Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

February 15, 2006


Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Cliff Miles, Phil Notestine, Louise Davis, Linda Spencer-Green, Jay Eveleth, Joan Best, Heather Carr, John Linson, Jerry Uhrig



In addition to Linda Spencer-Green, who is our regular liaison to the Shade Tree Commission, Jay Eveleth, Joan Best, Heather Carr, and John Linson (the Borough arborist) were attending as guests from the Shade Tree Commission. The meeting was arranged and hosted by Linda Spencer-Green. The meeting started with a series of short presentations by Woodlands Committee members. Linda gave the Introduction and Overview, followed by Phil with a report on deer, Martha and Jerry on invasives, Cliff on general threats to our trees, and Phil on vernal pools and last, in response to a question by Jay, Phil gave a short talk on the earthworm problem. Bob Dewing expected to give a presentation on the future of our woodlands ten years out. But he was unable to attend the meeting. The handouts that he intended to use are attached at the end of these minutes.




Overview: Linda


Linda spoke briefly about the mission of the Woodlands Committee and reviewed a historical perspective, starting from 3000 years ago, that showed that threats to our woodlands are neither new nor unique to our own locale.


She then gave a short review of the overall methodology used by Woodlands in addressing their mission. It is a local adaptation of the methodology used by The Nature Conservancy in their site restoration work: Conservation by Design. An explanation can be found on the website:  http://nature.org/aboutus/howwework/cbd/

The adaptation to our local context can be found in the viewgraphs on the June 14, 2004 report to the Borough Council. Hopefully, these viewgraphs will soon be accessible from the Woodlands website.


Linda introduced the Prioritized Threat List from our website:


1. Deer,

2. Invasive Plants,

3. Sudden Oak Death,

4. Bacterial Leaf Scorch,

5. Asian Long-horned Beetle,

6. Emerald Ash Borer,

7. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid,

8. Earthworms,

9. Runoff, flooding, erosion,

10. Fragmentation,

11. Contaminants,

12. Gypsy moths,

13. Dutch elm disease,

14. Chestnut blight.


Finally, Linda discussed the characteristics of a healthy woodland. It should have a well-developed understory, a diversity of native vegetation, and not be too badly fragmented. Richard Wilcox Park is the only tract we have with a reasonably extensive core area suitable for diverse habitats. Halsey Frederick Park and the woodland off the end of Yorke Road have possibly a minimally acceptable core area. The rest of our woodlands are really too fragmented to speak about any core area. So we need to address each of these three woodland categories differently and with different expectations. As our work progresses, we must continue to re-examine our assumptions on these issues.


Deer: Phil


A town wide survey was done 4 years ago by the Environmental Commission. It was agreed that the deer population was too high to sustain a healthy balanced woodlands habitat. As a result it was decided that we must undertake a reduction in the deer herd by culling.  The current thoughts are that there should be no more than 5 deer per square mile for the woodlands to begin to regenerate.  Currently, we are not sure what the population of the deer is in the woodlands.  There were three deer killed in 2005 from car accidents.  Nine deer were killed by hunters and reported to the state of New Jersey.   We know of at least one person who apparently did not report his deer kills to the state. We did not know how many deer were culled in the Tourne County Park during January and February. Rob Jennings might know these numbers. We also do not know the number of deer culled during the past two months by bow hunters in our woodlands. 


How long will it take for the woods to recover?  It will depend on the condition of the soil, the diseases that might be present, and the amount of invasive plants that are there.  Jerry stated that it is likely to take between 5 and 10 years for reasonably complete recovery.


Would it be better not to have any deer in the woods?  The answer to that question is open to debate but people do enjoy seeing the deer.


Invasives: Martha (plants) and Jerry (trees)


Invasive Plants:


A handout was give listing the top concerns of invasive plants in the town. Listed were Garlic Mustard, Multi Flora Rose, Burning Bush, Japanese knotweed, and Japanese Barberry.  With each invasive there was a reprint of the overview from the Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas printed by the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service. This report is also accessible on-line from the Woodlands website. It gives for each species the origin, background, distribution and ecological threat, description and biology, prevention and control, and native alternatives (usually about six of them.


