Last fall, the Friends of Rye Town Park hired Bartlett Tree Experts Company’s Inventory Solutions Team to carry out a census of all the park’s trees and shrubs.
By Bill Lawyer
Last fall, the Friends of Rye Town Park hired Bartlett Tree Experts Company’s Inventory Solutions Team to carry out a census of all the park’s trees and shrubs. The Team worked at the park for two days collecting data, using GPS technology to precisely locate each tree and shrub. They counted a total of 331 on the park’s 28 acres of lawns.
Then 17 fields of data were collected for each tree or shrub – everything from botanical and common names to such management fields as pruning needs and integrated pest management recommendations.
Friends President Linda Wells said: “Through the inventory and evaluation of the park’s, the Park and Friends now have a mechanism for managing these valuable park assets — setting priorities, developing long-term strategies, and establishing budgets.” The Friends will use the inventory and management plan to reach out to the community to share their vision and help achieve it.
The report, some 92 pages long, includes photos, maps, and tables. In addition, it contains a number of appendices regarding the various management procedures.
The inventory of 331 trees and shrubs includes 58 species in 37 genera. The five largest genera are: maples, 81, oaks, 40, dogwoods, 26, ash, 21, and plane/sycamore, 19. Forty-four trees and shrubs, including 35 Norway maples, are categorized as invasive.
Overall, 60 percent (198) are native, and 40 percent (133) non-native.
The complexity of the report required a great deal of consideration and review by the Park staff and Friends. This included on-site meetings with Bartlett’s certified arborists to discuss the implications of what the report contained.
One finding in particular stood out that required immediate attention early in 2014. The inventory identified 14 trees that were high priority for removal, due to the safety hazard posed by their poor condition.
Thus, before undertaking an overall management care timetable, the Rye Town Park Commission authorized the expense of $15,000 to remove those trees. The Friends paid for the removal of a highly invasive royal paulownia tree, as well. Work will be completed by the end of the year.
Other management projects for 2014 included soil treatment and fertilization for 24 trees, jointly funded by RTP and FRTP, and the planting of six new saplings – three red oaks and three sugar maples, funded by FRTP. In all, the Friends and the Park jointly spent approximately $21,000 on tree management.
The Friends are working on a budget proposal that would be presented to the RTPC for the coming years. The budget includes correcting specific problems, removing vines, carrying out more detailed assessment, pruning, structural support, lightning protection, root collar excavation, soil care/fertilization, and integrated pest management.
Wells points out that “Bartlett’s inventory included an estimate of the trees’ value, based on size, desirability of the species, structural condition, and particular location. The team concluded that the total value of all the trees in the park is more than $2.3 million!” Thus, they feel that it’s important that funding be allocated to protect these assets.
Among the most valuable trees in the park are a 51-inch diameter at breast height London plane tree at the northeast end of the park – valued at over $43,000 —, and a 48-inch white oak at the southwest end of the park – valued at over $41,000.
The Friends and the RTP Commission will do everything they can to keep the park functioning as a “jewel in the crown of Long Island Sound.” The Friends hope that they can share the costs of their tree management project with Rye Town Park.
For further information, or to make a tax-deductible contribution, go to the FRTP’s website, www.friendsofrtp.com.