The severe storms over the past two years have resulted in the loss of more than 1,000 trees in Rye.
By Bill Lawyer
The severe storms over the past two years have resulted in the loss of more than 1,000 trees in Rye. The DPW’s 2011 annual report contains a chart showing that over the last seven years they removed from 93 to 268 “street” trees every year. In that period, they removed a total of 1,313 trees, an average of 188 per year. Only 255 were planted during those years.
Many of those trees were mature climax forest specimens, such as oaks, maples, and tulip trees. Others were primary succession species, such as white pines and spruces.
To some extent, the loss of trees is inevitable, due to aging, insect pests, and the age-old whims of weather. Scientific research has shown, however, that climate change is also taking its toll, resulting in stressful conditions for trees that adapted to the coastal western Long Island Sound environment.
Some trees that were formerly unable to grow in Rye’s cold winters are now more likely to thrive as average temperatures rise. Others that relied on cold winters to keep insect pests under control are now suffering.
Rye resident Mary Julian points out, “We still need trees – now more than ever.” She notes that over-development and the resulting drainage problems create the need for trees that can tolerate wetter soil conditions.
That’s why Julian and fellow Little Garden Club of Rye members Kathy Barnard and Liz Garrett are promoting the planting of new trees in town. They’re doing this through educational programs, flyers, and the sale of 12 species of trees through the club, in conjunction with Rye Nature Center.
Order forms and detailed information about the tree saplings for sale are available for download from the Little Garden Club’s website, as well as the Rye Nature Center’s website. Hard copies will be available at the Nature Center as well.
Prices range from $20 for the apple serviceberry to $85 for the red oak.
The deadline for submitting orders and payment is February 13. Make checks out to The Little Garden Club of Rye and mail to Mary Julian, 20 Onondaga Street, Rye, NY 10580. Space is provided on the order form to indicate that people can make an additional contribution toward the replanting of trees at the Nature Center. Trees will be available for pickup at the Rye Nature Center on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The 12 species can be divided into two basic types: climax forest trees, growing to heights of 50 feet or above, and understory types, reaching maximum heights of 30 feet. Among the former are sugar maples, black gum (tupelo), swamp white oak, and northern red oak. Understory trees include eastern redbud, white fringe tree, eastern red cedar, sourwood, apple serviceberry, pawpaw, flowering dogwood, and witch hazel.
All species were northern grown and supplied by a tree nursery in Connecticut. They were selected specifically for suitability in our geographical and ecological conditions. Swamp white oak, for example, can tolerate very moist soil, and has been seen growing wild by the pond at Rye Town Park.
Another example is the club’s dogwood offering — the ‘Appalachian Spring’ cultivar, from a disease-free population found growing in the South Mountain area of Pennsylvania.
“We feel there’s at least one tree on our list that will be good for any homeowner in Rye,” said Garrett.
One of the goals of the garden club project is selecting “the right tree for the right place.” Climax forest trees should be planted in areas where they can safely be allowed to reach their full height – safely away from power lines and buildings.
Garrett says she is particularly fond of a white fringe tree she’s seen growing at the New York Botanical Garden.
In addition to providing detailed information about the species for sale, the Little Garden Club is printing up a list of other trees that will thrive in our area. The club is happy to give customers planting and care instructions, as well. Garrett stresses the importance of vigilant watering the first year after planting.
To find out more about the tree program, email Mary Julian at firstname.lastname@example.org and put LGCR Native Tree Sale in the subject line.
“We realize that planting trees is a long-term process, with the results of our planting not being achieved for years to come. But every little bit helps,” says Julian.