Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

March 15, 2006


Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Cliff Miles, Louise Davis, Bob Dewing, Jerry Uhrig

Guests: Peter Bolo and Kyle Bolo




Minutes from the February meeting are on the website. No changes were needed.


Scout Project: Bluebirds


Kyle Bolo is working to earn his Eagle Scout level in Boy Scouts.  Over the next year, Kyle will research and organize a plan and implement the plan to encourage the nesting of bluebirds in Mountain Lakes.  Jerry gave an overview of the current status of the birds stating that there are not many natural habitats remaining in the area for bluebirds to nest in; thus there is a need to create houses for the birds. At our January meeting, Cliff reported seeing a flock of bluebirds down by the playfields in Halsey Frederick Park, over near the reforestation area. Jerry mentioned that he saw a sizeable flock of 50 or so bluebirds at the Delaware River in December 2004 near the Delaware Water Gap. These birds nest in holes in trees, however; there are three competing birds that are pushing the bluebirds out: house wrens, house sparrows and starlings. These birds take over the bluebirds nests and kill the males and the eggs. 


Two good reference books are:

“Bluebird: How You Can Help Its Fight for Survival,” Lawrence Zeleny, Indiana University Press 1978


“The Bluebird Book: The Complete Guide to Attracting Bluebirds,” Donald W. and Lillian Q. Stokes, A Stokes Backyard Nature Book, 1991


Some helpful organizations are:

The North American Bluebird Society


The New Jersey Audubon Society


And there are many more books and organization that can be helpful as well.



There are three types of bluebirds: Eastern, Western, and Mountain. Our locale has only the eastern bluebirds. There is generally very little overlap between eastern bluebirds and the other two subspecies. Bluebirds primarily eat insects but will eat seeds and berries when they have to.  The ecosystem that needs to be recreated is a weedy field at the edge of a forest. 


Three local resources which have bluebird houses are:


Morris County Park System, which has a network of 50 to 100 boxes throughout the park system. They have a program which is open for participation. Robert Jennings, Superintendent of Natural Resources Management, can be contacted for further information.


New Jersey Audubon Sherman-Hoffman Sanctuary, Hardscrabble Road, Bernardsville - good habitat and boxes. The husband of a teacher at Briardcliff School (Mrs. Anderson) works at Sherman-Hoffman Sanctuary.


Diane and Allen Nelson of Boonton Township – good example of how an individual homeowner can encourage bluebirds.


Sites to consider in town for locating bird houses are: the reforestation area in Halsey Frederick Park, across from Borough Garage, near the football fields, the Fliflet Bird Sanctuary, and the Wildwood Dam.


Kyle is hoping that the funding of the project will come from a variety of places: Borough Hall, and, as Louise suggested, applying to the Town Club for funds as well.  The specifics of the boxes were discussed, and Cliff suggested that mounting the boxes on poles and stakes deter snakes and raccoons from getting into the boxes. Also, building the bottom of the box with screening prevents wrens from nesting in the boxes.  There will be a need for ongoing maintenance of the boxes: checking to be sure that other birds have not taken them over, making sure that there has been no predation by snakes, raccoons, etc., and cleaning after the young have fledged. Bluebirds can have multiple broods in one year. Some of this work could be done by younger scouts, such as cub scouts, to bring them into the program.






                        Emil DeVito talk at Boonton Twp


Cliff reported on the lecture given by Dr. Emile DeVito of the NJ Conservation Foundation.  Dr. DeVito’s focus currently is on the bird communities in the Pine Barrens.  It is his feeling that the deer are causing the soil to be compacted and thus preventing the native plants from regenerating.  In Watchung it has taken 10 years for the native plants to regenerate.  At the Doris Duke Gardens they had recorded 250 deer per square mile in the 4 square mile property; there are now approximately 25 deer per square mile in the gardens. 


Louise reported that in Morris Township there is a community that has 30-40 acres that is fenced against the deer.  It has been 6 years now and they have not yet seen regeneration  of native plants.  They are also having all the trees inventoried on the property.  She will keep us updated.  The deer were jumping the fencing which was 10 feet high with an electrified wire on top and they were having bow hunters inside the fence to cull those deer.


