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Another Successful Save the Rain Tree Planting Event

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Volunteers gathering for the fall, 2016 Save the Rain tree planting event. Photos Courtesy Save the Rain

Save the Rain is Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s comprehensive program to improve the environment and clean Onondaga Lake by reducing the stormwater runoff that enters the sewer system. There is a combined sewer system in Syracuse, and during heavy rainfalls the system overflows into the tributaries of Onondaga Lake. Save the Rain utilizes innovative green and gray infrastructure to capture stormwater, preventing combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and improving water quality. The Save the Rain Tree Planting Program has planted over 6,300 trees that, among other ecological services, can soak up stormwater runoff.

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Opportunity to Stop the Spread of Oak Wilt

In this post, NYSDEC Division of Lands and Forests-Forest Health Oak Wilt Operations Coordinator Jennifer Kotary shares a simple way to prevent the spread of oak wilt.

 

The connection between forest health and urban forestry is apparent in the management of oak wilt, a serious disease that kills thousands of trees per year. NYSDEC Forest Health has adopted a rapid response to this disease in order to prevent the establishment of oak wilt. This rapid response seeks to prevent the need to spend millions of dollars a year to control oak wilt and to prevent the loss of millions of dollars in oak wood sales in the state. Management is also critical to protect the intrinsic value of trees in urban forests, as trees improve everyone’s quality of life.

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Dr. Ed Gilman on Semi-Retirement, the Research Trail He Leaves Behind, and the Nexus of Urban Forestry and Arboriculture

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Ed and Betsy Gilman, married 37 years, overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge on a visit to NYC.

Dr. Ed Gilman is a popular presenter among NY arborists and members of our state’s U&CF community, giving talks based on his decades of applied research at the University of Florida (UFL) and countless field observations and conversations with arborists. Gilman retired from UFL in July but— happily for our industry—he is going to continue doing education in the field, especially with commercial arborists around proper pruning techniques. The resources he created on UFL’s website for pruning and all things related to trees and other landscape plants are phenomenal—more about those later.

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The Gilmans’ Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired house on the St. John’s River in Jacksonville

How is the transition to semi-retirement going?
Ed Gilman: Retirement allowed me to step back and take a break from writing; after 120 scientific publications and 35 years of tearing trees apart, I felt it was someone else’s turn. I’ll have more time now to do education in the field with commercial arborists—sharing the practical fruits of my research and that of my colleagues, which I really enjoy. I stay involved with ISA Florida and with the ANSI Pruning Standards committee. It’s nice to remain plugged in and relevant. What would be particularly gratifying is if I could get more people doing what I’m doing in terms of the education of commercial arborists. Stay tuned for more on that.

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Funniest Urban Forestry Story Ever?

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The BBC reports hilariously on a well-intentioned move by biodiversity advocates on the Aberdeenshire, Scotland Council. You have to watch an ad first, but it is very much worth it.

The Aberdeenshire Council spokeswoman said of the site: “Anecdotally [the playing field] was rarely used. However it is clear now that the community were not engaged with this plan. We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.”

Council treees

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get to Know Him! Board Member Shawn Spencer

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Dad to two boys, Shawn Spencer (right) leads nature hikes with Cub Scouts, teaching them about trees and shrubs, animals, poison ivy ID, and Leave No Trace.

Please tell us about childhood influences that may have foreshadowed your career.
Shawn Spencer: I was born in upstate New York but grew up in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Our neighborhood had lots of trees in it and backed up to fallow farmland that was being overrun with pioneer trees.  My parents were big into landscaping, so we maintained many different trees on our yard. I climbed in them, raked the leaves and needles, and helped prune them. Mom was a nurse and Dad an electrical engineer; neither sat behind a desk for work, and I knew I didn’t want to, either. I started taking all the science and biology classes I could take in junior and senior high school. I was also very active with my Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop, earning nearly all of the Natural Resource-based merit badges and doing all sorts of environmental/conservation service projects. I was good with a double bit axe and could start a fire in a Virginia rainstorm but was equally good with a shovel to plant more trees and shrubs.