Also, the list on control methods that Lynn Uhrig compiled from various sources including her own experience was shared with the Shade Tree members. This list is included with these minutes as an attachment.


Invasive Trees:


This presentation focused on just four trees that are currently our most troublesome invasive trees: ailanthus (tree of heaven), Norway maple, Bradford pear, and Aralia spinosa (Devil’s Walking Stick). Copies of the corresponding pages of the Park Service invasives booklet were shared for the first three, as well as other material taken from the internet. Devil’s Walking Stick is not included in the Park Service booklet.


Ailanthus is a problem tree found throughout town but especially in Halsey Frederick Park just below the playfields where there is a grove of very large mature trees. Interestingly enough, there is also an ailanthus growing next to Wildwood School. This tree is a major problem because it is a very prolific seed producer and because it tends to condition the soil so that other species cannot grow. Seedlings and saplings can be removed with a Weed Wrench but larger trees should be killed with an herbicide treatment before taking them down to prevent resprouting from the stumps. Jerry brought a Weed Wrench to show those who might not have seen one before. They come in four sizes from 18 inches up to 5 feet.


Norway maples have been favored street and ornamental landscape trees for a long time. One reason is that they leaf out early in the spring and stay green late in the fall. This is because they evolved at northern latitudes where days are shorter in spring and fall than in our locale. When these trees spread to the woodlands they pose a problem because our woodlands have evolved to green from the bottom up. If the canopy is green too early in the spring, the spring ephemerals and many other understory plants and shrubs cannot get the sunlight they need for proper growth. So Norway maples tend to form “monotypic stands of dense shade and displace native trees, shrubs, and herbs.” NPS Booklet It is very easy to spot this species in the late autumn because they stay green after most other leaves have dropped. When they do change color, usually in November, they change to yellow, not the brilliant reds of most of our native maples. Seedlings and saplings should be pulled with a Weed Wrench. Larger trees should be cut or treated with herbicide.


Bradford pear is another landscaping favorite which unfortunately tends to escape cultivation and aggressively invade natural areas. We have Bradford pear along the parking lot at the Borough Hall and across Route 46 at the office buildings opposite the Boulevard. The original Bradford pear, introduced in Maryland in the early 1900s did have sterile fruit. But later hybrid varieties introduced to correct the tendency of the tree to split and fall apart under wind and snow loading are not sterile. That poses the problem. It is best not to plant this tree at all. The native alternatives given in the Park Service booklet include: black haw, serviceberry, redbud, southern arrowwood, and fringetree. As with the others, seedlings and saplings should be removed with a Weed Wrench. Larger trees should be killed with herbicide to prevent resprouting and then taken down.


Devil’s Walking Stick is a native tree in parts of our country, mainly in the South. It was also a favorite in Victorian gardens apparently because of its “grotesque beauty.” It does not appear on most invasive lists but Rob Jennings has assured me that it is a problem in our area. He said that we should get rid of any that we have. There are two known stands in Borough rights of way, one along the Boulevard near the bottom of Martin’s Lane and one along Laurel Hill not far from the top of Martin’s Lane. Joan Best said that she had removed some from her yard as well. The best control is a Weed Wrench for most trees since they do not get too large. But a few will need to be treated with herbicide and then cut.


Diseases of the Woodlands: Cliff


A large packet was handed out to the two committees which contained information sheets on all of the following threats and more.  There are now three new bark beetles currently in Carteret and in Sussex County in New Jersey.  They were found in traps last year and can affect both pine and hardwood trees.


The Federal government has passed a law that bans the import of any untreated wood into this country.  Thus, the wooden pallets that cargo is shipped on must be treated or the cargo is returned to the country of origin. 


Wooly Adelgid is being fought with a Lady Beetle that eats them; however, they also bite people.  Soapy water is still used on single trees sprayed from the ground up into the hemlock trees.


