“Fall Planting and a Deeper Look at ‘Fall Transplanting Hazards'” is Blog’s Most-Viewed Post

Dr. Nina Bassuk, at left, with students of her Creating the Urban Eden class in fall of 2019. Nina contributes the seminal “Five Branches of Transplanting Success” section of the “Fall Planting and A Deeper Look at ‘Fall Hazards'” post.

Fall planting season is underway, and many NY towns and cities are taking advantage of this season’s combination of still-warm soils with cooler air temps, which lends itself to success with fall planting of a variety of tree species in parks and along streets. Since the Council blog was launched in 2014, the most often viewed post (6323 views!) has been this one, about Fall Planting and a Deeper Look at “Fall Hazards.” We will do an update this winter, but the existing content remains solid and clearly has been of practical value to many folks. Check it out if you haven’t already!

Washington Square Park Eco Projects & Co-founder Georgia Silvera Seamans

Georgia Silvera Seamans (center) with the interactive Washington Square Park Eco Projects Mobile Exhibit. Photo Courtesy Street Lab

Georgia Silvera Seamans is the co-founding director of Washington Square Park Eco Projects in New York City. She is an urban forester, independent researcher, and writer. Georgia has bylines with UrbanOmnibus.netAudubon.org, and Audubon Magazine, and her research has been published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening and the former Journal of Arboriculture. Georgia blogs about urban nature at localecologist.org. She holds degrees from Wesleyan University, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and UC Berkeley.  

Could you share about your NYC roots and your connection to Washington Square Park in particular?

Georgia Silvera Seamans: When my family emigrated to the U.S., the first place we landed was Washington Heights. I attended junior high and high school in NYC. I used to visit the Village as a teenager; the vintage shops on West 8th Street were fun to explore! I recall one visit to Washington Square Park during that time. The Park struck me as a dynamic and diverse place. As an adult I moved back to the City in 2009. I live a few blocks from the Park, within a 10-minute walk.

A view from within WSP to the iconic Washington Arch. The nearby crabapple trees feed many bird species in the fall, including catbirds and hermit thrushes. Photo by the author.

How did you come to urban forestry, and what have been some of your peak experiences along the way? Could you talk about your urban forestry research and writing? 

GSS: I became an urban forester because of my job as a paid community forestry intern with the Urban Resources Initiative in New Haven, Connecticut. This practical experience more than any academic training set me on the urban forestry path. I was an intern in the organization’s Community Greenspace program where I provided technical resources to seven community groups in the Newhallville neighborhoods.

The projects undertaken by the groups I worked with ranged from planting street trees on a block to converting an abandoned house lot into a bird sanctuary. I can honestly say that but for this rigorous and fun experience I would not have applied to and been offered the job as urban forester for the City of Boston.

I returned to graduate school after working for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department for a few years. At UC Berkeley, my dissertation research was focused on how and why municipal agencies and nonprofits were reframing trees as ecological agents versus the conventional aesthetic narrative. I am proud of my first authored paper based on my dissertation which was published in 2013 in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

Read more…

Green Teens Club Produces Phenomenal Tree ID Guide

The Council received an email from Tyler of Green Teens Club, a national club creating online green resources and doing acts of service in communities. “We are made up of high school student volunteers, but parents and siblings often join in to help out on our projects,” Tyler says. “Teens from anywhere in the country can join Green Teens. We aren’t affiliated with any one school, but I believe some schools honor our volunteer hours for service hour requirement credit. We are funded by contributions from the families of volunteers.”

Green Teens created a superb, scientifically sound, and visually snappy Tree Identification Guide. You could not ask for a better introduction to Tree ID principles and terminology.

Green Teens are affiliated with Tree Musketeers, whose website has a series of guides in the same pleasing format on subjects ranging from birdwatching to photosynthesis to getting a forestry degree online.

SMA Announces Hackberry as 2020 Urban Tree of the Year

Young hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) used in extended road median in Poughkeepsie. Photo by Michelle Sutton

Each fall, members of the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA) nominate and vote for the SMA Urban Tree of the Year. You can see a list of winners going back to 1996 here.

