|The Armstrong Preserve. Notice that the understory is very sparse and consists solely of Pennsylvania sedge.|
|This map displays a forest regeneration index for New York State. Red indicates 'poor' regeneration.|
|The first bed in my tree nursery which currently consists of red oak, American elm and shagbark hickory. In about 3 or 4 years these trees will be planted back in the wild.|
Planting trees is to create a better future. Drive around Northeast Westchester County- the big trees are stunning. They line streets, mark important buildings and grace cemeteries and farms. We must remember that many of these giants were intentionally planted a long time ago and the only way to ensure big trees for the future is to plant trees today. You can protect and plant baby trees to mark special occasions in your life- the birth of a child, your kid's high school graduation, your retirement- and let the memory grow with you and your family forever. A white oak tree planted the week of your child's birth would be over twenty feet tall by the time they graduated college. Along with planting beautiful landscaping trees (like dogwoods and which hazels), consider planting native trees in the forest behind your house. If we don't replant our forests they will continue to grow thinner and our beautiful historic landscape will be lost.
Isn't it bad to take seedlings from the wild? I have seen many seedlings growing on people's property where the deer don't browse, which is good news. The bad news is that these trees are found growing where people don't usually want trees to grow (next to your foundation, pool, or garden). Instead of marching into the forest to find your seedlings, just search around your home. If you resort to removing seedlings from the forest on your property, make sure to do it properly. If done with care, transplanting and protecting a seedling increases its chances of survival. Remember, in the forest the deer eat almost all unguarded seedlings.
How do I transplant properly? The #1 rule with transplanting baby trees is avoid desiccation! Don't let the plant dry out! Don't transplant on a dry day, don't transplant on a windy day, don't transplant on a sunny day, don't transplant to an area of complete sun. Instead, choose an overcast day with rain in the near future. If it is not forecast to rain for a couple days then be prepared to apply water manually. While in the process of transplanting you must keep the soil and roots wet. When transplanting, don't forget the roots- dig up a root ball (the size of a small bowling ball) with your seedling. Here are Tips for transplanting. As you research more about safely transplanting trees you will read that it is best to transplant trees in the early Spring (before leaves open) or in the Fall (after leaves drop and before the ground freezes). Although this is true, it is not always possible; we are forced to transplant first year trees which are impossible to see before they leaf out in the Spring. Transplant as early as possible and do not transplant in the summer. An alternative to transplanting at the wrong time is protecting your trees while you wait for the right season to transplant. To protect potential transplants, place a small fence around them.
Working together. Protecting and planting trees is something that every landowner can do to help ensure a forest for the future. My goal is to team up with other local conservationists to support a region-wide initiative to replant our forests. Contact me if you are interested in learning more about forest regeneration and what you can do to protect and plant trees for our future.