The Beautification Department oversees the gardens, trees, shrubs, and barrel planters within the confines of the town owned properties. One exception being the barrels located on privately owned commercial property. The department also provides support to the senior's vegetable and herb garden that is located at the East Fishkill Community Center. It gets involved with indoor and outdoor seasonal decorating such as the display of flags and wreaths on utility poles. It also maintains this webpage for the public to share and stay informed on gardening and environmental issues. It is the wish of this department to improve the quality of others by providing pleasing visual stimuli.
The department has a desire for the town to become a Tree City USA participant. It also would like to provide the community with superior gardens by developing four-season appeal in the perennial beds.
Websites (links & PDF's) mentioned here are provided as a courtesy to our readers for educational purposes only. Mention of these websites does not imply endorsement by the Town of East Fishkill or by the author of this site.
Help your community bloom and look beautiful. Adopt an existing roadside planting barrel. All that is required is a commitment to water and weed your barrel twice a week. Commitment starts mid May and ends mid October. This is a great opportunity for a student, scout or senior citizen. Contact the Beautification Department for more details or download a maintenance agreement.
A place to share and discuss horticulture, ecology, and environmental issues. Horticulture is the art and science of the cultivation or raising of plants. The Beautification Department is focusing on native ecology. When speaking of ecology, native or indigenous means species present by nature not introduced or foreign. The New England Wild Flower Society says, "native is broadly defined as a plant having occurred before European settlement in North America."
Do you have a question or a concern or do you need to ID a plant. Contact the Horticulture Hotline, (845) 677-5067 Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County.
Quote from the Hedge
What is up with volcano mulching?
While traveling around the area there have been several volcano-mulching sightings. The practice can eventually kill the plant that it is supposedly protecting. This is a review of safe mulching:
1. Know the source - mulch can be a cause of pests and diseases
2. Use soy based ink newspaper as first layer (around 5 sheets thick) for additional weed barrier - paper will eventually breakdown
3. Pile mulch 2 - 4 inches high - allows for better water retention so soil does not dry out so easily
4. Cover entire root ball or drip line surface whichever is wider, spread out evenly
5. Avoid letting the mulch touch the trunk (stem), allow *3 - 4 inches of space (*depends on size - the smaller the plant the less room needed and visa versa) - touching allows the tree trunk or plant to rot or become diseased - it's just asking for trouble
Purdue University Picture of the Week Volcano Muclching
Cornell sighting (JPG)
Tree Care Topics & Related Brochures, look for Plant Healthcare for Proper mulching techniques from Trees Are Good website
Passing on a tip: When cutting ornamental grasses in early spring or late fall, tie up the grass with a string or rope before cutting it. This will help with the clean-up. Ornamental grasses can be quite sharp when green or browned up so long pants, long sleeve shirt and gloves are recommended when cutting or transplanting them.
Native Plant Discussion
Is native flora important?
Before answering this, here are some things to consider from the New England Wild Flower Society:
Book: Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens written by Douglas W. Tallamy
Here is a resource for Native Plants: Find Native Plants, New England
Pest Management: Invasive & Beneficial Species
Invasiveness Assessment Scores & Ranks for 183 Nonnative Plant Species (PDF)
A town resident brought in a sample of a plant that likes to creep along in the grass. The plant was identified as Ground Ivy or Creeping Charlie. Its botanical name is Glechoma hederacea L. and it has been listed as weedy or invasive.
Cicada Killer Wasp: If you wish to deter this insect from burrowing near your house or in your yard, keep your turf thick and gardens well mulched. They like sandy soil or look for bare spots in your lawn. Fact Sheet from Texas University.
This is a partial list of highly invasive species. Most of these species are foreign and take away vital space from our native plants. Some have the capacity to take over and smoother very large areas. These invasive's lack the support that our native plants can offer our native insects and wildlife.
Invasive plants to watch out for are Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata), Mile-A-Minute Vine (Persicaria perfoliata), Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora), Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), and Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
Click here to read an interesting article about a bug eating the Kudzu plant. A subscription or sign in is required to view NY Times' article.
The next three listed are commonly sold and planted in our area: Japanese Barberry Bush (Berberis thunbergii), Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus), Norway Maple Tree (UConn) (Acer platanoides). Pennsylvania Dept of Conservation & Natural Resources published a Norway Maple (PDF) fact sheet click here to view it. Please consider using alternative native plants instead. Click Here (PDF) for some choices. The following link explains the invasive behavior of these three plants: New Hampshire Agriculture Document (PDF)
Read an article: Scientists link invasive barberry to Lyme disease
Here is another foreign plant species that exhibits highly invasive behavior the Pyrus calleryana. Better know as the cultivar Bradford Pear. This tree has invaded the wild and is currently being studied. Please consider planting a native plant in its place. Such as, Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis), Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus), Green Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis) or Two-Winged Silverbell (Halesia diptera var. magniflora).
Mile-a-Minute vine was found in Lagrange in the summer (2007) so there is a threat that it will be creeping into East Fishkill. This invasive plant spreads by seeds. Animals eat the berries from the plants that contain the seeds. The seeds pass through the animal's body so he deposits them while traveling. Another way this plant invades other areas is via water. Seeds flow with the current of the streams, creeks and rivers so there is no telling how far they will journey. Mile-a-Minute-vine, Persicaria perfoliata, previously known as Polygonum perfoliatum is in the Buckwheat family (Polygonaceae). Click here for a Mile-a-Minute Fact Sheet (PDF).
Tree of Heaven - Ailanthus altissima, looks very similar to Sumac
Click Here for Cornell Insect Diagnostic Labrotory Fact Sheets
These invasive insects or plant diseases are already in the Hudson Valley (click on the links for more information):
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (in the Hudson Valley from Cornell University) feeds on corn, peppers, tomatoes, apples and peaches. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug website. Here is a link to an article that chickens may help with the infestation of stink bugs.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid US Forest Service
Viburnum Leaf Beetle Cornell University
These invasive insects or plant diseases are headed towards the Hudson Valley:
Boxwood Blight (PDF) (Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum PDF) has been ID'd in Connecticut (Fairfield County), North Carolina, New York (Long Island) and Virginia. The symptoms include leaf-spots and blight (wither), rapid defoliation, black cankers on stem and severe dieback. Here is a list of alternative shrubs for the boxwood. Look for dwarf cultivars of: Ilex crenata, Pieris japonica, Rhododendron spp., and Taxus baccata.
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was found in the Lower Hudson Valley Region. Here is a webinar link for homeowners explaining how the Emeral Ash Borer will effect our lives. It lncludes tree management. Identify ash trees by using this helpful PDF link Ash tree ID (Fraxinus spp.). Have you seen this statement lately? 'Don't Move Firewood!'. Firewood movement can spread invasive pests. Here is a link to an article, 'Insects Found In Nearly 50% Of Retail Firewood'. It is well documented that the Emerald Ash Borer has invaded isolated areas due to firewood movement. New York Invasive Species website has a lot of information pertaining to the EAB
Granulate Ambrosia Beetle North Carolina Sate University Coop Ext
To find out when the EF Garden Club meets at the EF Library, check the library's webpage for the up-to-date web calendar. Just scroll down right-hand side and click on 'See Full Calendar'.
Check out these links
Here is a link that has many ideas and articles that was recommended by a fellow gardener. Enjoy! http://www.gardenforever.com/