Here’s a reflection on the 2020 SMA Urban Tree of the Year, hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), from New York Tree Trust Development Director and NYSUFC Board Member James Kaechele. Following that is a word about transplanting hackberry from Urban Horticulture Institute (UHI) Director and NYSUFC Board Member Nina Bassuk and former UHI graduate student Michelle Sutton.

Read more…

Capital Region ReLeaf Hosts Chainsaw Safety Workshop

This GIF is from the recent Capital Region ReLeaf Chainsaw Safety Workshop in Schenectady, taught by Consulting Forester Mike Burns. Mike demonstrated the effect of chainsaws on “flesh” (ham) and then showed how chaps stop the saw. The workshop had 37 attendees across two sessions from around Albany and Schenectady, including many DPW staff from the City of Albany and the City of Schenectady. GIF courtesy Christina McLaughlin

Sprout Lands: Book Review

 

Pollarded willows, Pixabay

Sprout Lands: Tending the Endless Gift of Trees
Review by Michelle Sutton, NYSUFC Editor

“Coppice and pollard … we should know these words again, for by means of them, people built their world out of wood for ten thousand years.” —William Bryant Logan

Every spring, I coppice my trio of purple smokebushes (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’) because I value the deep purple foliage more than the ethereal flowers. I coppiced lots of different kinds of shrubs for clients over the years, always with ornamental aims in mind. However, I’ve never pollarded a tree and it had struck me as a strange horticultural folly or quirk, but that was my own ignorance showing—ignorance of the fact that pollarding and coppicing have been used since the last ice age to generate woody sprouts for a stunning array of human uses.

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UHI Produces Plan for a Sustainable National Mall Treescape

Barb Neal (left), Bryan Denig, and Nina Bassuk on the National Mall.

In hot and steamy June of 2017, a team of researchers and arborists from Cornell University’s Urban Horticulture Institute (UHI), headed up by UHI Director Nina Bassuk, worked dawn to dusk evaluating the condition of the American elms and soils on the National Mall in Washington DC. This iconic landscape is often referred to as “America’s Front Lawn,” and the National Mall turf grass was fully renovated between 2010 and 2016, involving infrastructure upgrades, at a cost of $40 million dollars. Now, UHI hopes the Mall trees will get the same level of attention.

Bassuk and then-graduate student Yoshiki Harada worked together on soil evaluation, taking 108 soil samples back to Cornell, while ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Barbara Neal and UHI Visiting Fellow Bryan Denig performed an ISA Level 2 evaluation of the National Mall’s 550 trees. Bassuk and team also used ground penetration radar on a sample of 16 of the trees to find out precisely where the roots are.

Read more…

Governor Cuomo Announces $2.3 Million in Urban Forestry Grants

Funding Will Help Support Tree Planting and Other Urban Forestry Projects Statewide 

Read on to find out about the awardees and their projects  

Sept Oct 2016 Rick Harper
Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea). Photo by Rick Harper

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced grant awards totaling $2.3 million for urban forestry projects in communities across New York. The Urban Forestry grants are funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund and are part of New York’s ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change and environmental justice.

“These investments will help improve the quality of life in New York neighborhoods by supporting the replacement of trees impacted by invasive pests,” Governor Cuomo said. “Every New Yorker deserves access to clean air, and through these urban forestry grants, we are promoting the benefits of planting new trees to support a better, healthier New York for all.”

Grants were made available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian Nations. Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Tree inventories and community forestry management plans have no match. Tree planting and maintenance projects have a 25 percent match.

Read more…

Tree City USA Bulletins in English & (In Some Cases) Spanish

 

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These abridged versions of 88 of the most popular Tree City USA Bulletins are a free, handy reference for the tree enthusiast or professional arborist. They are provided by the Arbor Day Foundation. Click on the bulletin to access and easily print or download a PDF. View the complete collection of Tree City USA Bulletins in the bulletin archive.