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Saratoga Tree Nursery Annual Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale

Pine trees are among the Saratoga Tree Nursery’s offerings. Photo by Larry Decker

DEC’s Tree Nursery Offers Variety of Seedlings to Create Effective Windbreaks and Snow Fences

More than 50 species of trees and shrubs from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Saratoga Tree Nursery are now available to public and private landowners and schools, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Winter winds often cause blowing and drifting snow that can create hazardous road conditions, reduced visibility and other safety issues. Strong, cold winds may also reduce home heating efficiency, increase winter energy bills, and even impact unsheltered livestock herds. By planting rows of trees and shrubs at right angles to prevailing winds, an effective natural windbreak can be created.

“Living windbreaks can improve road conditions, protect livestock, create wildlife habitat, and save New Yorkers money on their utility bills,” Commissioner Seggos said. “DEC’s state tree nursery has a variety of seedling species for creating windbreaks. I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of this great resource and to work with our foresters and experts at the nursery to maximize the conservation benefits of your plantings.”

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Schools Eligible for Free Tree Seedlings – Apps due March 31

Photo by Pat Evens
Photo by Pat Evens

Schools Can Complete Conservation Planting for Free

Schools across New York are eligible to receive free seedlings for spring planting through the DEC School Seedling Program, which provides 50 tree seedlings or a mixed packet of 30 wildlife shrubs to any public or private school that would like to participate. The seedlings can be planted on school grounds or other community spaces, and offer teachers a great resource to enhance environmental lessons.

Applications to participate are available at DEC’s School Seedling Program page, by contacting the Saratoga Tree Nursery at (518) 581-1439, or by contacting the nearest DEC regional forestry office to request a “School Seedlings” brochure, which contains all the information necessary to place an order. Applications must be received at the nursery by March 31, 2017.

Street Tree Diversity in Three Northeastern U.S. States

IMG_8973Cornell Urban Horticulture Institute Director Nina Bassuk and Dept of Horticulture Post-doctoral Associate Fred Cowett recently published a paper called “Street Tree Diversity in Three Northeastern U.S. States” in Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, the scientific journal of the International Society of Arboriculture. What follows is the abstract, and the full paper is here.

Abstract. Street tree diversity is widely viewed as a key component in the resilience of street tree populations to pests, diseases, and climate change. Assessment of street tree diversity is considered integral to sustainable street tree management and preservation of the ecosystem services and social benefits that street trees provide. This paper assesses street tree diversity in three northeastern U.S. states— New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania—by analyzing municipal street tree inventory data stratified by the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. Despite the lesson learned from the historical devastation of overplanted American elms (Ulmus americana) by Dutch elm disease, and awareness of the contemporary threats posed to ashes (Fraxinus spp.) by the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) and to maples (Acer spp.), and other tree genera by the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), results presented here indicate a current concentration of street trees among a relatively small number of species and genera, and in particular the dominance of maples as street trees. Results also show a positive relationship between street tree diversity and warmer average minimum winter temperatures. Consequently, there is a clear need in all three states for greater species and genus diversity in statewide and municipal street tree populations. However, meaningful impediments exist to increasing street tree diversity, especially in the short term.

Getting to Know USDA Forester Eric Greenfield

 

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Greenfield at left with daughter Abby and wife Brenda.

Can you tell us about childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in forestry and urban forestry?
Eric Greenfield: I grew up in Delhi, New York in the western Catskills. Delhi is small community surrounded by agriculture and forests and is home to one of the SUNY campuses.

Growing up, my interaction with nature was primarily through family camping and Boy Scouts (Troop 33). My father was a professor at SUNY Delhi, so our summers were filled with family camping trips, mostly throughout upstate New York. Unlike the typical Boy Scout troop meetings, our troop met twice a month over weekends at the troop leader’s camp in the woods. Most of my “woods” skills—like tree ID, wildlife tracking, survival skills, and ecological awareness—were developed there. In relation to urban forestry, some of my most vivid memories are of the large American elms in Delhi and the community mourning their loss when they were removed because of Dutch elm disease.

My dad was very active in our church and in community service. Participating in activities with him really helped to build my appreciation for service to neighbor, nature stewardship, and spirituality in nature. I was fortunate to be selected to participate in the American Legion Boy’s State as a teenager, and that experience helped shape my interest in the positive role of government.

I like to think that forestry (and especially urban forestry) augmented my focus on public service.  The transition was natural as my appreciation of the working landscape in the Catskills grew.

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