Emerald Ash Borer will be here in 10 years and could create the same problem for ash trees as the chestnut blight did for our American chestnut trees a century ago. 


Sudden Oak Death has been found in New Jersey as a result of shipment of infected stock from Monrovia Nursery of Azusa, California.  Unfortunately, more plants are being found to be host plants for this disease, which affects not only oak but also rhododendrons and azalea. 


Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are an Asian insect that attack a wide range of fruits, vegetable, and other host plants. Accidentally introduced into Allentown, PA around 1996 from China or Japan, they have been steadily spreading throughout Pennsylvania and into New Jersey. Jerry said that they are fairly common in Pike County, PA, just across the river from Sussex County.


Gypsy Moths have been found in an old camping area two miles east of Mountain Lakes across Route 46 in Parsippany.  The USDA has been monitoring this site because of all the RV’s that used to come from all over the country and park there. Jerry said that there has been a resurgence of gypsy moths also in Pike County last year.


Pine Shoot Beetles are not yet in Morris County but can be found to the north and west of us.






Vernal Pools: Phil


Vernal pools are bodies of water that often evaporate during the summer; however, they are normally present only in the spring time.  Amphibians can regenerate in these pools because fish cannot live there and eat the eggs before they hatch.  Mountain Lakes has some very healthy vernal pools, most of which do dry up every summer. Frogs, toads, salamanders, and turtles breed and live in or near these pools, as well as many insect species, such as dragonflies, which prey on mosquito larvae.


Several people in town, including Phil and Jerry, volunteer for the NJ DEP Endangered and Non-game Species Program in conducting inventories of vernal pools. Of particular interest are the so-called obligate species, those that are completely dependent on vernal pools for a portion of their life cycle. These include wood frogs, spadefoot toads, and five species of salamanders known collectively as mole salamanders. One way for a vernal pool to be given special status for protection is to establish that one of the obligate species are breeding at that pool. The pool is then classified as certified. To date, we have one certified vernal pool in the Borough: the pool adjacent to the trail around Birchwood Lake. Along with the spring peepers and chorus frogs, we also found that wood frogs breed in that pool. It is likely that some of the pools at the rear of the YMCA are certifiable, as well, again because of wood frog activity.


A question was raised about spraying for mosquitoes. The short answer is that the amphibians themselves are very good at mosquito control. Spraying kills both the mosquito larvae and the amphibian larvae. It is important that we determine which pools are significant for breeding amphibians so that the mosquito control operations can be guided accordingly.


Earthworms: Phil


Why are earthworms on the threat list?  They eat the “duff” which is the top level of soil; however, the rest of the ecosystem requires this duff for survival.  If there is no duff, seeds cannot regenerate. There are no native earthworms in New Jersey; our forests have evolved without them. Earthworms are another alien exotic species.


Earthworms are beneficial to the soil when their numbers are limited by the many creatures that prey on them. These are the understory dwellers – birds, rodents, turtles, snakes, lizards, toads, salamanders and insects.


The ket to a healthy woodlands, flora and fauna, is a balance of nature, and a healthy, vital understory is Paramount!


After the meeting, Phil gave us an excellent website for information about the earthworm problem: http://www.nrri.umn.edu/worms/



Other topics


Information Exchange


We agreed that the Woodlands Committee will furnish to the Shade Tree Commission a list of trees, shrubs, and plants that are problems in the woodlands because of their invasive nature, along with a list of good native alternatives.


We also agreed to exchange meeting minutes on a regular basis. All Woodlands meeting minutes can be found on the Woodlands website. We decided that it would be helpful if the Shade Tree minutes were also accessible from their website as well.


Workshops and Seminars


John Linson suggested two seminars that Woodlands might find useful. One is the CORE training as required under the New Jersey Shade Tree and Community Forestry Act. This training is to be offered in Paramus on Saturday, March 4.


The other seminar is the 2006 Bartlett Tree Experts Winter Seminar to be held at Frelinghuysen Arboretum on Wednesday, March 8.


We agreed that we would try to have someone at each of these sessions.