    • Bulletin #0  Take Pride in a Greener Community – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #1  How to Prune Young Shade Trees – English PDF | Spanish PDF
    • Bulletin #2  When a Storm Strikes – English PDF | Spanish PDF
    • Bulletin #3  Resolving Tree-Sidewalk Conflicts – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #4  The Right Tree for the Right Place – English PDF | Spanish PDF
    • Bulletin #5  Living with Urban Soil – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #6  How to Hire an Arborist – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #7  How to Save Trees During Construction – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #8  Don’t Top Trees – English PDF | Spanish PDF
    • Bulletin #9  How to Write a Municipal Tree Ordinance – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #10  Plant Trees for America – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #11  How to Prevent Tree/Sign Conflicts – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #12  What City Foresters Do – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #13  Trees for Wildlife – English PDF | Spanish PDF
    • Bulletin #14  How To Kill a Tree – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #15  Tree Risk Assessment — Recognizing & Preventing Hazard Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #16  How to Recycle Shade Tree Materials – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #17  How to Landscape to Save Water – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #18  Tree City USA Growth Award – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #19  How to Select and Plant a Tree – English PDF | Spanish PDF
    • Bulletin #20  A Systematic Approach to Building With Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #21  How Trees Can Save Energy – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #22  Tree City USA Foundation for Better Management – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #23  How to Conduct a Street Inventory – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #24  Trees and Parking Lots – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #25  Tree Line USA – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #26  Understanding Landscape Cultivars – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #27  How to Manage Community Natural Areas – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #28  Placing a Value on Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #29  How to Plan for Management – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #30  10 Tree Myths to Think About – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #31  Trees Protection Ordinances – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #32  Let’s Stop Salt Damage – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #33  How to Interpret Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #34  How to Fund Community Forestry – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #35  How to Protect Trees During Underground Work – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #36  How to Work with Volunteers – Effectively – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #37  PHC — What it Means to You – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #38  The Way Trees Work — How to Help – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #39  Putting Trees to Work – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #40  Trees in the Riparian Zone – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #41  How to Reduce Wildfire Risk – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #42  Working With Children – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #43  Selling Others on Tree Programs – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #44  What Ails Your Tree? – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #45  Trees for Better Streets – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #46  Data to Advocacy — New Tools to Promote Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #47  How to Bring Nature to Your Community – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #48  Teamwork Strengthens Community Forestry – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #49  Trees and the Law – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #50  Tree Campus USA – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #51  Trees and Safety – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #52  Making Good Use of Small Spaces – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #53  What Tree is That — and Why? – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #54  How to Grow a Great Tree Board – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #55  How Trees Can Retain Stormwater Runoff – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #56  Help Stop Insect & Disease Invasions – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #57  Trees and Public Health – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #58  Community Engagement – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #59  Permaculture and the City – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #60  Learning Opportunities in the Urban Forest – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #61  Trees and Green Space Make Economic Sense – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #62  Help Fight Invasive Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #63  Living on the Edge — The Wildland/Urban Interface – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #64  Saving Our Heritage Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #65  Create an Arboretum – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #66  Not Your Father’s Arboriculture – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #67  On-the-Job Training Opportunities – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #68  How Communities Recover from Disasters – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #69  Make Room for Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #70 Embracing Diversity – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #71 The Healing Power of Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #72 Working with Contracts & Contractors – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #73 How to Start an Urban Orchard – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #74 How to Spruce Up Your Arbor Day – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #75  How to Make Trees Storm Resistant – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #76  How to Fight the Emerald Ash Borer – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #77  How to Grow a Better City Tree – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #78  Finding New Friends for Urban Forestry – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #79  Credentials Are Important – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #80  Alliance for Community Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #81  Urban Wood: A Wonderful Resource – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #82  Trees and Water – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #83  Creative Marketing Campaigns – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #84  Understanding Tree Canopy Assessments – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #85  Be a Citizen Naturalist – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #86  Finding Faces of Urban Forestry – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #87  Making a Case for Community Trees – Download PDF
    • Bulletin #88  Using Standards and Best Management Practices – Download PDF

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