Cliff noted that down at the Pine Barrens they were using an electrified wire fence with tin foil strips attached to the wire. There was peanut butter spread on the tin foil so when the deer licked the peanut butter they received a shock that imprinted on them to stay away from the wire and thus the future generations of deer did not go over the fence.  


Historically, deer didn’t have a tremendous variety of plants to eat, thus by spring if the food was so scarce that the doe would reabsorb one of the fetuses and the population was not as large as it is currently. 


Louise mentioned that she is aware of a new concept for deer control which is a type of sonar devise that in placed into the ground at specific distances from each other and when activated creates a sounds that discourages the deer from entering the area. 


Cliff also noted that if there is NO understory there will be NO natives to regenerate in the future, only stilt grass.  This is the condition at the “Springs” in the Tourne.


PA DCNR Deer Count


Jerry reported that a deer count in Pennsylvania was done by the Division of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). They used a company from Boise, Idaho, Vision Air Research. The contact information is: Susan Bernatas, 904 East Washington Street, Boise, Idaho 83712, 208-841-9566. They surveyed most of the State Forests, about 300 square miles total.  The density varied but it ranged from slightly less than 10 to nearly 25 deer per square mile.


Tourne County Park Deer Cull Results


Jerry reported that he had learned from Rob Jennings that the number of deer culled over the five mornings in January and February were 16 does and 2 bucks. They regarded their program as very successful this year because they had full participation and the hunters had a good understanding of the goals of the program. The program at Pyramid Mountain was not successful primarily because of a lack of participation.




                        H&S article

Jerry passed out copies of the April article for the Home and School Bulletin. It was the first installment of our invasives calendar. “April is the time to start pulling out he invasive plants.  Garlic Mustard is very common and is easily identifiable by the small clusters of round leaves that have been green all winter.  You can also pull out smaller plants of Japanese barberry, multiflora rose, wineberry, and oriental bittersweet.”



                        Keystone Wild!Notes Article

This article has an excellent notice on mile-a-minute weed: “Weed It & Reap. Have You Seen This Weed?” We probably cannot use it directly because this particular invasive is not one of our primary troublemakers. But the general style is something that we would do well to consider in our H&S Bulletin notices.


                        PA DCNR Invasives Tutorial

The best and most comprehensive invasives tutorial yet can be found at:




 It was designed as a one-stop shop for invasives managers. We will link it to our website.


                        Devil’s Walking Stick

Martha asked about when all the Devil’s walking stick in town will be removed.  Jerry said that he would contact Gary Webb about it.





                        Tree Threat Seminar, March 3


Lynn, Cliff, and Jerry attended this seminar. Lynn wrote a report that is included as an attachment to these minutes.

The overriding warning was to NOT plant monocultures rather varieties of trees. 


Bacterial Leaf Scorch has been studied by Rutgers and they feel that it is primarily a street tree problem and that there is likely to be very little within the woodlands. However, it has been found in Belleplain State Forest so it is possible that it can affect woodlands under the right conditions.


There was a handout from Rutgers on the susceptibility of various trees to Asian Long-horned beetles grouping them into the categories: most susceptible, moderately susceptible, least susceptible, and resistant. It is too detailed to report here but it will be used in preparing the recommendations for the Shade Tree Commission. 


They recommend that mulch should be cut into small pieces, about one-half inch, whenever there is a possibility of Asian Long-horned beetles being present. It should also be cut with sharp blades so that long strings of scraps are not found in the mulch. These can also harbor beetle larvae.


Rutgers has given up trying to save hemlocks in New Jersey. They feel that all the significant stands have been lost. They are still breeding ladybird beetles for control in other states, however.


                        CORE Training, March 4

This course was intended primarily for shade tree commissions but some of the material was helpful for woodlands management as well. It covered: legislation and model ordinances, urban tree risk management, and Community Forestry Act guidelines. 