Attachment 1. Bob Dewing





Large areas of forest are more capable of regeneration than the smaller areas we have in and around Mountain Lakes.


The near total loss of understory and the predations of animal and human activity require an active forestry management program if we are to preserve the arboreal nature of our community.


The community needs to be engaged now; the effects of a regeneration program will not be felt for decades.



The program should include:


·        Controlled felling of dead trees, especially those that have fallen into adjacent healthy trees,

·        Replanting of trees in any open spaces created in our pocket parks,

·        Construction of temporary tree protection to allow young trees to get above predator height,

·        Selection of species to preclude a local monoculture which could be subject to disease,

·        Reestablishment of an understory  (a longer term goal).



We should strive to be remembered as the generation that recognized the impending problems with our woodlands and had the foresight to restore and replant for the benefit of our progeny.


Attachment 2. Bob Dewing


Trees - Overstory
Sugar maple - Acer saccharum
Yellow birch - Betula alleghaniensis
Sweet or Black birch - Betula lenta
River birch - Betula nigra
Bitternut hickory - Carya cordiformis
Pignut hickory - Carya glabra
Shagbark hickory - Carya ovata
Mockernut hickory - Carya tomentosa
Hackberry - Celtis occidentalis
Atlantic white cedar - Chamaecyparis thyoides
American beech - Fagus grandifolia
White ash - Fraxinus americana
Green ash - Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Larch or Tamarack - Larix laricina
Tuliptree - Liriodendron tulipifera
Black spruce - Picea mariana
Red spruce - Picea rubens
Red pine - Pinus resinosa
Pitch pine - Pinus rigida
White pine - Pinus strobus
Sycamore - Platanus occidentalis
Swamp white oak - Quercus bicolor
Scarlet oak - Quercus coccinea
Pin oak - Quercus palustris
Chestnut oak - Quercus prinus
Red oak - Quercus rubra
Black oak - Quercus velutina
Black willow - Salix nigra
Linden or Basswood - Tilia americana
Eastern hemlock - Tsuga canadensis
Slippery elm - Ulmus rubra

Trees - Understory
Mountain maple - Acer spicatum
Speckled or rough alder - Alnus incana
Smooth alder - Alnus serrulata
Downy juneberry - Amelanchier arborea
Shadbush - Amelanchier canadensis
Smooth juneberry - Amelanchier laevis
Gray birch - Betula populifolia
Ironwood - Carpinus caroliniana
Alternate-leaf dogwood - Cornus alternifolia
Flowering dogwood - Cornus florida
Witch hazel - Hamamelis virginiana
Red cedar - Juniperus virginiana
Black gum - Nyssa sylvatica
Hophornbeam - Ostrya virginiana
Choke cherry - Prunus virginiana
Hoptree - Ptelea trifoliata
Aromatic sumac - Rhus aromatica
Winged sumac - Rhus coppalina
Nannyberry - Viburnum lentago
Possumhaw - Viburnum nudum
Blackhaw - Viburnum prunifolium
Prickly ash or Toothache tree - Zanthoxylum americanum


Attachment 3. Lynn Uhrig






  1. Japanese barberry (Berberis thenbergii)

Grub out with a shovel (Robert C. Jennings, Superintendent of Natural Resources Management, Morris County Park Commission, rjennings@morrisparks.net; RVGC presentation 1/10/06)

Elizabeth Johnson, The Nature Conservancy, NJ: In the winter or spring cut the shrub at the base.  If it resprouts, treat with glyphosate herbicide.

National Park Service, Exotic Plant Management Team: Before seeds develop apply herbicide and leave the plant in place to protect native plant regrowth. See Note 1, Page 2 re time to treat.

Also effective is cut and treat which is much faster than grubbing out with a shovel. (Lynn Uhrig)

  1. Burning bush, winged euonymus (Euonymus alata)

Grub out with a shovel or cut and treat with glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup. (Jennings 1/10/06) See Note 1, page 2.

