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The Tree Flowers of Sprummer

I have a new tree story on the New York State Urban Forestry Council blog: The Tree Flowers of Sprummer . Here is an except: The word sprummer is making the rounds on social media. Sprummer describes the time between spring and summer; spring weather is still here and there while summer is making itself known with high humidity levels. In the urban forest, some trees flower in this window of time. Hawthorn. Kousa dogwood. Northern catalpa. Osage Orange. Tulip tree. Long gone are the cherry and magnolia blossoms, and the more discrete maple flowers. (Aside: Yoshino cherries’ fruits are ripening and American robins are feasting on them.) Flowering dogwood, serviceberry and sweetgum flowers have passed too.  Read the entire article on the New York State Urban Forestry Council blog .
Recent posts

Threats to Urban Forests

THREATS TO URBAN FORESTS Photo by  Craig Vodnik  on  Unsplash "What are the hazards trees in cities face," a student asked me this summer. I gave a thoughtful but short answer along the lines of it depends on where the tree is located—sidewalk, park, natural area—and if the tree was planted with a carer lined up to provide stewardship. The NYC Parks Department segments the urban forest into three categories: street trees, trees in landscaped parks, trees in forested natural areas. While there are overlapping threats, trees growing in sidewalk settings face unique challenges.  There is a laundry list of threats to trees everywhere, and new ones seem to pop up constantly. With the news of Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) and the decline of the beech component in northeast forests—seeing the effects of BLD in real life—the wind was knocked out of me this summer. I began drafting this post in August and have been sitting with it since then.   American Beech canopy showing signs of Beech

Notice the Birds and Trees in Your Local Park

My short article, " Notice the birds and trees in your local park with new guide ," is live on The Village Sun website.

The Mast Year

There are gluts of acorns on the ground right now. This year looks like a mast year for oaks--a bumper crop of acorns. Mast is used to describe the fruit of woody plants associated with forests . A mast year refers to the simultaneous, abundant fruit production within a population of trees. How big is a bumper crop compared to non-mast years? Mike Hallworth, Vermont Atlas of Life, quantifies the difference between mast and non-mast years : "During mast years, there may be anywhere between a 3- to 9-fold increase in the amount of nuts and cones." Many of the acorns I observe are the fruits of trees in the red oak group, for example Northern Red Oak ( Quercus rubra ) and Pin Oak ( Q . palustris ). I have seen very few white oak acorns. Oaks in this group include Swamp White Oak ( Q . bicolor ) and White Oak ( Q . alba ). One of the differences between these two groups of oaks is the maturation of their fruit. White oak acorns ripen in the same year the female flowers are ferti

Best Nature Podcasts

Photo by Mohammad Metri via Did you read my January post about newsletters for nature lovers ? This post is about some of the podcasts I listen to that focus on plants and the outdoors. I host a podcast,  Your Bird Story , about bird stories and birdwatching in cities. You can listen to it wherever you subscribe to podcasts. Without further ado, here is my list of nature-centric podcasts.  1. In Defense of Plants When In Defense of Plants host, Matt Candeias says, "without further ado," this is my clue to devote my 100% listening attention. This is not hard to do. I am consistently amazed by the plant content Matt and his guests share in their conversation. If you are going to add one a plant podcast to your rotation, make it this one. Oh, there's also an In Defense of Plants blog! 2. This Old Tree Historic trees are full of stories, and Doug Still and his guests uncover them in long-form, monthly episodes. He has an extensive tree people network so you hear

Washington Square Park Loses Tree Cover, 2017-2023

I have written previously about the removal of large trees in Washington Square Park. In 2017,  Washington Square Park Loses Three Canopy Trees ; in 2019,  10 Trees Removed in 2 Years in Washington Square Park ; and in 2020,  Did fill kill a large American linden in Washington Square Park? . This fourth post is a tally of tree removals without replacement in Washington Square Park between 2017 and 2023. I am tracking these removals for a few reasons: (1) commemorate the existence of these trees, (2) canopy loss will affect the park's ecology and micro-climate, and (3) tree removals are not indicated on the NYC Tree Map (not even on the Tree Removal and Stump Removal site). 2017   London Plane Tree, 47 inches and 29 inches Pin Oak, 28 inches Green Ash*, 25 inches Total DBH** loss = 129 inches 2018 Paper Birch, dbh unknown Dawn Redwood, dbh unknown 2019 Northern Red Oak, 23 inches American Sycamore, 33 inches Ailanthus altissima, 30 inches Total DBH loss = 86 inches (A Deodar Cedar

An African American Tree Activist Lived in Brooklyn

Mural of Hattie Carthan adjacent to 679 Lafayette Avenue I wrote a story for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden about environmental activist Hattie Carthan.  A Southern magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, still grows in Brooklyn, one of the botanical legacies of African American environmental activist Hattie Carthan. The tree, located at 679 Lafayette Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, was landmarked on May 12, 1970. It had been planted as a seedling, sourced from North Carolina, in 1885. Read "An African American Tree Activist Lived in Brooklyn" at the BBG blog and share the article!