Nyack’s Tree Inventory Propels Nursery and Planting Program

Nyack's Tree Inventory began in the Village's Memorial Park
Nyack’s Tree Inventory began in the Village’s Memorial Park

Here, Nyack Tree Committee Chair Marcy Denker discusses the tree inventory recently completed in her Village. You can see the full tree inventory report here, and the key findings from the inventory can be seen after Marcy’s narrative.   

New York State Urban Forestry Program Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk says, “Nyack uses the principles of good urban forestry management to gain the best outcomes for their projects. Like Nyack, other New York communities can use the resources around them, like ReLeaf and the NYSUFC, to find tools to benefit their community programs.”

Tree Survey Photo Op-1
Foresters Allison Huggan and Carl Koehler (yellow jackets) of Davey Resource Group with Nyack Village Trustee Doug Foster, Mayor Jen White (center), and Tree Committee Chair Marcy Denker.

Marcy Denker:

When the Village of Nyack organized a Green Infrastructure Roundtable to address stormwater problems three years ago, tree planting and stewardship emerged as priority actions. The Village took the steps to become a Tree City USA the following year and received a NYSDEC Cost-Share Grant for a tree inventory. Completed in 2015 by Davey Resource Group (DRG), the inventory identified over 500 locations for tree planting on public land. That’s a lot of sites for a village of one-and-a-half square miles!

Sugar Maple Elijah
Sugar maple in Oak Hill Cemetery in Nyack. Photo by Elijah Reichlin-Melnick

The planting sites are categorized as small, medium, large or engineered—requiring significant site modifications in order to be viable. Overhead constraints are indicated, too. With this map from DRG and site assessment guidance from Cornell’s Urban Horticulture Institute, Nyack has what it needs to get a planting program off on the right foot.

Taking a cue from a local resident who, in an unofficial “program” of his own, has been planting small trees in the right-of-way, the Tree Committee decided to focus on small trees so we can control costs and get more done with local volunteers.

We emailed NYS ReLeaf members asking where to find good small bare root trees that we could raise in a little nursery of our own. We got helpful responses about tree sources, grow bags and gravel beds, and the urban tree farm in Fall River, Massachusetts.

This spring we’ll pilot the Nyack Tree Project with a nursery at our local vocational school, trainings by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County, and planting help from our DPW, local Master Gardeners, and other volunteers. We selected trees from our new recommended tree list, developed based on the inventory. The trees will come from NYSDEC and Schichtel’s Nursery, which helpfully located some whips for us in addition to the 1 ½” caliper bare root trees we will plant right out in their permanent locations.

We’ll try things out, assess, adjust, and order more trees. We’ll work with private property owners on plantings in front yards too, so even if some of those 500 public sites are too difficult to plant, we hope to reach the 500 tree mark within five years.

Key Findings of the Nyack Tree Inventory

● The appraised value of Nyack’s inventoried tree population is approximately $3 million.

● The overall condition of the tree population is rated Fair.

white pine on broadway Elijah Reichlin-Melnick
White pine on Broadway in Nyack. Photo by Elijah Reichlin-Melnick

● The most common species are: Acer platanoides (Norway maple), 13%; Pyrus calleryana (Callery pear), 7%; Acer rubrum (red maple), 6%; Morus alba (white mulberry), 6%; and Platanus × acerifolia (London planetree), 6%.

● The plurality (47%) of the urban forest is in the young, 0–8 inches DBH class.

● Approximately 63% of the population is recommended for a Tree Clean, 26% is recommended for a Young Tree Train, and 11% is recommended for Removal.

● Nyack trees provide approximately $104,712 in the following annual benefits:  Aesthetic and Other Tangible Benefits: valued at $43,311 per year; Air Quality: valued at $7,567 per year; Net Total Carbon Sequestered and Avoided: 149.12 tons valued at $984 per year; Energy: 65.6 megawatt-hours (MWh) and 24,009 British thermal units (therms) valued at $42,991 per year; Stormwater: 1,232,359 gallons valued at $9,859 per year.



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