Posts Tagged ‘Trees’

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Time is Running Out to Practice Winter Tree ID Skills

tree identificationIt’s officially spring! Warmer weather, longer days, and green leaves are headed our way. That means there’s just a short window of time left to practice your winter tree identification skills in the forest!

Did you get a chance to tune into our walk in the woods with DEC foresters last month where they provided winter tree ID tips for common New York State species? If not, be sure to check it out on our Facebook page.

Photo: Foresters from DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests provided a tour of common New York State trees during a Facebook Live in February.

Editor’s note: For more about identifying trees in winter, read this recent post by Paul Hetzler.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tree Buds: Honest Friends

winter treesHow to distinguish one leaf-bereft hardwood from another in winter is more of a challenge than summer tree ID, but there are practical reasons – and a few offbeat incentives – to tell one species from another in the dormant season. Hikers and skiers can benefit from such a skill, and in survival situations, hydration and warmth may depend on it. And if you’re among those who adore wintertime camping, you can have more fun when you know common woody species.

In late winter/ early spring, a pathogen-free beverage flows from sugar, silver, and red maples when temperatures rise above freezing in the day. A bit later in the spring yet prior to leaf-out, our native white (paper), yellow, black, grey, and river birches yield copious, healthful sap as well. The same can be said for wild grape stems, although it’s crucial that one can recognize other vines out there like Virginia creeper and poison ivy.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Keep Standing Dead Trees in your Woodlot

Some of the most important trees in your woodlot are the ones that are no longer alive. Large, standing dead or dying trees—called snags—are an important part of healthy forests and a critical habitat feature for wildlife. They provide places for many birds and mammals to forage, den, nest, perch, and roost. Snags are very important for cavity-nesting birds like woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees; for bats that roost within cavities, crevices, and flaky bark; and for countless species that rely on insects, fungi, and lichens as a food source. As long as they aren’t in a hazardous location such as near a road or building, consider leaving snags for wildlife.

In woodlands where snags are sparse or absent, it’s possible to create a few by topping, girdling, or simply leaving several mature trees as legacy trees that may become snags in the future.

Biologists recommend having at least three large snags (>12” diameter) per acre to benefit wildlife. These stately spires also add structural complexity, provide an element of visual interest, store carbon, reflect a forest stand’s past, and will enrich soils in the future.

Photo by Katherine Yard.


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

DEC Announces Annual Arbor Day Poster Contest

2019 arbor day poster by Paul BergwallThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced the start of the DEC’s Annual Arbor Day Original Artwork Poster contest. This contest is held by the DEC’s Urban and Community Forestry Program yearly in order to commemorate Arbor Day. The public is invited to submit original photos and artwork celebrating the immeasurable value of trees.

The contest is sponsored by the New York State Arbor Day Committee, and the DEC will be accepting photographs and artwork submissions for the committee through December 31, 2020. The photos and artwork submitted must include trees within New York State, and can be sent to [email protected]. Participants will be limited to five submissions and each submission should include a completed artist information form available on DEC’s website.

To obtain past New York State Arbor Day posters, contact any local DEC forestry office or call 518-402-9428.


Monday, August 24, 2020

Check in With Your Trees

black locust tree courtesy wikimedia user AnRo0002If you have trees on your street or in your yard, this is your friendly reminder to do a seasonal check-in. Take a look at your trees and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are the trees healthy looking?
  • Are there many dead branches?
  • Do you see signs of significant damage by insects, or signs of any invasive forest pests?
  • Do you notice any potential cause for concern such as off-color leaves, new fungal growth, or cavities?

If you have concerns, you may want to contact a certified arborist or tree service. Checking in with your trees periodically and noticing any unusual changes is the first step in making sure they can continue to help our Earth for years to come.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, July 20, 2020

‘Trees in Trouble’ Zoom conversation

On July 23 at 7 p.m., all are invited to join a virtual Cary Science Conversation featuring forest ecologist Gary Lovett. Gain insight into the forest pest problem, hear updates on the newest threats, and discover policy actions we can take to protect trees.

Trees play a critical role in keeping people and the planet healthy. They filter air pollution, reduce flooding, cool neighborhoods, provide wildlife habitat, and store carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change. Unfortunately, trees are in trouble.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

White Pine Perils

The tallest trees this side of the Rockies, our eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is one of the most – if not the most – economically and culturally important species in the Northeast.

