As President of FLPA, Ted Kozlowski brings to the organization his skills and background including; an AAS Degree in Conservation ( 1976 -SUNY Cobleskill), BS Natural Resource Management -Forestry (1979 -Rutgers University).
Four years as a NYSDEC Forester on Long Island (1979 -1984), 36 Years (1984 -2020) as Westchester County Forester and Manager of Lasdon Park, Arboretum & Veterans Memorial. Certified Forester by the Society of American Foresters, Certified Watershed Forester by the NYC Watershed Program, Certified Pesticide Applicator -Forest & Ornamentals, Certified Wetland Delineator (Rutgers University).
Presently serves as the Environmental Conservation Inspector for the Town of Patterson, performs private forestry and wetland consulting and volunteers as the President of the Friends of Lasdon Park & Arboretum.
March 20 is the earliest Spring date in over 100 years and it could not have come fast enough. With the uncertainties of a pandemic virus we can seek the calm and seclusion of gardening and planting trees. I hope you all are well.
With Spring comes the urge to go to garden centers and buy plants, mulch and fertilizer for the lawns and trees. But wait, stop and understand something about plant “food”. There is a misunderstood thing about fertilizing and food. Plants and trees don’t need to be fed food. They make it themselves. We are incorrectly told that fertilizer is food. Fertilizer is nutrients (somewhat like vitamins) that plants use in their metabolic processes.
The very first and most important thing about trees is this: Trees go back over three hundred million years. They survived mass extinctions and evolved to harness the suns’ energy where they make their own food in the form of sugars. For the most part they came from the forest where they grew collectively in a complex of soils, water, microorganisms and biodiversity. Lawns, city streets, parks and parking lots are alien to them, but because of their great ability to survive, they adapt. We need to think like a tree if we are to care for them. And one thing is fertilizer.
Generally trees have all they need when they are growing in the forest. The soils provide the nutrients (the elements found in fertilizer like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) from the organic matter and water. The sun provides the energy in which trees harness to convert into sugars and thus –their food.
Most of your typical garden soils and lawn soils provide much of the elements your tree will need. But there are situations where fertilizer or other soil amendments may be necessary. The only way to know is to have the soil tested. You can do it yourself with a test kit, give a sample to Cooperative Extension, ask if your garden center will test it or ask an arborist. Once you know the soil pH and the % of elements within the soil, you can look up your tree online and see what conditions it needs. Then you decide if to fertilize or not. The same is true for lawns. Read the label and follow the directions on the fertilizer bag.
Over fertilizing is not a good thing. It can harm the tree and will likely flow off the site when it rains and cause problems with streams and water bodies. If you are applying herbicides (weed control) within fertilizers please read the label very carefully. It could harm your trees. Remember that tree roots grow way beyond the dripline of the canopy of the tree. They will absorb what you put down on your lawn.
I don’t fertilize my trees. I eliminate the lawn area around my trees and mulch it with aged natural mulch. Much like what a natural forest floor would provide.
One other thing. Don’t be fooled by the weather. Some places sell warm season vegetables and plants way too soon. They get shipments up from the South and have to move their products. Check the frost free date for your area. Tomatoes planted in April or early May will not do well. They are tropical plants. A cold spell or a cold rain will destroy your efforts. Be patient.