NYSDEC Slows Southern Pine Beetle’s Movement Across Long Island

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DEC’s Molly Hassett conducts an aerial survey of Southern Pine Beetle damage to pines on Long Island. Photos Courtesy Molly Hassett and DEC

Molly Hassett is the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) Response Program Assistant for NYSDEC’s Forest Health section. She provided this report on the pest, which can devastate pines from New Jersey to Florida to Texas to Illinois.

But first, a note about an upcoming grant opportunity. NYSDEC Urban Forestry Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk says, “The DEC’s forest health section is a great partner to us in urban forestry. We collaborate and assist New York’s communities by sharing each other’s information and resources. Those Long Island communities affected by the southern pine beetle may benefit from the next round of urban forestry grants, especially if they missed the SPB grants. Inventory, planning, planting, and maintenance funds will be available this fall.

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Southern pine beetles are said to look like chocolate sprinkles. It’s just 3 mm long. Photo by Molly Hassett
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Southern pine beetles attempt to enter the tree through a “pitch tube” — a resin mass that the tree produces to try to defend itself against further attack.

Southern pine beetle was first found on Long Island, New York in October 2014. Since then, the beetle has killed thousands of pitch pine trees on Long Island. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) continues working to slow the beetle. DEC monitors southern pine beetle with traps, aerial surveys, and ground surveys.

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Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Video Looks Back on the October 2006 Surprise Snowstorm

The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC) honors ten “Frederick Law Olmsted Award” recipients who stepped up after the October 12-13, 2006 freak snowstorm in which more than 12,000 trees in the City’s Olmsted-designed park system were damaged by nearly 2 feet of snow. Here’s an excellent video about the storm, its aftermath, the Olmsted Award winners, and the current state of the urban forest that BOPC manages.

Video directed and produced by Lemur Studios

You’ll note one of the honorees is Re-Tree WNY, an all-volunteer group established on November 3, 2006 by a group of about 40 Western New York residents who wanted to respond to the devastation. The group, chaired by radio executive Paul Maurer, has planted 28,112 trees and is working toward its goal of 30,000 trees across the 18 Western NY municipalities affected by the storm. (The goal is expected to be reached by November, 2018.) Some of the other munis affected include Amherst, Williamsville, Tonawanda, Kenmore, Cheektowoga, and Clarence. They have all met their planting goals, with Buffalo not far behind. The 30,000 trees are in addition to replacement trees planted by the munis themselves.

You can read more in an article, “Freak Buffalo Storm Killed over 57,000 Trees, but Most Were Replaced,” by Mark Sommer in The Buffalo News. Also see a related blog post about Ed Dore and Upstate NY’s community tree planting movement.

See Re-Tree WNY to get involved in the final tree planting push to reach 30,000 trees.

 

DEC Encourages Public to Promote Arbor Day with Personal Artwork

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2016 winning Arbor Day poster photograph

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) encourages the public to celebrate Arbor Day 2017 with their own personal artwork. The Arbor Day Planning Committee is accepting original art and photography submissions to be selected as the New York State Arbor Day Poster. DEC will be accepting them on behalf of the committee through December 31, 2016.

Send your artwork to arborday@dec.ny.gov after visiting the Promote Arbor Day with Your Artwork web page on DEC’s website. The winning artist is honored at the annual NYS Arbor Day celebration, which is the last Friday in April.

The Arbor Day Committee includes DEC, Empire State Forest Foundation, NYS Arborist Association, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, NYS Nursery and Landscape Association and the International Paper Company.

“Trees play a vital role in the lives of New Yorkers and are a fundamental part of our ecosystem, whether someone is tapping a maple tree in early spring or relaxing in the shade of a tree on a hot summer day, trees are integral to our quality of life,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said.

“It is important to celebrate Arbor Day throughout the year and highlight the importance of trees to our health, our environment, and our economy,” said Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball.

The winning artwork will be replicated as the official 2017 New York State Arbor Day Poster and distributed at schools, libraries, government offices, nursery and landscaping businesses, and environmental organizations throughout the State. NYSDEC will print 100,000 posters for distribution to the 3,500 NYS schools, the NYS Fair, and other venues. To get past NYS Arbor Day posters, contact your local DEC forestry office or call 518-402-9425.

From Scottsville to Long Beach: Urban Forest Master Plans, Management Plans, and Reports

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State Urban Forestry Program Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk was impressed by the Scottsville Plan of 2014. She says, “The Scottsville plan was funded by the urban forestry grant from the Environmental Protection Fund. What I like about it is the clear outline of goals and objectives by year. Not only does the writer touch on the needs of the community forest but he or she outlines how to get there by identifying practical steps to manage and finance the activities needed for a well-managed urban forest.”