Tree risk management was of particular interest. To begin with, they point out that a defective tree does not necessarily create a hazardous condition in and of itself. So a defective tree next to a high traffic area or a park bench could create a hazardous condition if it was likely to cause injury or property damage in the event of a major collapse. But a defective tree in the middle of the woodland would not be considered a hazard because there would not be an obvious likely target. So a hazardous condition requires two conditions: a defective tree and a likely target.


They discussed seven categories of tree defects:


1)      decayed wood,

2)      cracks,

3)      root problems,

4)      weak branch unions,

5)      cankers,

6)      poor tree architecture,

7)      dead trees, tops or branches.  


Jerry handed out a sheet that also had a list of common tree species and the commonly found defects and comments specific to each group/tree. 


It was reported that someone has marked a dead tree on the ECO-Hike apparently as a potential problem. They put two wooden stakes with plastic bags attached on either side of the tree.


Follow-up note added after the meeting:

After inspecting the tree, it is one of those cases that looks worse than it actually is. There is a dead tree that has been leaning against a live tree next to it for a very long time, leaning about 15 degrees from vertical. Most of the weight of the dead tree is supported by the slowly rotting end on the ground and not by the branch of the adjacent tree. Because it will in all likelihood fall across the trail at some point when it has rotted sufficiently, it would be a candidate for the clean-up demonstration that Bob Dewing plans. But it does not constitute a hazard because we obviously do not want to consider all our miles of trails to be targets.


Jerry mentioned that Paramus will be holding an Arbor Day event in which various tree services will donate their services to help clean up the woodlands in their town. In return the town will send out a free flyer town wide advertising all the participating tree services.



Bartlett Tree Experts Winter Seminar, March 8

Cliff and Phil attended this seminar. The program was as follows:


1)      The Conspiracy Between Alien Species and Deer in NJ Forests – Emile DeVito, NJ Conservation Foundation

2)      Strange and Unusual Trees – Dave Johnson, NJ Forester/Certified Tree Expert

3)      Woody Plants and Common Pest Problems – Greg Paige, Bartlett Tree Research Lab

4)      Asian Longhorn Beetle Update – Elisandra Sanchez, USDA and Rosa Yoo, NJ Forester

5)      Unusual Tree Photos – Tom Purtell, NJ Certified Tree Expert

6)      GIS Tree Inventories Using GEO Explorer – Mike Sherwood, Bartlett Tree Research LAB

7)      Landscape Below Ground – Neil Hendrickson, Bartlett Tree Research Lab



Cliff reported on one of the more interesting curious trees, called the sickle tree between Geneva and Waterloo, New York.  During the Civil War a sickle was left in a tree to be taken out when the man returned from war. Unfortunately he died and the sickle remained in the tree. Each succeeding generation, as men went to war, they continued the practice.  Unfortunately, there are a number of sickles imbedded into the tree from those who did not return home from WW I and WW II.


                        Lists for Shade Tree Commission

Joan Best would like to have a list of trees to plant for the Shade Tree Committee to use as a guide.  Jerry said that we need to create one that has the pros/cons/ and diseases.  Martha offered to help created the guide and Jerry will make it into a spread sheet for them to use.  We will use Bob’s listing of trees as our guide (Canopy and understory). Bob’s list shows those trees that are easily obtained as they are highlighted in GREEN ink.


                        Shade Tree Commission Meeting Report


            Vernal Pools



Vernal Pools:  Jerry mentioned that they are alive and well in town but that we need to identify them and document them for the record.  There are wood frogs at Birchwood and probably behind the YMCA and peepers all over.










March 3, 2006 - Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum and Bartlett Tree Experts

Conference on Tree Threats


Summary of highlights by Lynn Uhrig


Four speakers on subjects of control of invasive pests, Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and Bacterial Leaf Scorch (BLS).


Dr. Donald Booth, Bartlett Tree Experts, The Role of the Homeowner and Landscape Professional in the Control of Invasive Pest Species

Showed examples of monoculture tree planting – bad if you get a pest. Diversity is necessary.

Suggested planting the small trees that come in bundles.

Whenever you bring plant material to your house, isolate it for two weeks or more and check for infestations.  Watch it carefully for two months.

