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Arborists Clip Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site was the recipient of a great volunteer enterprise by the Long Island Arboricultural Association (LIAA) on Saturday, March 23. Each year, since 1990, members have celebrated Arbor Day by donating a tree and tree care services to a public-owned facility. This year it was Sagamore Hill. In the past they have volunteered locally at Planting Fields, 2011; and at Chelsea-Muttontown Preserve in 2008. Their first event in 1990 was at Belmont State Park, at the Historic Belmont Pines on the Southern State Parkway.

It was a daunting procedure as it was in the middle of the highway. It was done with the help of then NYS Senator Owen H. Johnson of West Babylon who attended the March 23 event representing Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Jean Dodd, LIAA president explained, “At each event, we have sponsored and coordinated the efforts of 75 plus volunteers representing many tree care firms and different aspects of the green industry. We have donated at least $50,000-worth of tree care at each of our Arbor Day Pruning Projects. Our Arbor Day program is by far the largest in the entire country in both monetary value and number of participants.”

 

Well-known Oyster Bay Cove resident Richard Weir, a horticulturist, commented on the importance of the work.

 

“This event is so special because to my knowledge there is no other professional organization that sponsors such an incredible activity done annually to honor Arbor Day and to assist various public parks and preserves that don’t have the funds to do tree work,” Weir said. “Today, there are just not the funds to do that. Additionally it is amazing when you get such an amalgamation of different arborcultural businesses working together for the same cause.”

 

Weir said the work was delayed that morning because of a giant sugar maple tree that was being taken down. It was located on the road next to the Visitor’s Center. The tree was disassembled piece-by-piece with great care and precision. When it finally fell, there was a cheer from the crowd.

 

“It reached its life expectancy,” said Eric Witzke, SHNHS chief of maintenance. He said the tree would have cost $4,000 to remove. The price is the result of the cost of the equipment, the degree of safety training of the arborists, the safety of the work performed and the removal of the debris.

 

The Friends of Sagamore Hill provided a lunch for the workers using the services of Bob Liebold of Gooseberry Grove and Dunkin’ Donuts of Oyster Bay. FOSH President Roy Fuchs said of the work of the LIAA, “Because of
the sequestration, this is really great.”

 

Arbor Day is a state holiday celebrated 12 months of the year throughout the U.S.A. In April, 35 states celebrate along with New York, including the District of Columbia. NYS celebrates on the last Friday of April — this year on April 26.

 

Every year the LIAA membership provides tree work including pruning, removals, fertilization, mulching, and tree planting by donation to a site of choice. They presented a disease resistant Dutch elm to SHNHS.

 

Superintendent Thomas Ross, who accepted the tree, said it would be planted in an appropriate part of the cultural landscape later. He added that because the site is under restoration the event took place on the carriage road.

 

SAHI Arbor Day Work Order:

 

• Large Norway Maple [or Sugar Maple] on corner of fence by Visitor Center — remove.

 

• 4 Pines (2 by house, 2 by new barn) — remove.

 

• 1 Honey Locust on far side of road – fell (can leave wood).

 

• Approx. 6 Norway maples, etc. on carriage road by the pet cemetery — remove.

 

• Black Birch on historic trail — fell (can leave wood, chip brush).

 

• Plant a DED resistant Elm to replace missing Elm on carriage road (donated by LIAA).

 

• Row of Sugar Maples on fence line — crown clean (remove dead wood), structural prune, thin.

 

• Lower South field ravine area (behind staff residence) — improve appearance by vine removal, selective tree removal and pruning.

 

• General clean-up of areas along County road, in ravine area (removal of debris in some areas, fell windblown trees in other areas).

 

• Prune deadwood and raise some trees along main service road to accommodate access for emergency vehicles.

 

• General pruning of deadwood in trees around the park.

 

• Cut vines out of high visibility trees and selective tree removal in ravine next to Superintendent’s residence.

 

• Prune (shape to previous structure) all flowering Cherries in parking lot and Crabapples and Cherries by gardener shed.

 

• Grind approx. 36 stumps throughout property.

 

• To Be Determined: Donation of two Sugar Maples from LIAA — planted in row of Sugar Maples along fence line.

When this reporter returned to Sagamore Hill to pick up an item, there was no debris remaining from the work. The LIAA volunteers left a pristine Sagamore Hill behind them.