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Highbridge Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, March 12, 2001

A NEW TREATMENT FOR THE ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE


Attention Parkies in the field: if you notice small plastic canisters inserted into trees from April to June this year, it's part of a protective measure against the Asian Longhorned Beetle, the insect responsible for destruction of New York City's trees. If gone unchecked, the beetle will threaten our entire North Eastern Forest, including New York City's 5 million trees. Until now, the only way to fight the beetle has been to remove, chip, and incinerate all infested trees.

Parks' partners in the effort to combat the beetle are the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and New York State's Department of Agriculture & Markets. As of April 1, we will initiate the use of a treatment specially developed to control the damage of the Asian Longhorned Beetle. Imidacloprid (commercial name: Imicide®), which has already been used in Chicago, is injected into the tree base through small plastic canisters, and is dispersed through the tree's circulatory system. The treatment is naturally absorbed into the tree, moving upward into stems, twigs, and foliage. From April to June this year when trees become active and begin to bud, we will inject 12,800 trees with Imidacloprid: 8,800 in New York City and 4,000 in Long Island. In New York City the injections will occur in parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. The application of the treatment will kill adult beetles, saving scores of trees from destruction. The procedure will be funded by $1.5 million in Federal funds.

With the help of Mayor Rudolph W. (Eagle) Giuliani and Vic (Beetlejuice) Mastro, Center Director of the OTIS Plant Protection Center at United States Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern and Fiona (Treetop) Watt, Chief of Central Forestry announced our use of the treatment at a press conference in the Arsenal Gallery on Thursday, March 8, 2001. Mr. Mastro demonstrated the injection.

To date, $14 million has been spent in Federal, State, and City funding on the tree survey program and the removal of infested trees. Over the past five years City, State, and Federal inspectors have surveyed more than 250,000 trees in New York for evidence of the beetle. The City and State have removed 2,989 trees on public and private property in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. Approximately 1,390 have been removed by Parks and 1,600 by New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets. Tree survey and removal constitute our primary efforts to control the Asian Longhorned Beetle, and they will continue to do so. State and federal inspectors will continue to expand their intensive survey efforts, and infested trees will be removed as soon as they are identified.

The Asian Longhorned Beetle was first discovered in this country in August 1996 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The beetle feeds on, tunnels into, weakens, and eventually kills every tree it encounters. It is restrained by no natural predators. Since its discovery Parks has worked with State and Federal agencies to identify and eradicate the beetle. Discoveries in Queens and Manhattan prompted the removal of infested trees in Bayside Queens, Flushing, Queens, Ruppert Playground on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lower Manhattan, and Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the establishment of quarantine zones in areas of concern. Since 1996, 5,000 infested trees in the City and on Long Island have been removed.

Additional information about the beetle, the tree surveys, and the new treatment can be found on our website at www.nyc.gov/parks or the USDA site at www.aphis.usda.gov.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Monday, March 21, 1988)

HIGHBRIDGE PARK REVISITED
LAUNCHES SECOND YEAR OF 5x5s

Brandishing a ceremonial saber, Commissioner Stern led the Susan E. Wagner High School Marching Band, and more than 100 Parks workers across High Bridge in northern Manhattan Friday morning. The "charge" into Highbridge Park, site of the city's first "5x5" one year ago, officially launched the second year of citywide spruce-ups and symbolized the agency's renewed battle against debris in city parks.

The self-funded "5x5" program, which targets five major park sites in each of the five boroughs is the largest in-house parks maintenance campaign in decades.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come."

Chinese Proverb

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