Volunteers pitch in to plant trees at Freeville research farm

From Anja Timm, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.

Volunteers from across campus and around the community came together for a productive day to plant hundreds of hardwood seedlings.

More than 30 volunteers from Cornell University and George Junior Republic planted 800+ trees on two acres at Cornell’s Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y., May 18. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) and Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources hosted the tree-planting party.

The planting is part of a research project evaluating six methods of protecting saplings from browsing deer, including different tubes, liners and bud caps. As volunteers planted the white oak, sugar maple, and black locust seedlings, they measured, staked and tagged them, and the trees’ growth will be carefully tracked over the next few years. “The goal of the research is to help landowners and managers find the most economical and sustainable ways to protect vulnerable trees from deer when replanting forestland or establishing windbreaks,” says Peter Smallidge, State Extension Forester with the Department of Natural Resources, who leads the project.

Tree tubes provide protection for seedlings against damage by deer and small rodents, but vary in cost and seedling growth.

The applied research project will be used in extension programming to provide guidance to foresters, maple producers, woodlot owners, and farmers.  Tree planting is a popular activity, and the mix of species is linked to the diverse interests of owners and managers throughout NY.
More information about tree planting

Nick Vail and growers in CUAES’s Caldwell greenhouses grew all of the year-old seedlings for the trial.

Peter Smallidge Interviewed on NPR on RNYW

On May 10th, NYFOA President, Jim Minor, and DNR’s Peter Smallidge, also a NYFOA board member, were interviewed on Susan Arbetter’s Capitol Report, a NPR program out of Albany, regarding NYFOA’s Restore New York Woodlands (RNYW) initiative. To listen here’s a link to the program. Smallidge and Minor are on in the last 15 minutes of the hour-long program so move the slider over 3/4 of the way.

Cayuga Heights’ Deer Population and Maple Syrup Production

In a recent Ithaca Journal article, Jay Boulanger, deer research and management program coordinator at Cornell, was interviewed, discussing the implications of the current overpopulation of deer in Cayuga Heights and the options available to alleviate the situation. Possible options include lethal means, contraceptives, sterilization, and fencing; each one with its own pros and cons. The most cost-effective method in Boulanger’s opinion is reducing the deer population by lethal means, but this is also the most controversial method. DNR Professor Paul Curtis was part of panel at a public forum last week to discuss the issues surrounding this problem, which is affecting areas across the country.

Read the full article here.

In another IJ article, Stephen Childs, Cornell’s New York State Maple Extension Specialist, discussed the effects of this year’s mild winter on maple syrup production. At the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest, trees were tapped by February 1st, when normally they are not tapped until mid- to late-February. While the quality of the syrup will not be affected, the timing had to be adjusted to ensure the correct flow in the freeze-thaw cycle of a typical winter.

Read the full article here.

According to Peter Smallidge, as of March 7th, the maple syrup crop at the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest is at 60% of the average crop, even with the earlier tapping. There has been 285 gallons of maple syrup so far, which is promising for the upcoming Maple Weekend on March 17-18.

Read Peter’s update here.

Cornell Maple Program

The Cornell Maple Program and its campus-based specialists have been given a national award on Oct. 26.

Brian Chabot, former director of the program; Stephen Childs, director; Michael Farrell, northern maple specialist and director of the program’s Uihlein Field Station; and Peter Smallidge, New York state extension forester and former director of the program have each been awarded the North American Maple Syrup Council’s inaugural Richard G. Haas Distinguished Service Award. They are being recognized for their outstanding research and outreach in support of maple syrup producers.

Peter Smallidge will also be awarded with the Technology Transfer Award from the Society of America Foresters for ForestConnect. ForestConnect, which launched in 2007, provides web-based seminars about woodlot management. Produced 11 times a year, the series has 2,300 registered users with more than 100 people watching each seminar live.

Read more about these programs here.