Posts Tagged ‘Trees’

Monday, August 23, 2021

Caring for Your Trees After a Caterpillar Outbreak 

gypsy mothsDo you have trees in your yard that were defoliated during the caterpillar outbreak this year? (Read more about it here)

Most healthy trees can withstand a couple years of leaf loss from caterpillar damage. Long-term damage depends on the type of tree as well as how much defoliation took place:

  • Hardwoods – A healthy leaf-bearing tree should have grown new leaves by now, though leaves may be smaller than usual. If your tree lost all its leaves and does not grow any new ones by summer’s end, watch it in the spring. If it still does not leaf out next spring, it has died.
  • Conifers – If your needle-bearing trees lost more than 50 percent of their needles, there’s a good chance they probably won’t recover. Keep an eye on them in the coming seasons, and if you have concerns or think the tree could endanger a house if it were to fall, contact an arborist.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, August 20, 2021

Distressing (not quite) fall colors

early fall color

Being first isn’t always a good thing. For example, trees that are first to have their leaves turn color are definitely losers. Premature autumn leaf color change is a reliable indicator of failing health, and the worse a tree’s condition, the sooner it begins to turn. Although the display of colors that our hardwoods produce each autumn never fails to fill me with awe and appreciation, when it starts in late July or early August, it worries me.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Spruce Blues and Wet-Weather Woes

blue spruceWhen I’m asked to diagnose tree problems, folks naturally want the remedy. Sometimes the only solution is tree removal; other times it’s a cable brace, pest management, corrective pruning or fertilizing. But increasingly, the diagnosis is climate change. If anyone knows how to solve that through an arboricultural practice, please let me know. 

With rising temperatures, a novel weather pattern has taken hold with longer and more intense dry and wet periods. In 2012 many areas had the lowest soil moisture ever recorded. Nonstop rain in 2013 led to flooding and farm disaster relief. A drought in 2016 set more records in some places, and catastrophic flooding hit in 2017. Drought followed in 2018, and 2019 was another massive flood year. Prolonged dry spells cause root dieback, weakening trees for several years afterward. But unusually wet seasons are just as bad for trees.

(Photo at left: Mundhenk, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

» Continue Reading.


Monday, July 26, 2021

When Trees Go over the Hill

bur oak treeSenescence is the decline in vigor that happens to all creatures great and diminutive as they approach their species’ life-expectancy limit. Individual genetics matter, too, as does environment. For us, eating and sleeping well, cultivating gratitude, and laughing a lot can keep us healthier for longer. But at some point, even the best-preserved specimen can’t avoid the end.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Pitch-mass borers serve as reminder to procrastinate

In my line of work the list of boring topics is endless. There’s the emerald ash borer, lethal but oh-so aesthetically pleasing with its metallic-flake green paint job and subtle copper highlights. A handful of powder-post beetle species love to tunnel into floor joists and dead trees to mine talcum powder, leaving behind a field of microscopic holes perfect for anyone who has a sewing needle collection they need to organize. On the other end of the spectrum are fearsome Asian longhorned beetles that chew galleries in tree trunks faster than a Black & Decker cordless drill, leaving tunnels big enough to hide a Mini Cooper.

» Continue Reading.


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.