c. Caroline Ourso

City of Forest Day in Prospect Park

September 20, 2023

Join Prospect Park Alliance at the second annual City of Forest Day on Saturday, October 14 in Prospect Park. Presented by Forest for All NYC in partnership with the Parks and Open Space Partners – NYC Coalition and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, City of Forest Day is a day of activities across the city to raise awareness of the importance of the New York City urban forest, and the essential role New Yorkers play every day in caring for the “lungs” of our city. Prospect Park Alliance presents an array of activities to raise awareness and celebrate Brooklyn’s forest including nature education programming and a volunteer opportunity in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Check out the full list of 70+ events happening across New York City!

Prospect Park Events:

Park Pitch In: City of Forest Day
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Free, Registration Required
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a Park Pitch In volunteer event on City of Forest Day, a citywide effort to raise awareness and celebrate New York City’s urban forest. Prospect Park Alliance volunteers will plant over 100 native trees to restore Prospect Park’s beloved landscape, which has seen the loss of a significant number of ash trees since 2017 due to Emerald Ash Borer, a deadly wood-boring beetle. Tree planting and other greening opportunities will be focused on the park entrance on Flatbush Avenue near Empire Boulevard, adjacent to the park’s Children’s Corner, and the surrounding park perimeter. This event is suitable for groups, teens and adults.

Park Pitch In: City of Forest Day is made possible thanks to funding from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Urban and Community Forestry Program, NYS Environmental Protection Fund and the USDA Forest Service.

City of Forest Day: Nature Exploration
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Free, no advance registration necessary

Join Prospect Park Alliance and Audubon New York for nature exploration activities at the Prospect Park Audubon Center on City of Forest Day, a citywide effort to raise awareness and celebrate New York City’s urban forest. Prospect Park is home to over 30,000 trees of more than 175 species. Each of these trees is an important part of our thriving wildlife habitat and home to many species of mammals, birds and bugs.

  • Morning Bird Walk, 9 – 10:30 am: Join Audubon New York for a bird walk starting and ending at the Prospect Park Audubon Center. This program leaves the Audubon Center promptly at 9:00 am. Binoculars will be provided but attendees are encouraged to bring binoculars if you have them.
  • Nature Around Us, 10 am – 1 pm: Enjoy different seasonal discovery stations and nature themed activities that will introduce you to the plants, insects and animals that call the park home. Learn how to use the iNaturalist App and identify species throughout our park ecosystem, view a trailer of a new documentary Clear Day Thunder: Rescuing the American Chestnut, and more. Plus, visit the Audubon New York table from 10:30 am – 12 pm to learn more about birds and how to help them thrive.
  • Animal Encounter, 11 am – 12 pm: Join Prospect Park Alliance Naturalists in learning more about the animals in the Audubon Center’s collection. This program starts promptly at 11 am.
  • Family Nature Walk, 12 – 1 pm: Prospect Park is a stopping point for hundreds of bird species each year! Join us as we search for these amazing creatures and other nature around the park. Binoculars and bird guides are provided. This program leaves the Audubon Center promptly at 12 pm.
c.Elizabeth Keegin Colley

7 Surprising Tree Facts

September 9, 2022

Prospect Park is home to 30,000 trees of over 175 species which provide a variety of essential benefits to our community of plants, people and wildlife. Here at Prospect Park Alliance, we’re asking you to Be a Park Champion by celebrating Tree Appreciation Month!

Prospect Park Alliance’s Landscape Management team plants and maintains trees strategically to help Brooklyn’s last remaining forest thrive and partners with NYC Parks Forestry staff to  to sustain the health of the park and its trees. We chatted with the Alliance’s Forester, Mike Marino, for an inside look into 7 surprising facets of tree life in the park.

1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race

There is generally a correlation between how slow a tree grows and how long it lives. Trees that grow slowly are often the ones that live the longest and remain the strongest. If you spot an Oak tree over 40 inches or so in diameter, it’s likely to have been in the park for over a hundred years, and to have grown very slowly throughout its tenure in the park.

