some challenges?  
NS: I love the challenges themselves—the juxtaposition between the natural and built environs and the cultural diversity of the City that leads to many good conversations with residents who are passionate about trees—or about not having trees. In all, I enjoy the complexity of the tasks at hand, how they fold into our mission, and navigating the ship while learning from my superiors, peers, and staff.

What are a few things people might be surprised to know about street tree planting in NYC? 
NS: We plant over 150 unique cultivars of trees in our public rights-of-way on an annual basis! That is an insane number, and we are extremely proud of our accomplishments in helping to diversify the City’s urban forest.

What is your ultimate vision for the NYC street tree planting program? 
NS: To continue the upward arch of being the best street tree planting program in the world and to assure each and every New Yorker that every tree being planted is done so with every consideration in mind, even the ones they haven’t thought of (leave that to us). Finally, to know that each tree is set up to survive and thrive after our two-year establishment period has ended.

What are your interests in your free time?
NS: Cooking, reading, spending time with my loved ones, and playing guitar. I have many guitars, and I recognize that it’s a problem, but I am not ready to stop collecting.

Anything else you want to be sure to share?
NS: Talking to New Yorkers about the best slice of pizza is risky business—be prepared to hunker down and listen. Is it the sauce, the dough, the cheese, or the toppings? Many differ, even those who agree on politics.

Getting to Know the Multifaceted Rachel Holmes

RHolmes_Headshot_Nov2014NYSUFC Board Member Rachel Holmes is the coordinator of The Nature Conservancy’s urban forestry program called Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities. She is also a Flamenco dancer and a wildland firefighter (read on!). 

Can you tell us about your childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in urban forestry?
Rachel Holmes: I grew up in Clifton, New Jersey on a street that was lined with a diverse mix of mature trees that had been planted by a previous generation of homeowners. I remember riding my bike over heaved sidewalks and imagining that I was racing in a BMX course. When I was in fifth grade, the town decided to redo all the sidewalks. Rather than work around the trees, they took them all down! I actually went outside to yell at the men removing the trees. Concerned for my safety, my Mom actually took me away because I think she was afraid I would throw myself in between the workers and the trees.

I was driven away from my tree-lined street and came back to … nothing. It was a pretty painful experience and at the same time, a seminal moment in my appreciation of trees. Because I had been surrounded by trees in my early childhood, I knew what I was missing when they were taken down. It is important to me now to do what I can to help prevent other people from experiencing this.

The City replaced some of the trees with flowering pears, many of which came down in storms, including ours. A few years ago, I helped my parents pick out a good specimen of eastern redbud that is doing really well; my Mom and Dad frequently text me photos of it.

While I gained an early appreciation for urban nature, I was fortunate to experience what some would call the “wild” at a much bigger scale. Starting in sixth grade, I worked on my aunt and uncle’s ranch in Colorado, learning the ins and outs of ranch management including Western horsemanship. The ranch abutted Pike National Forest which is where I was first exposed to managed forests. This is also where I first witnessed the impacts of wildfire on forest ecosystems.

Read more…

Get to Know Him! Art Traver Edition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Council Board Member Art Traver. Photo by Paul Maurer

Landscape architect and longtime Council Board Member Art Traver works for Wendel Companies out of their Buffalo office.  

Were there childhood influences foreshadowing your career?  
Art Traver: I think I first noticed the “environment” when I was in Boy Scouts. Our troop had their own camp in Wyoming County. My interest really kicked in when our family took over the camp property in the 80s. As we started to manage the property, I began to notice the stands of hardwoods, softwoods, and evergreens.

What has been your educational trajectory leading to arboriculture?
AT: I would say I fell into arboriculture. I worked at local nurseries and garden centers growing up. When I started college at Alfred State, I studied architecture and then civil engineering but at the time, neither of these seemed appealing enough to pursue. I took some time away from school and worked for myself in the landscape design-build world. I found my way to Niagara County Community College and received a certificate for horticulture. Getting back into school got the learning bug going, so I found myself back at Alfred State, this time in the horticulture/landscape development program. After receiving my associate’s degree from Alfred, I enrolled at SUNY-ESF for landscape architecture and received my BLA.

Read more…