Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes
October 16, 2013
Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Cliff Miles, Margaret Gosset, John Lester, Jerry Uhrig
Crane and Morris Follow-up
We cleared the wisteria from the area where we intended to plant the new redbud seedlings but much wisteria remains. Any time anyone has to spend working with a Weed Wrench would be most appreciated. Just watch out for the poison ivy. Jerry got a pretty bad case of it because he did not take the precaution of washing his exposed skin with a product like Tecnu, which is very effective at removing the poison ivy oil before it can cause a serious rash.
Jerry inspected the 13 redbud seedlings a few weeks after the planting to see how they were taking hold. He found that overall the seedlings looked healthy with some exceptions. Three across the front were not looking as well as the others (too much sun?). He replaced one of them with a new smaller seedling since smaller ones do better. Some seedling had two trunks so Jerry trimmed the weaker trunk to encourage stronger tree growth. Some of the marker ribbons were tied using the wrong knot. They had to be loosened and retied using slip knots that will loosen as the tree grows. We need to continue to water the trees during weeks without rain.
The brush and debris pile was promptly removed Monday morning by the DPW crew. This was very much appreciated.
High School students in David FewellÕs AP Environmental Studies class moved the chestnut seedlings planted last fall from the high school courtyard to locations along the drive infront of the high school. We chose a sunny, high visibility location for enhanced community awareness and because the chestnuts grow better in sunnier locations. The other half on the trees planted last fall are out in the woods in relatively sunny, well drained locations. The student will monitor the progress of these trees especially watching for the appearance of blight cankers in the years ahead. Of course, it will be several generations of students hence before any such cankers may appear.
This yearÕs seeds will be planted, as in previous years, half in the courtyard and half out in the woods.
As a related study, we are monitoring a 25 ft chestnut tree growing out in the area beyond the soccer field near the YMCA. This is the tallest tree in the area that had been accidentally cleared and then replanted when the woodlands were cleared for the soccer fields. It is a root sprout from an old surviving chestnut stump. It has survived longer than most of them do. If it continues growing, it could be useful for pollination studies.
We havenÕt managed to catch up on repairs yet. Too much other work to do.
Bow hunters are still working in the woods. Next report will be at the end of October.
John suggested that perhaps in the spring a town-wide cleanup might be organized. Since this would be an excellent opportunity for residents to become more acquainted with the woodland environment, it seems to be the kind of project that the Woodlands Committee would be interested in supporting. We will reflect it in our Goals for 2014.
A question was raised about the management of the easement area between the end of Yorke Road and the townhouses. Jerry said he has no basis for managing the easement since he does not know what the easement agreement states about the use of this property. It currently appears to be a storage/dumping area for the townhouse association management. Jerry requested a copy of the easement agreement from Joe Tempesta when he was the Borough Manager. When we actually see a copy, perhaps we can find a way to include the easement in our management activities. Meantime, this is not a priority.
In a matter somewhat peripheral to the woodlands, Jerry is concerned about the fire road at the end of his street, Sunset Road. It runs from the end of Sunset Road across the dam to a gate on West Shore Road. The fire road at the Sunset Road end is blocked by large boulders that would have to be moved in an emergency. It doesnÕt look like something that could be done quickly. Other fire roads appear to possibly have similar obstructions: trees, soft ground, etc, that could impede passage of equipment in an emergency. John suggested that Jerry should write a letter requesting a review of fire roads in the Borough. Jerry said that he would do that.
John asked how the trees planted in the reforestation program were funded. Jerry said that the bulk of the trees planted this year were sugar maples and black gum obtained from the State Forestry Department for $74. Jerry paid it and hasnÕt filed a voucher for the expense yet. The redbud trees planted in the Crane and Morris lot were offspring of trees planted along the Sunset Road/Sunset Lake riparian buffer, which were growing along the UhrigsÕ driveway.
Trees and shrubs planted for reforestation tend to be seedlings between 1Õ and 2Õ in height, which the State Forestry Department sells in bundles of 100 for a nominal amount. This year, we got 2 bundles. Actually, the American chestnut trees we plant are seeds. We get them from the American Chestnut CooperatorsÕ Foundation in return for annual membership dues of $20, which Jerry pays, and an annual research report, which Jerry completes and files.
Smaller seedlings survive and adapt better to the woodland environment. What we are basically doing is to replace the seedling layer in the forest that has been destroyed by deer browse. Our experience with larger trees in the woods, mostly planted as part of Eagle Scout projects, is that they usually die for lack of water. Seedlings do not have the same maintenance requirements. Larger trees do have a place in public areas and around schools. But they do not have as useful a role to play in woodlands restoration.
Woodlands DPW Support
Last spring Jerry and Mark Prusina hiked the woodlands and identified problems that could be addressed with DPW resources. Jerry wrote up a list of projects that would be helpful and gave it to Mark. It would be a good time at yearÕs end to review the status of these projects. Margaret said that she would visit Halsey Fredricks Park to see what still needs to be done there. We did not get any volunteers to visit Richard Wilcox Park for this purpose.