Fun fact: The London Plane trees by the Concert Grove Pavilion and the Lower Concert Grove were all planted at the time of the park’s creation about 150 years ago and are original to the design of the park. Oak and Beech trees are also two of the oldest native species found in Prospect Park, so keep an eye out for these strong and steady species throughout Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Marino alongside one of his favorite trees in the park: a centuries-old Willow Oak tree at the Peninsula off of Wellhouse Drive.

2. Trees Can Communicate

Through processes unseen by humans, trees can communicate and look out for one another. Trees release hormones through their leaves called volatile organic compounds, and nearby trees can sense and respond to these hormones. This can happen when one tree is infected with an invasive pest or other threat and through its leaves, sends a signal that something is wrong to another tree. The tree receiving this ‘warning’ can then protect itself by emitting a chemical in its bark that makes it less appetizing to a pest. This survival tactic means there is strength in numbers when it comes to trees– and environments like forests can help preserve species and protect trees.

3. Trees Could Not Exist Without Fungi

Visions of toadstools may be front-of-mind when you hear the word ‘fungi’, but small strands of fungi known as mycelium are essential to the health of all trees. These fungi strands perform a variety of important functions, including the decomposition of organic material to recycle nutrients back into the soil. With the help of mycelium, the tree’s roots are able to extend their reach and retrieve the nutrients and water they need to thrive. Through their roots and through fungi, trees can also send nutrients and minerals to other trees, sometimes even trees of different species, to help their fellow trees stay healthy.

A grove of young trees planted as part of Prospect Park Alliance’s Commemorative Tree Program.

4. The Older the Tree, the Greater the Benefits

From cleaning our air, removing toxins, providing wildlife habitats and more, we receive immense environmental benefits from trees. But the benefits of ten young trees do not measure up to the benefits provided by one 100 year old tree. We need mature trees to reap the full span of benefits to our health and environment. Mature trees give shade and cool down the air, they are able to absorb more water which mitigates flooding, and capture greater quantities of carbon dioxide and produce more essential oxygen for us to breathe.

These benefits of fully-grown trees make it all the more essential to be good stewards to both the long-standing trees of Prospect Park and the newly planted ones that will continue to grow, mature and benefit our community for centuries to come.

5. Trees Mist Us

Ever wonder how exactly parks stay so much cooler than city streets in sweltering summer heat? Trees are to thank for the wave of relief we feel from parks in the summer months. Through a process called evapotranspiration, mist gets spritzed out through tree leaves and into the air, keeping the air relatively cool compared to city streets.

Thanks to these trees, on hot summer days, the temperature inside the park can be as much as 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding concrete streets. A single tree can have the same effect as 5 medium air conditioners—with zero electricity used. In Prospect Park, a recent survey of 12,000 of the park’s trees found that our forest produced the equivalent of over $853,874 every year!

6. Forward-Thought is Key

Alliance Landscape Management staff work in collaboration with NYC Parks Forestry staff year round to prune, maintain and care for the park’s landscape and woodland areas to make sure trees in all stages of life are as healthy as possible to benefit our community for generations to come. By considering the way people use the park, the ecology, safety, and health of individual trees, the Alliance and NYC Parks Forestry teams use a multidimensional approach to keep the woodlands and landscape of the park healthy and thriving.

Prospect Park Alliance’s Landscape Management staff work to plant varying tree species that grow well together throughout the park to help strengthen the health and resilience of Brooklyn’s Backyard. If there’s one invasive pest or environmental stressor that attacks a certain type of tree, a diverse range of species makes it so that an entire forest isn’t wiped out in response to something unexpected in the environment. This is a way of having contingencies and back-ups to keep our forest and landscapes healthy.

“Even when we plant new trees, we’re looking 50 years down the road,” says Marino. “This tree will get bigger: How will it play with its neighboring trees and the uses of the park? What pruning will be needed to provide a strong foundation? We need to have forward-thought as we provide proactive work and care.” Marino emphasizes that this is also where stewardship comes in, “All of our daily interactions with the trees, no matter how small, accumulate and impact trees at all stages. Stress builds up in trees, just as it does in humans. And physically, if we damage a tree’s bark, it’s as if our organs were directly beneath our skin, with nothing to protect us from our environment.”