We will likely get many more pests in the area because 8000 ships a year come to nearby ports. Inspection is difficult and plant inspectors work for Homeland Security. Funding has been decreased.


If you catch a pest, keep careful records of when and where you found it.

Call the NJ Dept of Agriculture  609-292-5441.  They need the public’s help.

Cedar Longhorned Beetle is a rapid killer of arborvitae all over NJ

Mulch brought to the property should be smaller than one inch or composted for two months to kill pests.  Watch out for mulch cut with dull blades.  Another speaker recommended the mulch be less than one half inch to kill ALB larvae.



ALB- William Hlubik, Extension Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Ext., Middlesex County

Attacks tops of trees.  ALB in Middlesex County for six years before they discovered it.

Jersey city quarantine. Homeowner first spotted ALB.

Using chips of infested trees to burn for electrical energy.

Cold kills ALB. Woodpeckers eat ALB.

Resistant trees – dogwood, tulip, hawthorne.

ALB tunnels create hazardous trees.

No natural enemies.

Adult lives 2 to 3 months – May to October.

Look for little pits in the bark where the female lays egg. 160 eggs per female.

Look for frass at base of tree from boring of these pits.

Look for oozing sap from these holes in maples.

Look for round exit holes. 3/8 inch diameter. ALB comes strait out.

Other pests:

Viburnum Leaf Beetledefoliator. Merit works. Not difficult to control. Viburnum in woodlands is not as threatened.

Bleeding cancor in Beech.  Leave alone. As an aside he said he saw beech trees killed when leaves were piled on their roots.

Hemlock wooly adelgid Rutgers gave up on biological control because hemlock stands are gone in NJ. Cold helps reduce the population. Soil treatment with Merit works well.  Insect does not return for five to ten years. Consider this for hemlock trees located in forests. In landscape areas oil or soap treatments works.


EAB- Dr. George Hamilton, Pest Management Specialist, Rutgers Cooperative Ext.

Call him at 732-932-9801, hamilton@aesop.rutgers.edu

EAB is very small. Not in NJ yet. Closest is Columbus, Ohio. Attacks ash trees only.

EAB traveled via firewood from Mich. to Ohio and Indiana. Michigan lost 7 million trees. 

Quarantine zones in Mich, Ohio, Ind. and Maryland.

Stressed trees attract EAB. They put out detection trees as sinks for the beetle.

Ash trees drop leaves early in fall and leaf out late in spring.

Look for D shaped exit holes. Pupate April and May. Larvae chew cambium in summer only.

Bio control – 3 parasitoid wasps native to USA.


Stink bug is now on pest list.


BLS- Dr. Ann Gould, Associate Ext. Specialist, Rutgers Cooperative Ext.

This is a landscape disease. Not usually a problem in woodlands. Vectors are edge organisms.

The trees affected first are random, not next to each other.

Vascular disease. Bacteria in biofilm. Bacteria overwinters in the trunks and moves to the twigs in the spring.

BLS first discovered in NJ in mid 1980s.

Here in NJ BLS attacks pin oak, red oak and black oak. No white oak. Also can attack sycamore and elm.

BLS is transmitted by leaf hoppers and tree hoppers and other insects not yet identified.

BLS has many hosts that are not symptomatic. They harbor populations of BLS but may not have any symptoms. Ex. English and Boston ivy, flowering dogwood, sumac, Virginia creeper, wild grape, periwinkle, goldenrod, Bermuda grass.

BLS is now a pest in every county of NJ. Warmer climates south of us have the big problem. In some towns 45% of trees have BLS.

Vector control does not look promising.

Look for dead leaves in patches on the trees. BLS interferes with moisture flow in xylum.

Unless a BLS tree is hazardous, leave it standing and plant a tree of a different species nearby that can start growing before the affected tree is removed.

Her department is conducting extensive surveys.

Late summer look for scorch pattern – brown pattern near edge of leaves. BLS has random distribution on the tree. After a couple years you will see thinning of the canopy.

You can do whatever you want with the tree when you take it down because the disease is transmitted by insects.