Hello fellow readers, If I may share the story of how I learned about activities to help the Preservation of the Paulinskill River.
A friend from Stillwater stumped me when he asked what the plastic tubes are along routes 80 and 94. The plastic thingies look like tree tubes of sorts, but the mystery is, you can’t see any signs of trees. Curt (my better half) thought the tubes were part of a Superfund cleanup to vent toxic gas. In years past, waste was routinely dumped along rivers or open spaces. Congress initiated the Superfund program in 1980, and tons of cleanup is still ongoing.
I reached out to my go-to mystery solver of all things in nature, Dennis of Blairstown. “Yes, they are tree tubes. The Nature Conservancy has planted trees and shrubs along the Paulinskill River,” he said. “There are very small trees inside the tubes to protect them from rodents.”
I asked if he knew what species were planted as many of us have low-lying areas that can flood and are curious about the initiative’s history. Mr. Speedy reached out to Allen Barlow of The Nature Conservancy in charge of the project and learned they received a large grant from the Dodge Foundation “to help restore the open bottomlands next to the Paulinskill River. They’ve planted about 25,000 trees so far.”
In the lineup are Yellow Birch / Betula alleghaniensis – a native species with bright gold fall color. It’s not often seen in the trades but worth scouting for the beautiful yellow-brown or red-brown bark. Oil of wintergreen can be distilled from the tree, which is likely why deer favor it. They’ve also planted River Birch / Betula nigra, which I often recommend for its magnificent salmon-colored peeling bark, glorious yellow fall color, and deer resistance.
There’s Pin Oak / Quercus palustris, one of the fastest-growing oaks, and Swamp White Oak/ Quercus bicolor, which tolerates wet soil and occasional flooding, as can Carpinus caroliliana is known as Ironwood or American Hornbeam. There’s Black Willow/ Salix nigra (deer almost surely stay clear of willows) and Red Maple/Acer rubrum sporting brilliant red foliage come fall. The American Sweetgum / Liquidambar styraciflua, with glossy star-shaped leaves, has a glorious mix of fall color. Of course, Platanus occidentalis, also known as American Sycamore or Planetree, is in the lineup – known for handling wet feet and striking camouflage mottled trunks.
Thanks, Dennis. Grateful to know we have baby trees and not toxic waste!