7. Every One Of Us Can Help Prospect Park’s Trees

To help our community reap the benefits of century-old trees and help young trees continue to thrive for future generations, remember to admire trees from afar and not to pick any leaves, flowers or bark that our ecosystem of people, plants, and animals need to stay healthy. Remember not to hang decorations or hammocks on trees to help keep the trees of Brooklyn’s Backyard green and thriving.

Marino also recommends getting involved and learning as much as possible about trees to help support our ecosystem. Resources to learn about the trees of Prospect Park and beyond range from participating in volunteer opportunities, visiting the TreeKeeper Database to explore the specific environmental benefits of each tree in Prospect Park, reading up on tree behavior in books (Marino recommends Peter Wohllleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees), or even taking classes and becoming a licensed street tree pruner with the Trees New York Citizen Pruner Course.

Learn more about how to Be a Park Champion and care for the trees, wildlife, and natural landscape of Prospect Park.

c. Shutterstock/WNYC

Prospect Park Alliance Volunteer Helps Revive the American Chestnut

December 21, 2021

Ever wonder what happened to the American Chestnut? At the turn  of the 20th century, the American chestnut towered over other trees in Eastern  forests. The trees would grow as much as 100 feet high, and 13 feet wide. According to legend, a squirrel could scamper from New England to Georgia on the canopies of American chestnuts, never touching the ground.

And then, the trees began to disappear, succumbing to a mysterious fungus. The fungus first appeared in New York City in 1904—and  then it spread. By the 1950s, the fungus had wiped out billions of trees, and effectively finished off the American chestnut.

Now, some folks are trying to resurrect the American chestnut– including a longtime Prospect Park Alliance volunteer, Bart Chezar, who works closely with the Prospect Park Alliance’s Landscape Management Team.

Take a listen to WNYC’s Science Friday segment.

Learn more about Prospect Park Alliance’s work to sustain the environment.

 

c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

The Last Stand: An Experimental Opera for Trees

August 12, 2021

Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks Art in the Parks is partnering with Creative Time to present artist Kamala Sankaram’s first public artwork, The Last Stand, in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

On view September 18–October 10, this public sound installation and experimental opera for and about trees invites audiences to consider the complex and expansive life cycle of one of our most vital natural resources. 

Prospect Park is home to Brooklyn’s last remaining forest with more than 30,000 trees and many species of native flora that are an integral habitat to the hundreds of species of birds and wildlife.

“Since our founding in 1987, Prospect Park Alliance has played a critical role in revitalizing the park’s 250 acres of core woodlands,” said Sue Donoghue, President of Prospect Park Alliance and Park Administrator. “The park’s 30,000 trees are the ‘lungs’ of Brooklyn and are vital to our community’s health and well-being. We are so pleased to be hosting The Last Stand, and drawing attention to the importance of trees to our environment and future.”

The Last Stand chronicles the lifespan of a 300-year-old Northern Red Oak—the “Mother Tree”—from the years 1750–2050. The rich soundscape tells the story of the Mother Tree in Black Rock Forest, a nearly 4,000-acre diverse ecosystem in upstate New York with tree species tracing back 14,000 years. Sankaram personally created field recordings of the environment to develop sounds for the installation, which will be experienced through rhythms, looped sounds, and the physical vibrations they generate.

“In the wake of this year’s catastrophic heat, storms, and floods, the immediacy of the climate emergency has only become clearer. We can no longer hold ourselves separate from the world around us. Rather, to stave off the most devastating effects of climate change, we must recognize the interconnectedness of humankind with our delicate world and all the living beings that inhabit it. It is my hope that by allowing ourselves to try and step inside the perspective of a tree, to experience its different intelligence and sense of time, we can rekindle this sense of connection,” said Kamala Sankaram. 

Over the course of 10 hours, the opera spans the Mother Tree’s life from acorn to its “last stand,” the final burst of life-giving energy a tree gives to its vast forest life network before it dies. Trees and visitors will experience sounds native to the natural environment, including animal and tree canopy noises, as well as sounds that mimic moments of life-altering tragedy, including invasions from non-native insects to human-induced threats such as excess rain, logging, and fire. Finally, the narrative carries the audience into the future with sounds that hint at the catastrophic effects of climate change, calling attention to the symbiotic and sometimes negative relationships within ecosystems.