The Council is creating a compendium of urban forest master plans, management plans, and reports. Look to these when crafting your community’s first or updated Plan … and when you do have yours in place, kindly send it our way! We’ll add it to this growing collection of fine templates from around our state.

Note: NYS EPF (aka Cost-Share) Urban Forestry grant funds are available for management plans or master plans, provided these plans include a specific work schedule made up of goals, tasks, and a timeline.

Binghamton
Canandaigua 
Fulton
Ithaca
Long Beach
Middletown
NYC by Neighborhood
Nyack
Rochester
Saratoga Springs
Schenectady
Scottsville
Syracuse

You can see a more in-depth blog post about Ithaca’s Master Plan here, a post about Rochester’s Plan here, and a post about the recently released Syracuse State of the Urban Forest Report here.

How do urban forest master plans (aka strategic plans) differ from urban forest management plans? From “A Technical Guide to Developing Urban Forestry Strategic Plans & Urban Forestry Management Plans” by Wisconsin DNR Division of Forestry, 2011:

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Getting to Know CCE Educator Vinnie Drzewucki

Vinnie Drzewucki and his wife traveled to Israel in 2015. The Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights are in the background.
Vinnie Drzewucki traveled to Israel in 2015. The Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights are in the background.

CCE Nassau County Horticulture and Urban and Community Forestry Resource Educator Vinnie Drzewucki (pronounced “Shavootski”) has served on the Council Board for two years.

Can you tell us about your childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in horticulture and urban forestry?
Vinnie Drzewucki: From a young age I was fascinated by plants. I think it was being around my father and grandmother who were always growing something and caring for their gardens and houseplants. My earliest memories are filled with being with them in their gardens and surrounded by flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees, and shrubs.

vinnie-photoIn school we learned that trees grow from seeds and so I began to collect and sow tree seeds everywhere. Some, to my surprise, did grow and I wonder if they are around today producing seeds of their own. When I was old enough to get my first library card, one of the first books I checked out was a book about trees because I wanted to know all I could about how trees grow. I was amazed that trees could provide a vast assortment of useful products like fruits and nuts to eat and wood for building and making things.

Back then, news about air and water pollution and deforestation was frequently in the media and often discussed in class. It was the time when the US Environmental Protection Agency and New York State Department of Environment Conservation were being formed, the Clean Water Act was amended, and the Clean Air Act was established. I suppose my interest in trees and their importance in the environment began way back then.

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Syracuse 2016 State of the Urban Forest

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What is the state of Syracuse’s urban forest in 2016? Photos Courtesy City of Syracuse
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Syracuse City Arborist & NYSUFC Secretary Steve Harris

City Arborist Steve Harris of the Syracuse Parks Department—who also serves as our Council’s secretary—is pleased to share the release of the 2016 State of the Urban Forest for the City of Syracuse. Steve is an ISA Certified Arborist and Municipal Specialist and in addition to being active in the NYSUFC is involved with the Society of Municipal Arborists. He has been Syracuse City Arborist since 2010.

The 2001 Syracuse Urban Forest Master Plan was one of the first of its kind. The impetus for that report was to lay the groundwork for a focused response to the devastation caused by the Labor Day Storm of 1998. The US Forest Service Northern Research Station (USFS) and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County crafted that plan in cooperation with the City of Syracuse, Syracuse ReLeaf, and SUNY ESF.

Being the home of a world-class research institution (SUNY ESF) and a USFS Research Station dedicated to urban forest change has its benefits. Data gets collected. Beginning in 1999, the USFS established permanent plots in the City to monitor urban forest change. By urban forest, think all trees in the landscape no matter the ownership. Plots were most recently re-measured in 2014. In addition, the USFS worked with the University of Vermont Spatial Laboratory and SUNY ESF to complete an urban tree canopy (UTC) assessment of Syracuse in 2010. (UTC assessments use LIDAR and other spatial analysis tools to identify and measure tree canopy in the landscape.)

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Arbor Day Celebration 2016 in Otisville with Funding from Council

Gathering round the newly planted 'October Glory' red maple.
Gathering round the newly planted ‘October Glory’ red maple.

Village of Otisville Trustee and Park Commissioner Ike Palmer shared this account of his community’s planting and celebration in Veterans Memorial Park, funded in part by a NYSUFC Arbor Day grant.

Ike Palmer: First of all, I would like to thank the members of the NYSUFC Arbor Day Grant Committee for this generous grant and the opportunities it has afforded us for our Arbor Day event. Two new trees funded by the Council were planted: an ‘October Glory’ red maple and ‘Frans Fontaine’ European hornbeam. A blue spruce was donated by Rick and Linda Zgrodek in honor of the Otisville/Mount Hope Seniors. It’s Rick and Linda’s hope that the blue spruce will come to be used as the Village Christmas tree. Despite the dry summer, all three trees are faring well. 

