Top Seven Blog Posts of 2018

In 2018, among our most-read blog posts were tributes to the Council’s beloved Pat Tobin and Brian Skinner, who passed on from this world, and to former NYSDEC Urban Forestry Program Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk, who left for a new career opportunity. Excluding those special tributes, the following were the most-read blog posts in 2018.

Encore! Originally published on the blog in 2015, this post continues to be highly relevant to our blog readers. It was the most-read blog post in 2018 (more than 1600 views) AND in 2017 (more than 1400 views). Former NYC Director of Street Tree Planting Matt Stephens and NYSUFC Editor Michelle Sutton coauthored this story questioning commonly held beliefs about “fall hazards,” mostly as it applies to B&B trees, but they also discuss the interaction of the fall season with other production methods, like bare root. Nina Bassuk helped craft the section called “The Five Branches of Transplanting Success,” which will be of interest to anyone planting trees.

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana and its cultivars) is now a problem in parts of the country where we thought ourselves immune. Why are self-sterile cultivars of Callery pear producing fruit? One way it happens is when fertile pear understock sprouts, flowers, and produces viable pollen. Another: by the late 1990s, the introduction of new Callery pear cultivars beyond ‘Bradford’, cultivars like ‘Aristocrat’ and ‘Chanticleer’, led to an unexpected dilemma: in areas where large numbers of Callery pears were planted, the self-sterile cultivars starting pollinating one another. Then came the fruit, then came bird dispersion of the fruit … and “Pyrus, We Have a Problem.” 

“We need people all over NY and in other states to plant pure wild American chestnuts so they have ‘mother trees’ to cross with our blight-resistant tree, when it is approved for release, hopefully in the next few years,” says Allen Nichols, president of the NY Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF). This blog post describes the how and why of this phase of citizen involvement in chestnut restoration.

Last year, Laura Wyeth wrote a top blog post about Japanese knotweed. In 2018, she wrote this popular post about the truly magical world of lichens, which are a huge part of the urban forest ecology. The common thread of these popular articles is Laura and her talent with writing creative nonfiction. We hope she will send more features our way!

This post from several years ago continues to be of great interest to our readers. It’s written by the tirelessly dedicated Allen Nichols, President of The American Chestnut Foundation, New York Chapter.

One might think the 2018 SMA Urban Tree of the Year (TOY), tulip tree, would be the most read about SMA TOY in 2018. Oddly, it was the post about the 2016 TOY, an upright cultivar of zelkova, that was the sixth most-read post of 2018. Understandably, tulip tree is devastated.

This popular post reaffirms that Council people are the most interesting people. Board member and young professional James Kaechele’s urban forestry career is an ongoing tour de force. Also, his plant ID skills are legendary and as such, he is disqualified from ID contests on the Council’s Instagram and other social media, because no one else would stand a chance.

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