The Last Stand is the winner of Creative Time’s 2021 Emerging Artist Open Call, which offers the opportunity for an artist to create their first-ever public artwork. Lead Project Support for The Last Stand is generously provided by Costa Brazil.

Learn more about The Last Stand, on view in Prospect Park from September 18–October 10, 2021.

Martin Seck

Get To Know Prospect Park’s Trees

March 18, 2020

Prospect Park Alliance recently completed a survey of more than half of Prospect Park’s 30,000 trees through $113,000 in Urban Forestry grants from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The survey focused on the park’s landscaped trees and trees in wooded areas less than 25 feet from a path. This information provides a more nuanced picture of the park’s evolving ecosystem, as well as important insights into the economic, environmental and health benefits of this urban green space. The Alliance commissioned the survey, which was conducted by Davey Resource Group, to create a management plan to help track the park’s tree maintenance and planting needs in the coming years. 

Some top line results of the 15,698 trees surveyed in Prospect Park:

  • The surveyed trees provide more than $2 million in annual environmental benefits. This includes:
    • Air quality: 21,000 pounds of pollutants removed from the air each year, valued at $132,000;
    • Greenhouse gas benefits: 3,000 tons removed from the air, valued at $17,000;
    • Energy benefits: equivalent to 1,300 megawatt hours saved, valued at close to $862,000;
    • Storm water runoff benefits: 22 million gallons saved from the city sewer system, valued at $181,000.
  • 203 species of trees found in the park, including numerous varieties of native cherries, maples and oaks, as well as less common species included the Southern magnolia, a fragrant, flowering tree whose northern range is growing due to climate change, and the bald cypress, which typically grows in swampy conditions and sends up knobby root growths called “knees.”
  • The largest tree surveyed has a diameter of 77 inches, or 6 feet, 5 inches across! This specimen tree, an American elm located near the Bandshell, is estimated to be over 100 years old.

Want to help sustain this vital community resource? One way to support this important work is through the Alliance’s Commemorative Tree Program. During planting seasons that take place each fall and spring, members of the community have the opportunity to plant a new tree in Prospect Park. Through this program, roughly 1,100 trees have been planted over the past 30 years. In addition, each year the Alliance plants a community tree on Arbor Day: learn more about how to get involved in this community celebration.

Want to learn more about Prospect Park’s trees? Check out the Prospect Park TreeKeeper Interactive Map to get info on each of the surveyed trees and their benefit to the community.

Brittany Buongiorno

A Day in the Life of a Park Tree

August 28, 2019

Ever wonder about the life of a tree? Not the changes that happen season after season, or even decade after decade, but day in and day out? That was the inspiration for an article in The New Yorker tracking the daily life of a London plane tree at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, which dates back to at least 1874, when it was moved to its current location.

Recently, Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks supported scientist Jeremy Hise and journalist M.R. O’Connor, who lives near the LeFrak Center and is an avid park user, to test an instrument that “converts, or ‘transduces’, physical motion into an electrical signal… sensing and logging tiny changes in pressure. Instruments that use this approach, known as precision dendrometers, allow scientists to do something entirely new: watch how trees change and respond to their environments on an instantaneous scale.”

The dendrometer not only showed the miraculous daily life of one of the park’s most natural wonders, but a glimpse into a larger purpose of this technology: demonstrating “how our planet’s future is tied inextricably to the future of its forests.” As home to Brooklyn’s last remaining forest and 30,000 trees, Prospect Park is the ideal setting to explore these issues. According to the article, “Each year, the world’s forests extract billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—an estimated twenty-eight per cent of all emissions.”

Recently, through funding from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Prospect Park Alliance conducted the first phase of a survey of its 30,000 trees. The findings for roughly half the park’s trees (those surveyed) were impressive: these trees help remove 24,000 pounds of pollutants and 3,000 tons of greenhouse gases from the air each year, and absorb 21 million gallons of stormwater runoff.

Learn more about the dendrometer in The New Yorker, and learn more about Prospect Park trees on our website.  

Interested in planting a tree in Prospect Park? Learn more about our commemorative tree program. 

c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

The Results Are In! Prospect Park Tree Survey

September 14, 2018

Prospect Park is an arboreal wonderland! Through a $75,000 Urban Forestry Grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Prospect Park Alliance recently surveyed roughly 12,000 of the park’s 30,000 trees as part of its work in caring for the Park’s natural areas.

The survey not only provides a more nuanced picture of the park’s evolving ecosystem, but important insights into the economic, environmental and health benefits of Brooklyn’s Backyard. Conducted by Davey Resource Group (DRG), a well-respected urban forestry consultancy that has worked extensively in New York City, you can examine the results on the Prospect Park TreeKeeper Interactive Map.

“The survey has provided exciting insight into what we already knew were some of the park’s most important treasures, its trees,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. “We are all aware of how special this urban green space is, but now with this data we can quantify the economic benefit our community receives from these trees. It clearly reinforces just how precious this resource is, and how we must all do our part to care for it.”

During the survey, arborists inventoried trees primarily in the landscaped areas of the park, a total of 12,414 trees. Among the findings:

  • The surveyed trees provide more than $1.5 million in annual environmental benefits. This includes:

    • Air quality: 24,000 pounds of pollutants removed from the air each year, valued at $125,000;

    • Greenhouse gas benefits: 3,000 tons removed from the air, valued at $17,000;

    • Energy benefits: equivalent to 1,000 megawatt hours saved, valued at close to $700,000;

    • Storm water runoff benefits: 21 million gallons saved from the city sewer system, valued at $172,000.

  • There is a plethora of trees to be found in the park, including the 84 genera and 193 species represented in this survey. This includes numerous varieties of native cherries, maples and oaks, representing 41% of the trees surveyed, as well as less common species included the Southern magnolia, a fragrant, flowering tree whose northern range is growing due to climate change, and the bald cypress, which typically grows in swampy conditions and sends up knobby root growths called “knees.”

  • The largest tree surveyed has a diameter of 77 inches, or 6 feet, 5 inches across! This specimen tree, an American elm located near the Bandshell, is estimated to be over 100 years old.

  • The inventory also identified challenges faced by the park’s trees. The overall condition of the inventoried tree population is rated fair, however, 8% of the inventoried trees had stress caused by humans.

  • Emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle, was detected in the park’s ash tree population. And, though they have not been detected in Prospect Park, Gypsy moths and Asian Longhorn beetles pose the biggest threats to the health of the inventoried tree population.

  • A tree survey metric, “replacement value,” describes the historical investment in trees over time. The surveyed park trees have an estimated replacement value of more than $59 million!

In completing this report, DRG put together a Prospect Park Tree Management Plan, charting out the tree maintenance and planting needs in the park for the next five years. “By tracking the park’s trees, the Alliance can better care for these important natural resources, which play a big role in Brooklyn’s quality of life,” said John Jordan, Director of Landscape Management at Prospect Park Alliance.

There is a long way to go for Prospect Park Alliance to keep this vital community resource healthy and safe. Contributions from community members help sustain the park’s trees and fund the Alliance’s team of arborists and natural resources crew.

One way to support this important work is through the Alliance’s Commemorative Giving Tree Program. During planting seasons that take place each fall and spring, members of the community have the opportunity to plant a new tree in Prospect Park. Through this program, roughly 1,100 trees have been planted over the past 30 years. Each year, the Alliance plants a community tree on Arbor Day: learn more about how to get involved in this community celebration.

Want to learn more about Prospect Park’s trees? Check out the Prospect Park TreeKeeper Interactive Map to get info on each of the surveyed trees and their benefit to the community.

Brittany Buongiorno

Alliance Considers the Forest (and the Trees)

May 14, 2018

On a recent spring morning, Prospect Park Alliance kicked off a survey of trees in Prospect Park as part of its work in caring for the Park’s natural areas. This project is funded through a $75,000 Urban Forestry Grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). 

As part of its mission to sustain, restore and advance Prospect Park, Prospect Park Alliance has been working to revitalize the Park’s natural areas over the past two decades, a more than 20-year, $15 million investment that has encompassed the planting of more than 500,000 trees, plants and shrubs. Alliance staff include trained arborists, horticulturalists, a forest ecologist and a Natural Resources Crew. The results of this investment can be seen in the transformation of these once-derelict areas into some of the Park’s most scenic destinations.

Over the past two years, through $1.2 million in grants from the National Parks Service through the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Assistance Grant Program for Historic Properties, administered by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Alliance has been restoring the woodlands in two areas particularly devastated by Hurricane Sandy and other severe storms: the Vale of Cashmere in the northeast corner of the park, and Lookout Hill near the Nethermead and Peninsula (the Alliance lost 500 throughout the park due to Hurricane Sandy, with 50 alone in the Vale of Cashmere). This work was highlighted in a 2017 article in The New York Times, and brought to the park a crew of goats who helped clear the areas of invasive weeds in an environmentally friendly way. The work concludes this year with the planting of Lookout Hill.

The New York Times also highlighted the Alliance’s work to sustain the Park’s natural areas, announcing a partnership with the Natural Areas Conservancy to pilot a 25-year plan to enhance and protect New York City’s vital urban forests. The timing is ideal, since the Alliance is wrapping up its own 25-year plan to restore the woodlands, and these treasured natural areas are beset by new challenges, including climate change and the threat of invasive pests and diseases such as Emerald Ash Borer and Oak Wilt. This pilot program will enable the Alliance to share best practices with other parks citywide, and strengthen its expertise and knowledge base in woodlands restoration.

The Alliance’s work to restore the woodlands is also highlighted on the PBS program Metrofocus. View this video below:

Metrofocus Climate Change Shaping City Forests

With respect to the tree survey, a team of arborists from Davey Resource Group, a well-respected urban forestry consultant that has worked extensively in New York City, is collecting data on an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 trees in the Park, representing about half of the total tree population. The inventory will catalog the various attributes of Prospect Park’s trees—species, size and location to name a few. The survey will also include invasive insect, pest and disease detection to help the Alliance in its care of the Park’s trees, “the lungs” of Brooklyn. The inventory will focus on trees in the Park’s landscaped areas. The results of the inventory will help the Alliance, in partnership with the City, strategically maintain and enhance these trees to benefit generations to come.

“By tracking the Park’s trees, the Alliance can better care for these important natural resources, which play a big role in Brooklyn’s quality of life,” said John Jordan, director of Landscape Management at Prospect Park Alliance. “Trees cleanse the air we breathe; reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that reaches the city’s overburdened sewer system; provide shade that helps conserve energy by cooling buildings and paved surfaces; and even help people feel calmer and more quickly heal from sickness.”  

Love Prospect Park? Plant or adopt a tree to celebrate a special occasion or loved one.
 

c. Fiora Watts

Spring Bloom Guide

March 19, 2018

As winter slowly turns to spring, observant eyes might find snowdrops and crocuses poking up through the soil, followed closely by daffodils, tulips, forsythia and flowering cherry and dogwood trees that announce the arrival of the new season. Soon the entire park will blossom into a floral display of vibrant colors. To help you make the most of this floral celebration, we’ve compiled a list of our top bloom destinations, both hidden treasures and classic favorites. 

Grand Army Plaza

Grand Army Plaza is Prospect Park’s formal entrance, and features some of the park’s most impressive architecture, and ornamental flowers and trees. Among them, early-blooming cherry trees and daffodils are the first to arrive, along with colorful tulip displays. April welcomes Eastern redbud and pink-flowering cherry trees that give way to the white Silverbells in May. As summer approaches, watch for the clustered flowers of the bottlebrush buckeye.

LeFrak Center at Lakeside

At Lakeside, the spring blooms attract park visitors and wildlife alike! Park goers who visit the greenroof at Lakeside in early spring will be able to catch the vibrant yellows, oranges and reds of Witch Hazel. As April advances, Lakeside receives a fresh coating of delicate white blossoms from the many Serviceberry, Chokeberry, Witch Alder, and Foxglove Beardtongue that are buzzing with activity, as well as blooms of yellow from the Fragrant Sumac and Spicebush. Late spring brings with it a crescendo of flowering dogwoods and dewberries, and those with a keen eye might just spot a few of the subtle, deep purple blossoms of Lakeside’s paw paw trees!

