Freeville Fall Follow-Up: Arbor Day Planting Part II

Thank you to Tom Cavataio, Member of the Freeville Village Planning Board and Tree Committee, for this excellent report. 

Another successful tree planting in the Village of Freeville took place on Saturday, November 10th, 2018. You may have read in a previous blog post that we hosted a limited planting in May 2018. The planting was limited due to the lack of availability of the narrow-growth crabapples that we selected to plant this year.

The Tree Committee met in July to confirm the varieties of the crabapples as well as a small number of cultivars of two native hardwood species that we would purchase bare root: red maple (Acer rubrum ‘Karpick’) and swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor ‘Beacon’). The goals were to beautify the areas of plantings, employ the traffic-calming effect of trees planted in the school zone, and also to replicate to a certain degree the taller-growth trees that many long-time village residents recall from years past (something of a challenge, given that a lot of infrastructure now exists in that area that did not decades ago). The July meeting also yielded a tentative timeline for ordering and taking delivery of the trees, which we planned to plant the first or second Saturday in November. 

Bare root tree planting lesson time

Once the trees and supplies needed for ensuring a correctly done planting were ordered and delivered, only a couple of minor adjustments to the planting sites were needed before everything was in place for the planting. Property owners (or tenants, in the case of rental properties) were personally notified of the intentions of the program. (This was an interesting facet of this project; having done the notifications, I met neighbors that I’d lived near for many years and had not met, as well as learned that not all people have a positive view of trees!)

Advertisements for the event were printed and provided to the local elementary school. An announcement was posted (and re-posted) on the Village listserv (reaching approximately 300 subscribers) and a local newspaper made mention of the event.

Planting a bare root ‘Karpick’ red maple with Ithaca City Forester Jeanne Grace (left).

Our event participation was certainly limited by the winter-like weather we experienced the day of the event (temperatures in the low 30s, with blowing snow totaling a couple of inches) but we still had 12-15 people on hand to make the job fun and easy. Some of us decided to dedicate our event to victims of the violence that is so common today, recently to include those of the Tree of Life Synagogue and Thousand Oaks, CA, and in doing so, we honored them with a moment of silence.

Getting bark mulch for the newly planted trees.

After a brief welcome, we began with a demonstration on correct bare-root tree planting by Ithaca City Forester Jeanne Grace, our Tree Committee adviser (Jeanne also managed the Dig Safe-NY scheduling and permits prior to the planting). Refreshments were provided by Tree Committee members. From that point, the participants worked well as a group to quickly plant 11 crabapples and 3 hardwood trees on two main Village streets. Due to the cold temperatures, people stayed as long as they were able and a small number of core Tree Committee members finished the work.

We had the good fortune of having Paul Paradine, a forester for NYSEG and Freeville Tree Committee member, arrange for the funding for 6 of crabapples so this allowed us to maximize the funding provided us by the NYSUFC for trees, watering bags, and trunk protectors.

It was good planting weather, snowflakes and all.

Sometime in January, we’ll have a planning meeting to discuss goals for 2019 and put together a tentative program for the spring.

In closing, I’ll take the opportunity to reiterate our thanks for being selected for participation in the Arbor Day Community Grant program. I feel confident that it provided the spark the Village of Freeville needed to initiate an annual tree planting program.

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