Tag: ww_news

Willowwood Now Open Daily 8 am to Dusk

As Covid restrictions have eased a bit, we are pleased to announce that the Willowwood Arboretum is open to visitors Daily 8 am to Dusk. All Buildings will be closed. A porta john will be available.

We ask that our guests continue to follow all social distancing guidelines and recommendations. Masks and 6′ distances between guests of different groups.

Instagram followers: https://www.instagram.com/willowwoodarboretumfoundation/ has wonderful and up to date photos of the gardens.

Emerald Ash Borer

D-shaped exit hole of EAB adults.
© DAvid R. McKay, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

Since its discovery in Michigan in 2002, the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis or EAB) has destroyed hundreds of millions of ash trees throughout the United States. This invasive insect is native to Asia and attacks all species of ash (Fraxinus) as well as other members of the olive (Oleaceae) plant family including the native White Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus). Since its first detection, EAB has spread to over 30 US states and 2 Canadian provinces. In New Jersey, EAB has been detected in 14 of the state’s 21 counties, including detections in Morris County, which has the densest populations of ash trees in the state. With a predicted 99% mortality rate for all ash trees in New Jersey, the number of ash trees lost due to EAB in the state could easily reach over 24 million.

EAB adult and larva.

The Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle belonging to the Buprestidae family, commonly known as Jewel Beetles. An adult EAB is about 1/2” long and has a dark metallic green coloring. The adult beetles emerge from the trunks of trees in the late spring, leaving behind a distinctive D-shaped exit holes that are about 4mm in size. Adult EABs then feed off of the tree’s foliage for the next few weeks before mating. Although adult EABs do cause some damage to the tree’s canopy, it is the young larval stages of the insect that cause the most damage. Female EABs can lay up to 100 eggs on the trunk of a tree. Once hatched, the EAB larvae begin to chew through the tree’s bark until they reach its nutrient and water conducting tissues. The larvae then feed through the summer and fall seasons, creating serpentine feeding galleries throughout the tree’s vascular cambium. This feeding not only depletes the tree of essential nutrients, but also blocks its ability to transport water, eventually killing the tree within one to three years.

Feeding galleries of EAB larvae.
© Michigan Dept. of Agriculture, Bugwood.org

Control of EAB is difficult as most of the natural predators that keep their numbers in-check in Asia, do not exist in the United States. There are systemic chemical treatments that have shown to offer some protection, but these applications are very costly and must be made every two years. The USDA has also approved the release of some parasitoid species as a means of biocontrol, but the data on how effective these treatments are will take years to develop.

There are currently about a dozen ash trees considered to be part of the collection at Willowwood, with the majority of them being White Ash (Fraxiuns americana). Additionally, the Willowwood collection includes seven White Fringetrees. The health of the ash and fringetrees in the collection varies, with some being in good condition and others failing due to reasons other than EAB such as old age. After assessing the overall health of the ash and fringetree collection, it has been determined that 11 of the trees will be treated systemically to prevent EAB. However, this does not take into account the many ash trees that comprise the wood lines and forested areas at Willowwood.

Over the past two years the Natural Resources Department of the Morris County Park Commission has inventoried and mapped over 12,000 ash trees throughout 34 park facilities as part of their EAB Response Plan. All of the trees inventoried are considered to be in high-use areas and pose a potential risk to buildings, people, roadways and trails. The goal of this plan is to remove all of the inventoried ash trees before they begin to show signs of decline. At Willowwood, there are currently 57 ash trees that fall into this category.

The MCPC has been working with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to release parasitoid wasps through the EAB Biocontrol Program. The park commission has also selected other trees, beyond those in the Willowwood collection, of historic and/or aesthetic value at other horticultural and historic sites to be treated for EAB. Arborjet, a leading manufacturer of trunk injection equipment and chemicals, has also shown interest in partnering with the MCPC to provide equipment and treatment for ash trees as well as other trees of significance as part of their Saving America’s Iconic Trees program. Replacement plantings of native trees are also planned for some of the areas that will be most impacted by ash tree removal. For more information on EAB and the complete MCPC EAB Response Plan, please visit MCPC website at morrisparks.net. There you will find a dedicated EAB page with answers to many frequently asked questions as well as links to additional EAB resources.

==Mark Inzano, Manager of Horticulture

When you could in New Jersey – and Touch Africa

Michele S. Byers, Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Published Daily Record Sept. 11, 2017

Thirty years ago, the King of Morocco made headlines when he bought the Natirar estate in Peapack-Gladstone, now a Somerset County park. King Hassan II may not have known, but there’s an ancient connection between his homeland and the Highlands region of New Jersey where Natirar (“Raritan” spelled backwards) is located.

Hundreds of millions of years ago, when the Earth had a single supercontinent called Pangaea, the eastern part of North America and western Africa were joined together. New Jersey’s Highlands mountains were connected to what is now Morocco before the continents broke apart.

And it is now possible to stand close to the boundary line where the two continents split.

The Willowwood Arboretum and Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center are side-by-side parks in Chester Township, Morris County. The parks, only a few miles from Natirar, are linked by the Patriots Path hiking trail, with a wooden footbridge crossing a small trout stream called the Bamboo Brook.

If that little footbridge had existed 450 million years ago (and if humans had existed!), you could have walked from New Jersey’s emerging giant peaks to those of the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
How do we know the tiny Bamboo Brook is part of an ancient continental boundary? According to Dr. Emile DeVito, New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s staff biologist and naturalist, the land’s hidden past is revealed by the underlying geology.
East of Bamboo Brook — where Natirar is located — soils are deep reddish brown, atop the sedimentary Brunswick shale of New Jersey’s Piedmont, a much younger geologic region. On the west side of the brook, soils are gray and stony, derived from the metamorphic rock of the New Jersey Highlands. Pockmarks of whitish-gray limestone hills dot the southeast course of Bamboo Brook, outcrops of ancient fossil shell beds that accumulated on the edge of a shallow tropical ocean.
How and when did North America and Africa split apart? It all has to do with plate tectonics, the theory of how landmasses float and drift on the Earth’s mantle.
“The movements of continental plates are slow, but also inexorable and cataclysmic,” explained Emile. “Plate tectonics resulted in both the amalgamation and eventual breakup of the supercontinent of Pangaea.”
Four hundred eighty-eight to four hundred forty-four million years ago, a landmass known as Avalonia (containing present-day pieces of Britain, Belgium, France, