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.

c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Make the Most of Fall Foliage in Prospect Park

October 16, 2017

Fall in Prospect Park is a magical season as the Park lights up in a stunning display of red, orange and yellow foliage. We’ve got you covered with ideas for foliage walks, favorite foliage from Alliance arborists, free nature activities, and some gorgeous fall photography; all to inspire you to get out and enjoy this glorious season in the Park:

Fall Foliage Walks
Prospect Park Alliance has suggested some of the favorite routes through the Park to check out the stunning fall foliage, from the Peninsula up Lookout Hill, from the Nethermead, the Lullwater and beyond.

Facts about Foliage
Why does an oak tree blush red while the ginko glows gold? According to Prospect Park Alliance arborists, the answer is in the very leaves themselves. Plus, the arborists let us in on their favorite fall foliage spots in the Park.

Fall Foliage Slideshow
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite fall foliage photos from past years on Instagram! Take a look to get inspired, then head out to the Park and take your own. Make sure to hashtag your pics with #ProspectPark.

Fall Nature Events in Prospect Park
Want to learn more about the exciting changes the Park experiences during the fall? Join the Prospect Park Alliance for Nature Exploration programs at the Prospect Park Audubon Center, fun for all ages. 

Francisco Davila

Alliance at Work: Wintertime with the Arborists

February 16, 2017

In these cold winter months, some aspects of Park maintenance go into a state of hibernation, and many Alliance staff members wait patiently and plan for the upcoming spring season. Not so for arborists Francisco Davila and Christopher Gucciardo, who take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the winter.

“Our job is year-round,” says Francisco Davila, Arboriculture Supervisor for Prospect Park Alliance, “and every season brings its own set of tasks.”  Prospect Park Alliance arborists have a big task set for them in the care and maintenance of the Park’s more than 30,000 trees, which represent more than 200 species. This is Brooklyn’s last remaining forest, and it is an important wildlife habitat that supports more than 250 species of birds, and countless other creatures.

So what exactly does an arborist do during this chilly time of year? “During the winter we focus on tree pruning and assessments. Since trees are without leaves, winter does provide us the luxury to very quickly spot issues such as cracks, rubbing branches and of course dead limbs. Winter is also a great time for us to scout and plan the future of our canopy by selecting planting sites for our Commemorative Tree Program.”

During this season, it isn’t uncommon to happen upon Davila and his crew taking down tree limbs or removing a tree altogether. So why are they doing this? “Being in a historic park such as Prospect Park we have a lot of beautiful mature trees. We are never happy to remove trees but when we do, it’s because of warranted reasons,” said Davila. When his crew or a Park visitor spots a damaged or unhealthy tree, they assess the situation, “we try to evaluate the tree’s integrity and potential risks to determine if we are going to remove it. The same goes for tree limbs. In making these decisions, overall safety always comes first.”

One of the most fun aspects of winter work for an arborist? “The new views you get from the canopy,” says Davila. “Since the trees have lost their leaves, when you are climbing you get new vast unobstructed views. It’s awesome.”

The life of a city tree is never an easy one, but the Alliance arborists work year-round to keep these Park residents happy and healthy, so next time you take a walk in the Park, look up! You might just see an arborist taking in the view.

Learn more about the Commemorative Tree Program.