Litchfield Villa

The historic Litchfield Villa is a well-known destination for flower lovers. In April, tulips electrify Carmen’s Garden, located directly in front of the pre-Civil War-era mansion, heralding the arrival of warm weather. In May, blossoming crabapple and hawthorn trees paint the landscape in pinks and whites, while annual displays replace the fading tulips. Be sure to head around back to see cream-colored flowers of the Korean dogwood trees.

Long Meadow

Passing through the Meadowport or Endale Arch in mid-April, visitors are welcomed by the peach and white bouquet of magnolia and dogwood trees that line the Long Meadow’s north end. The warmer weather brings out lilacs, as well as the hanging flowers of the yellowwood tree.  Later in the season, enjoy the view under the shade of a flowering linden tree, and take in the sweet scent of the oakleaf hydrangea near the Picnic House.

Ravine

Those with an adventurous spirit should head across Binnen Bridge and past the Nethermead to the Park’s woodland Ravine. Look for spicebush with its clusters of white flowers and small red fruits that are rich in nutrients for small birds. Marshy areas are home to chokeberry, a deciduous shrub native to New York, and also American elder. Both shrubs feature berries that attract a variety of wildlife, making them instrumental in the health and diversity of Prospect Park’s natural habitats.

Bartel-Pritchard Square

Prospect Park is home to a few dedicated flower gardens. In addition to Grand Army Plaza and Carmen’s Garden, Bartel-Pritchard Square features a variety of springtime blooms. The arching beautybush sprouts small pink flowers with a reddish bud, and it’s hard to miss the old-fashioned weigela, an ornamental shrub with beautiful trumpet-shaped lavender flowers.

Plan your visit to Prospect Park. 

Emerald Ash Borer Discovered in Prospect Park

October 27, 2017

Today, the New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) and Environmental Conservation (DEC) confirmed the first-ever discovery of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in New York City in Prospect Park.  Of an initial survey of 10 suspected trees in Prospect Park by Prospect Park Alliance—the non-profit that cares for the Park in partnership with the City, three were confirmed to be infested by this invasive pest by a Cornell University researcher. 

Prospect Park Alliance has removed three trees to date that succumbed to this infestation, located along the Ocean Avenue perimeter of the Park, and additional affected trees in this area will be removed over the winter. NYC Parks, DEC, DAM and Prospect Park Alliance are taking immediate action to limit the spread of infestation and protect New York City’s more than 51,000 ash trees.

“The Emerald Ash Borer infestation was detected in Prospect Park thanks to vigilant monitoring of the tree population by Prospect Park Alliance arborists, a year-round tree crew committed to the protection and preservation of the Park’s 30,000 trees,” said John Jordan, Director of Landscape Management for Prospect Park Alliance. “The Alliance will continue to monitor ash trees in the Park, and will work closely with New York City Parks Department, USDA and DEC to continue tracking and responding to this infestation.”

EAB is a non-native species of beetle whose larvae kill trees by burrowing into the inner bark and thus interrupting the circulation of water and vital nutrients. EAB-infested trees are characterized by thin crowns, sprouts on the trunks of the trees, and the signature d-shaped exit holes adult beetles leave on trees’ bark. EAB only affects ash trees, which constitute roughly three percent of NYC’s street trees. EAB has been present in New York State since 2009.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently awarded a $75,000 Urban Forestry Grant to the Prospect Park Alliance to conduct a tree inventory of Prospect Park. The inventory will include an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 trees in the landscaped areas of the park, representing about half of the total population. The tree inventory will include an invasive insect, pest, and disease detection survey by incorporating the USDA Forest Service early pest detection protocol (IPED).

Help support Prospect Park Alliance’s work to sustain the Park’s 30,000 trees by donating a commemorative tree; becoming a member or making a donation to the Alliance.
 
Additional information about EAB is available on the DEC website.