Though the current US champion is a North Carolina giant measuring 189 feet tall, early loggers recorded white pines of up to 230 feet. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Rethinking the Norway Maple

Norway Maple by Wikimedia user Martin BobkaWhen Norway broke from Sweden in 1905, the newly independent country promised to stay neutral in all international conflicts. However, it has let loose highly successful and prolonged assaults of both the US and Canada on several fronts. To its credit, Norway has managed all this without using the Internet or spending a single krone. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Boxelder: A Tree By Any Other Name

Boxelder leaves and seeds courtesy USDAIf you know someone who goes by a slew of different names, it could be that they want to hide a bad reputation, avoid arrest, or both. In the world of trees, that individual would be the boxelder, a native member of Aceraceae, the maple family.

Boxelder is known by a dozen or more aliases, including Manitoba maple, ash-leaf maple, California maple, maple ash, sugar ash, and river maple. Because it is breakage-prone, grows fast, spreads easily, and can become a nuisance “weed” tree, its name is often preceded by a few choice words not suitable to print.
» Continue Reading.


Friday, February 28, 2020

Grange Lyceum: Invasive Species Threat to Trees

Young spotted lanternfliesThe Whallonsburg Grange Lyceum is set to continue their “Hidden in Plain Sight” series with “Trees at Risk: The Threat of Invasive Insect Pests” on Tuesday, March 3rd.

Paul Smith’s College professor of forestry, Randall Swanson, will talk about the danger posed by invasive species such as the Emerald Ash Borer, Spotted Lanternfly, and Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, and explain what we can do to better protect our trees. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 24, 2020

Black Locusts And Invasive Species

black locust tree courtesy wikimedia user AnRo0002Sometimes I wonder if the Biblical plagues of ancient Egypt have lingered in one form or another. Blooms of toxic algae, which occasionally turn water a blood-red color, are on the increase. Gnats and lice have been supplanted by deer ticks, which I’d argue are even worse, and there is no shortage of hail in season. Frog outbreaks may not have occurred since Pharaoh’s time, but poisonous cane toads imported to Australia are now running amok there, decimating all manner of native animals. And currently, swarms of locusts are causing great hardship in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

Here in the Northeast, we are blessedly free of the kind of swarm-feeding grasshoppers that continue to cause suffering in Africa. Nonetheless, locusts have become such a problem that in 2014 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) declared the locust a Regulated Invasive Species, meaning it “cannot be knowingly introduced into a free-living state.” In other words, locusts are only legal in an environment from which they can’t escape. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

‘Buffer in a Bag’ Initiative Offers Free Plantings

treed buffer along a riverThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the statewide Trees for Tribs “Buffer in a Bag” application period is now open.

The Buffer in a Bag initiative is designed to increase riparian buffers statewide by engaging landowners in small-scale plantings. Qualifying private and public landowners may apply for a free bag of 25 tree and shrub seedlings for planting near streams, rivers, or lakes to help stabilize banks, protect water quality, and improve wildlife habitat. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 26, 2020

DEC Announces Annual Tree and Shrub Sale

Staff from DECs Division of Lands and Forests sort bare-root seedlingsNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery has kicked off its annual spring seedling sale. Each year, this DEC nursery offers dozens of New York-grown tree and shrub species for sale to the public.

The nursery sale offers a low-cost opportunity for landowners to implement large-scale conservation plantings on their property. From homeowners hoping to create a windbreak, to those looking to cool their home with shade in the summer, the dozens of species available from the nursery offer something for every landowner’s planting goal. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Winter Fruit Provides Bounty for Wildlife

winter robin by adelaide tyrolLate one January afternoon, my husband and I stood on the shore of a frozen pond below the summit of Camel’s Hump, admiring the view. Suddenly we heard familiar calls, and a flock of robins flew over. Robins? In winter? In the mountains? I was perplexed.

Later, I talked with a birder friend, who informed me that robins from Labrador and other northern regions migrate south to the Green and White Mountains in winter, where they feed on mountain ash berries. Indeed, during our snowshoe trek to the pond, we had noticed clumps of bright red fruit in the small mountain ash trees, topped with powdery snow. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Appreciating the American Beech

american beech by adelaide tyrolI’ve always found slender, sharp, yellow-ochre beech leaves alluring, and it’s endearing how they cling onto saplings late into the fall. However, Fagus grandifolia, the American beech, tends to get a lot of flak from foresters.

The trees are plagued with beech bark disease, which ruins any timber value, and they can dominate the understory, shutting out sugar maple and prized yellow birch. Quick to arrive after most logging jobs, they sprout and sucker their way into dominance. » Continue Reading.



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