Top Five NYSUFC Blog Posts of 2020

B&B (balled-and-burlapped) trees are useful for certain species at certain sizes in spring vs. fall, but bare root is often a workable, much more affordable and volunteer-friendly alternative. Photo Courtesy Nina Bassuk

#1 Transplanting and a Deeper Look at “Fall Hazards”

This post resonates! It’s been viewed nearly 7000 times since its publication on the blog in 2015. There’s a paucity of science-based information about “fall hazards” on the internet; this post seems to be filling a need. Dr. Nina Bassuk contributed the seminal section, “The Five Branches of Transplanting Success,” to the piece. Look for an update to this popular post in 2021.

Beattra Wilson opened the 2018 Partners in Community Forestry Conference in Irvine, California with her plenary presentation.

#2 Beattra Wilson’s Steadfast Path: An Urban Forestry & USDA Forest Service Journey

Readers were keen to get to know Beattra Wilson in this piece she wrote about her youth in Louisiana, her education and work trajectory, and her biggest aspirations for USFS Urban and Community Forestry, which she leads at the national level. Her story and her vision make for compelling reading.

In his capacity as Arborist for the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, James Kaechele demonstrated how to properly plant a limón sutil tree (Citrus aurantifolia) to a community in the Peruvian Amazon.

#3 Partnerships, Fruit Trees, and Land Restoration in the Peruvian Amazon, with James Kaechele

What does land restoration with fruit trees in the Amazon have to do with urban forestry? Everything! Council Board Member James Kaechele draws fascinating parallels and takes us along for the journey, with gorgeous photos.

Artist Sergey Jivetin creates elaborate engravings on the shells of seeds, including a series carved on American chestnut seeds depicting The American Chestnut Foundation’s restoration efforts.

#4  American Chestnut Update: Big Funding News, Public Comment Needed, Seed Engraving, and a Podcast

News of the incredibly promising American chestnut restoration efforts by The American Chestnut Foundation, SUNY-ESF, and other partners is always popular on the blog. Folks want this species back, providing all the beauty and myriad ecosystem benefits for which it was beloved before chestnut blight ran rampant.

Chinese fringe tree (Chionanthus retusus) foliage is darker, glossier, rounder, and more leathery than native fringe tree (C. virginicus) foliage, and its flower petals have rounded ends and appear less feathery than those of the native tree. Photo by Bill Haws

#5 ‘Regal Prince’ Oak, Chinese Fringetree, ‘Mushashino’ Zelkova, Hackberry

These profiles of underutilized urban trees were the most popular among the blog’s tree profiles to date. ‘Regal Prince’ is a hybrid of swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) and fastigiate English oak (Q. robur f. fastigiata). Chinese fringetree is considerably more resistant to emerald ash borer than the native fringetree. ‘Mushashino’ zelkova (2016) and hackberry (2020) have both been voted Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists.

American Chestnut Update: Big Funding News, Public Comment Needed, Seed Engraving, and a Podcast

(Above) Sergey Jivetin creates elaborate engravings on the shells of seeds, including a series carved on American chestnut seeds depicting The American Chestnut Foundation’s restoration efforts. One nut (enlarged) illustrates the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project’s insertion of the oxalate oxidase gene into the American chestnut genome. To see more of Sergey Jivetin’s work, check out his website, Furrow Seed Engraving Project.

Major Gift to SUNY-ESF Chestnut Restoration Project
The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) has announced a grant of $3.2 million over three years from the Templeton World Charity Foundation in support of efforts to restore the endangered American chestnut. This is SUNY-ESF’s largest-ever charitable gift.

The funding will support research and efforts to restore the economically and culturally significant tree species, billions of which were killed by a blight in the early twentieth century. ESF has genetically engineered a new strain of chestnut that includes a single gene from wheat, enabling the tree to detoxify the oxalic acid produced by the invasive fungus that causes the blight. According to the school, this is the first time scientists have sought approval for genetic engineering to restore a native tree species. Earlier this year, the research team submitted to federal agencies a petition that lays out the case for public distribution of the genetically engineered strain.

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Chestnut Tree Restoration: Help by Planting Nuts for “Mother Trees”

blight resistant chestnut in flower
Open-grown (full sun) American chestnut trees can flower in just three years. Photo by Allen Nichols

“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 is a continuation of 28-plus years that TACF-NY has been supporting the chestnut restoration work at SUNY ESF.

“I have American chestnut nuts that are starting to sprout,” he says. I send these nuts out free of charge to people that are interested in starting some mother trees, so they have a tree to cross with our blight resistant tree, when it is available.”

Nichols asks that folks read this post and the previous post about chestnut restoration, this document about mother trees and this one about planting your chestnut seeds, and then let him know how many nuts you want to plant! fajknichols.75@gmail.com or call 607-263-5105

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