Beautification Department Mission Statement
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.
Beautification Department Vision Statement
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.
Adopt A Barrel
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
"There is no perfect gardening practice so keep practicing your gardening!"
Below are a couple of methods for lawn care that lean towards being earth friendly from Cornell University or Cornell Cooperative Extension
Homeowners Lawn Care Water Quality Almanac (PDF, Suffolk)
Lawn Care without Pesticides (PDF, Suffolk)
Just Mow It: A Guide to Grass Recycling (PDF, Suffolk)
Repetive Overseeding - Increase Your Lawn Density (PDF, Rensselear)
Cornell Lawn Pest Control - Suffolk County
Teachers, Educators & Scout Leaders
Here are educational links:
Arbor Day Poster Contest (5th Grade) NYS DEC
Kids Ecology Corps - Activities (Non-Profit)
Native Plant List for NY, NJ & PA
What is a annual? Mr. Cullina states, in the book Understanding Perennials, annuals are "those that complete their lifecycle in one growing season."
What is a perennial? William Cullina put it this way in his book Understanding Perennials, "a plant that survives from year to year in a temperate climate but dies back to just above or below the ground at the onset of the dormant season."
National Gardening Association: To Cut or Not to Cut a perennial before cold weather strikes.
A shrub is defined as "a woody plant that is never tree-like in habit and produces branches or shoots from or near the base" from the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants written by Michael A. Dirr.
I met a gentleman that was having problems with a Hydrangea bush. Here is some advice to help your Hydrangea's bloom: Tip One: Do little or no pruning because once the blooms are set it would be a shame to cut them off. Tip Two: Protect from winter temperatures by covering plant before single digit temps hit. Tip Three: Plant Hydrangeas in a guarded area with a southern exposure and away from wind. Click on this link for more details.
A tree is described by Dirr as "a woody plant with one main stem at least 12 to 15 feet tall, and having a distinct head in most cases", in the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.
2012 Urban Tree of the Year: Accolade Elm, Ulmus 'Morton'
Link from DEC: Care and Pruning of Damaged Trees
Trees & Destress: Study of tree coverage and newborn babies.
Cornell Guide for Planting & Maintaining Trees & Shrubs (link to PDF)
Learn about Oak Wilt Disease
How are your evergreens doing? Take a peek at the 'Stress-related Conifer Dieback Fact Sheet' (PDF) provided by Purdue University.
University of Missouri Extension, First Aid for Storm Damaged Trees
Michigan State University, Dealing with Storm Damaged Trees
Road Salt & Trees, Cornell
Here is an interesting article written by Peter Del Tredici: Nature Abhors a Garden
Check out 'All-American Selections' for award winning varieties of fruits, vegetables and perennials.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Find out what hardiness zone your are in by clicking on Plant Hardiness Zone Map. According to this map Hopewell Junction is in zone 6A (-10 to -5 F) which has changed over the years it use to be 5B.
Small Scale Composting: Cornell University Compost Basics
Start composting indoors with worms. Special worms called Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetida) can be used to eat some of your garbage. They will eat food scraps and shredded paper products. Here is a link from the University of Nebraska on Vermicomposting to help you get started.
Here is an article that explains the importance of testing your soil.
Sarah Hulick and Lori Brewer's Selected List of Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners in New York State 2014 (PDF). They are from the Horticulture Department of Cornell Univerisity.
Website for 2015 Vegetable Variety List for NY gardeners from Cornell
USDA, Agricultural Research: Fruits & Vegetables
Guidelines for Harvesting Vegetables by Cornell (PDF)
Here is a link for Cornell University Vegetable MD Online in case you have problems with disease in your garden.
Link to Cornell University Vegetable MD Online: Disease Fact Sheets listed by crop
Link to Cornell University: Managing Pests in the Vegetable Garden
Vegetable Pathology website highlights: Late blight on tomatoes - see link for more information from Cornell LI Extension
Late blight on tomatoes & potatoes - see link from Cornell
Fall Garden Clean-up
Winter storage of: Canna, Dahlia, Gladiolus corms, Caladium, Geranium from Purdue University, check out this PDF for advice.
In planting zone 6 it is recommended to plant bulbs mid October or before a hard frost. Remember to water them upon planting so rootwork can establish and mark site with a popsicle stick. Cover bulbs at or just below ground level with chicken wire to protect rodents from digging them up. Hide chicken wire with soil or mulch. Wait for spring display. Here are some more tips from Cornell Univerisity.
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
Where have all the native bees gone? There has been a decline in bee population in Hopewell Junction. Is the Colony Collapse Disorder to blame? Read more from the USDA about the subject by clicking here.
Read an article 'In Defense of Native Bees' written by Karen Lyness LeBlanc to learn more about the problems of bees.
Check out this Oregon State University press release about 'Protecting Bees from Pesticides'.
Where has our bat population gone? Read more about the disease that has wiped out a large portion of our bats.
Check out this link from the US Fish & Wildlife Service on White-nose Syndrome (PDF)
Rain Gardening & Rain Harvesting Discussion
Why plant rain gardens?
One reason is to filter pollutants before they enter a natural body of water like the Fishkill Creek. Another reason is to filter water of pollutants before they reach a man-made sewer system. If run-off from a rain event reaches a creek or sewer before filtering through soil it is very likely the water run-off will be polluted and it turn pollute the body of water which it enters such as the Fishkill Creek.
And still another reason might be to protect a drinking water resource. When water filters through the earth it becomes cleaner before entering the ground water. Ground water, also called an aquifer, is a source of drinking water. When run-off is channeled through the earth rather than entering streams and sewers directly, the aquifer fills up with cleaner water.
What is a rain garden?
One online source Wikepedia states that a rain garden is "a planted depression that is designed to absorb rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, and compacted lawn areas." The source continues to tell us that, "this reduces rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater."
A book, Creating Rain Gardens, written by Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and Apryl Uncapher, tells us that "a rain garden is a living water treatment system" and after water filters through soil "the water will be clean and cool by the time it ends up in the river".
Here is some information pertaining to rain gardening......
Link to Rain Gardens Across Maryland (52pg PDF)
Link to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. After going to link type 'Rain Gardens' into search line.
To download a coy of their booklet go to:
UConn, Office of Communications: Rain Gardens in Connecticut (PDF)
UConn, iPhone Application (i-Tunes), useful for rain garden basics, design, plant selection and installation.
New York State Stormwater Management scroll down & review pages 76-85 for Rain Gardens & pages 106-112 for Rain Barrels (PDF)
Please email comments about any of the above discussion topics and if noteworthy they will be posted.
Rain barrels can be used to catch the water run-off from buldings. For an example put one under a leader pipe of a house or shed to store water for later use. This way when a vegetable garden needs watering you will have some on hand. Check out the following websites for proper installation and more information. The following links are for educational purposes only.
ArlingtonEcho Outdoor Education Center
SpruceCreek Rain Saver
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.
Invasive Plant Species
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
Pest Management: Invasive Insects
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
Article from the Past
Hedge Calendar & Events
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'.
Arbor & Earth Day
Join the Town of East Fishkill on Saturday, April 23, 2016 from 9:00 am - 12:00 noon in celebration of Earth and Arbor Day at a venue TBA. Activities planned for adults and kids.
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/