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What is Soil Profile Rebuilding? Susan Day Explains.

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This site is a good candidate for Soil Profile Rebuilding (SPR) because soil is compacted and has an impermeable layer that can likely be broken up by the backhoe subsoiling process. Note limestone gravel mixed in soil indicates pH will be high, which will not be altered by the rehabilitation process. Surface gravel should be removed if possible and underground infrastructure clearly marked. Photo by Susan D. Day

Drs. Susan Day and Nina Bassuk have collaborated on a variety of research projects in the urban forest, with a special focus on soil remediation. Susan Day is an associate professor in the Virginia Tech Departments of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation and Horticulture, and longtime Council stalwart Nina Bassuk directs the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell.

Here, Susan Day summarizes her findings after ten years of researching Soil Profile Rebuilding (SPR), a technique that the urban forestry community will be hearing about! See also this post from 2014 about Nina Bassuk’s related soil amendment research.

Soil Profile Rebuilding: An Alternative to Soil Replacement

by Susan Downing Day

Urban foresters and their allies know poor soils can lead to an endless cycle of dieback and tree replacement. Even if trees do establish, growth can be underwhelming and tree health disappointing. Increasingly, project managers have been turning to soil replacement, where existing soils are excavated and removed and replaced with “recycled” or blended soils. These soils present their own challenges, however. For example, many imported blends rely on high sand contents to improve drainage, resulting in low water-holding capacity and drought stress for unirrigated plantings. Resulting sharp transitions in soil texture introduce the possibility of creating a “bath tub” effect in situations where it is impossible to replace all the soil and new soils are confined to the immediate vicinity of individual trees.

There is an alternative to soil replacement that is especially appropriate where there are extended open soil (unpaved) areas such as in street medians—soil rehabilitation. Soil rehabilitation can help restore important ecosystem functions such as stormwater transmission and vegetation support to existing native soils.

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Arbor Day Planting in Perry with Funding from Council

Volunteers prep to plant a weeping larch
Volunteers prep to plant a weeping larch in Perry’s Village Park on Arbor Day 2016.             Photos by Steve Townes 

The Village of Perry is another community that received Arbor Day 2016 funding through our Council in partnership with the DEC. Perry Tree Advisory Board Chair and Village Trustee Eleanor Jacobs sent in this report. 

Securing the NYSUFC Arbor Day Community Grant was the first major accomplishment of the recently formed Village of Perry Tree Advisory Board (TAB). The group’s excitement at this achievement can’t be over-emphasized.

To implement the grant, the TAB worked with Village Parks Director Renee Koziel to select locations in the Village park to plant nine trees. The TAB selected the varieties of ginkgo, weeping larch, and Japanese white pine—and Ms. Koziel bought these from the Village’s tree supplier. The goals were to diversify tree plantings in the Village park, fill in spaces where trees were lacking, and plan for the future where trees may have to be removed.

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Arbor Day 2016 Celebration in Pound Ridge

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Carolynn Sears (Conservation and Tree Board) , Michael Kagan (Pound Ridge Land Conservancy), Susan Lee (Pound Ridge Garden Club), Bonnie Schwartz (Town Board), Gail Jankus (Planning), and Richard Lyman (Town Supervisor) admire one of the twin American Beeches planted near the Pound Ridge Town House on Arbor Day. Photo by Jody Sullivan

The 2016 Arbor Day celebration in Pound Ridge (pop: app 5100), a town in Westchester County, took place over several days. An Arbor Day grant from the NYSUFC in partnership with the NYSDEC funded the purchase of a 3.5″-caliper, 12-foot-tall American beech and an ID plaque to go with it.

Pound Ridge Conservation and Tree Board Chair Carrie Sears says, “One aspect of our celebration that I am particularly proud of is the collaboration between the Town, the local Garden Club, the Land Conservancy, and Bartlett Tree Experts. And the Pound Ridge Highway and Maintenance Department continued to water the trees throughout a very long, dry summer.”

In this post, Sears recounts the Town’s celebration:

Thank you for funding the Pound Ridge 2016 Arbor Day celebration, which promoted an urban forestry program in the community in many ways. Our celebration included four different events and the planting of five native dogwoods, two American beech trees, and over 100 seedlings from the NYSDEC Saratoga Tree Nursery in different locations in the community. It also included a hands-on workshop, “Your Land and Our Water: Computer Modeling of Local Watersheds,” which allowed participants to see how trees make a difference in watershed protection. 

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