August Is Forest Pest Awareness Month in NJ

In New Jersey, August has been proclaimed Forest Pest Awareness Month by the NJ Dept. of Agriculture. Good thing, too. Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is encroaching on our Garden State. It has been found in 14 states – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

NJ already has battled Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB). First found in Jersey City, the beetle then moved on to infect trees in other cities and towns. At that time the state had funding from the Feds to monitor, target, remove and re-plant trees in infested areas.

So what does Forest Pest Awareness Month mean? It means the NJ Dept. of Ag has issued a press release talking about bad insects and warning campers to not move firewood (Press release). That’s a start. And educating the public is a good thing…it WAS a Jersey City resident that discovered Asian Longhorned Beetle…But, I’m thinking that since NJ is practically surrounded by states with EAB, shouldn’t we be doing more? I’d love to here your thoughts.

Trees and the Ocean

Jersey Shore water quality ranked 14th out of 30, and the “water exceeded the national standard for bacteria in 5 percent of the samples tested in 2009 – up from 3 percent the prior year” (NRDC report). YUCK! So, what do trees have to do with clean beaches? Everything. One 2″ caliper tree will intercept 155 gallons of stormwater runoff. Once that tree is mature, it will intercept a whopping 3,040 gallons of stormwater. Intercepting stormwater runoff means our sewerage drains don’t overflow. Because when they overflow, RAW sewage runs into our streams and our ocean.

I remember all the beach closings in the late ’80s. Seemed the beaches were always closed on the hottest days of the summer. So, NJ, let’s clean up our act and plant more trees to keep our beaches clean and open!

Ladies of the Night Rat Out Tree Thief

A new wrinkle to our June 25th post – Can 650lb Trees be Stolen:
Although our Camden staffer tried to work out a compromise with the S. Jersey Port and the tree thief, it was not to be. Seems the tree thief made a fatal error – he lied! And so, the S Jersey Port is pressing charges and the tree thief is in mucho trouble. How do we know for a fact the tree thief is guilty? It seems the neighborhood has a few ladies who stroll the streets and ply their wares, and they saw him do it! And they ratted him out. Gotta love it!

Joe the Tree Guy

This morning a large, green bucket truck rolled into my neighbor’s backyard. It was re-painted and had no visible name on it. Uh oh. Joe-the-tree-guy! You know him. He does tree work on the side when it’s too hot to do roofing and asphalt. Two guys get out: one has on a hardhat and is carrying a chainsaw – no other protective gear. The other guy is chewing gum and has no safety gear what-so-ever. Chainsaw-guy gets in the bucket, lets the chainsaw rip and proceeds to limb up my neighbor’s 75′ oak tree. You remember the one? It had two main leaders and split about a month ago, one leader slamming into the ground, but hitting nothing.

Anyway, safety-guy (sans any safety gear) chats with my neighbor occasionally checking on chainsaw-guy. Chainsaw-guy continued to limb up the oak, moving the bucket higher and higher up the tree. Did I mention the bucket truck didn’t have stabilizers? I don’t know a lot about bucket truck safety equipment, but I do think if I’m 60′ up in the air, stabilizers would be a nice feature.

In about 45 minutes, chainsaw guy had the tree limbed up and was ready to start taking the tree down. He made a notch on the side of the tree closest to my yard and let the top go! It skimmed our tree line…thank you chain-saw guy. That old white oak needed a bit o’ pruning.

Joe-the-tree-guy service finished up in about an hour. No chipping (can you say, thank goodness?!), no clean up. They just left.

In NJ, we have a Licensed Tree Expert bill that recently passed. It requires that companies who work on trees be licensed, so that drive-by-night companies like Joe-the-tree-guy’s cannot kill their workers with lack of safety. Click here to learn more:

Water Your Trees!

It hasn’t rained in South Jersey for 29 days, and there’s only a 50/50 chance that we may get some “scattered thunderstorms” in three days. After a snowy and wet winter which already abused newly planted trees, this drought will inevitably finish-off already stressed trees. UNLESS folks start watering their trees.

This past spring the NJ Tree Foundation planted over 1,300 large shade trees across the state. On average, each of those trees cost $350.00 to plant (cost of tree, shipping, staff time, etc). That is quite an investment. When I pay $350.00 for something, it’s a big deal and that something better be around for awhile. Which is why the NJ Tree Foundation does community-based forestry. Residents must want, and agree to care for, their newly planted tree. Otherwise, we are throwing money out the window.

So, back to watering. In the summer months, water your tree one-to-two times per week. Put a hose at the base of the tree, set it on a trickle and let it run for half-an-hour. Or, spend $20.00 on a tree watering bag. These are the best inventions for watering trees. The bag has tiny holes in the bottom that allows 20 gallons of water to S L O W L Y seep into the rootball. That is the key to watering trees and plants – a slow and thorough soaking of the roots.