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.

Autumn in New York

While there will be some warm summer like days ahead, autumn will inevitably show up and remind us of long pants, sweaters and the turning of leaves.  Probably the most asked question about trees in my career is the process of how and why leaves turn color and fall off trees.

Long ago when the dinosaurs ruled the world, a new class of trees began to evolve in the latter part of the dinosaur era known as angiosperms – the flowering trees (magnolias, oaks, maples to name a few).  One characteristic of the flowering trees is that they cease most of their life activity during the cold months, drop their leaves and become dormant.  Here is where the fall colors come in.

During the process of photosynthesis the chloroplast cells within a tree leaf absorb the wavelengths of sunlight and use it in their process of making food (glucose).  Chlorophyll is a pigment within leaf chloroplasts that absorbs the blue and red wavelengths of sunlight to use in the food production process.  Chlorophyll does not use the green wavelengths and reflects the green wavelengths back.  We see reflected wavelengths of light, so we see green reflected back to us in the chlorophyll.  This is why leaves are green and forests are green – it is reflected, unused light wavelength.

When the tree is active other pigments are also present for the photosynthesis process.  As days become shorter in autumn, the decreasing sunlight signals the trees to shut down for the upcoming winter.  Chlorophyll production stops before the other pigments.  For a brief time these other pigments are still active and no longer hidden by the green chlorophyll.  Reds, yellows and purples are the colors of the remaining pigments within the tree leaf, depending upon the tree species.

Bright sunny autumn days followed by cold nights enhance the colors because the remaining sugars in the leaves cannot be transported out of the leaf and you get to see some beautiful colors.  Columbus Day is usually the beginning of the prime viewing season and it goes up to Halloween.  Once all the cells die off the leaf falls to the ground to recycle back into the soil.

Weather plays a factor in our fall display and I am afraid we may have a below par year in 2020.  We are in somewhat of a drought at this time because this summer has been fairly hot and dry.  Ground moisture is low and this can cause leaves to fall early and not produce the vibrant colors we expect.  With that in mind, it is advisable to irrigate your trees and plants accordingly.

The most colorful trees around here are the maples, oaks, tupelo, hickory and dogwood.  You can find them all here at Lasdon Park.