  1. Border privet (Ligustrum obtusifolium)

Repeated cutting of bush (deep tap root) (Jennings 1/10/06)

  1. Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tartarica)

James O. Luken, Dept. Biological Sciences, Northern Kentucky Univ.: Hand-pull shrubs less than 3 years old. Larger shrubs - cut and treat with 20 percent glyphosate herbicide.  Avoid clipping in sunny sites as it can result in even greater stem densities. For the next two years hand-pull seedlings. (Seeds in the soil regenerate for about two years.)

  1. Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)

Grub out young plants with a shovel or apply herbicide. Rose-rosette disease, a native fungal pathogen, which is spread by a tiny native mite, is killing multiflora rose in states nearby; not in NJ yet. (Jennings 1/10/06)

  1. Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius)

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2004, pp. 44-45. Control through mechanical means or cut and treat with glyphosate or triclopyr systemic herbicide.





  1. Porcelain-berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)

Cut stem and treat (Jennings 1/10/06)

Spangler, R.L. 1977 Landscape Plants for the Central and Northeastern United States, Burgess Pub. Co.:

Hand-pull before the plant is in fruit. Apply spot applications of glyphosphate herbicides to individual plants where hand pulling is not feasible. Herbicide treatment is most effective when applied toward the end of the growing season. Follow-up treatment may be needed to control plants that have sprouted from seeds in the soil.

  1. Oriental bittersweet, Asiatic bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

Grub out with shovel or cut and treat (Jennings 1/10/06)

If simply cut, it will grow back thicker.

  1. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Pull out of ground. Roots grow horizontal. (Jennings 1/10/06)

Victoria Nuzzo, Native Landscapes, Rockford, Illinois: “Pulling, cutting, mowing or burning generally stimulate dense growth.” 1.5 percent glyphosate herbicide treatment in October applied  two days after the first killing frost and before the first hard frost are most effective. (ie. Native plants are dormant and temperature is above freezing,) Check for sprouts after the second growing season.

  1. Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)

Weed wrench or two broadcast herbicide applications starting in May. (Jennings 1/10/06)

Jennings handout (untitled but probably from Bowman;s Hill Wildflower Preserve, New Hope, PA): Between late spring and late summer apply 100% Garlon 3A to the cut root surface. Use loppers or a small pruning saw. Dig down three inches and make a clean cut at this level where the root has a large diameter. Winter treatment is not recommended. Runners can reach thirty feel. They root into the ground every few feet. The cut stump treatment should be used at every point where the vine is rooted in. Follow up with a second treatment the next season.




  1. Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2004, pp. 18-19. In spring before flowers, cut plants.  June through August hand remove and bag entire plant. They state that herbicides are effective but do not advise when to apply them. 

  1. Crown vetch (Coronilla varia)

Mow or apply herbicide. (Jennings 1/10/06)

  1. Japanese knotweed, Mexican bamboo (Fallopia japonica)

Repetitive mowing starting in May or mow in May, herbicide in July and mow again in Sept. (Jennings 1/10/06)

  1. Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis)

Hand-pull. (Jennings 1/10/06)

  1. Yellow iris (Iris pseudoacorus)

Wipe with herbicide applied to cloth glove on top of kitchen glove. (Jennings 1/10/06)

  1. Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Three insects for biological control are predicted to eliminate purple loosestrife in ten years. Best to pull it out. (Jennings 1/10/06)

7.      Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum)

John Mark Courtney, 1997, for Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, New Hope, PA. www.bhwp.org: Hand-pull August and early September before seed is produced. Repeat for seven years.

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2004, pp. 22-23: Hand-pull anytime. Other methods: mowing before seed production; applying contact and systemic herbicides.




1. Rob Jennings said that most herbicide treatments should be applied between July 15 and Nov. 15 when plants transport chemicals to their roots. 1/10/06.

2. At the Tourne Wildflower Trail the Rockaway Valley Garden Club members recognize invasive plants when they are very small plants. They can be easily pulled out by hand when the soil is moist.


Prepared by: Lynn Uhrig

                     January 14, 2006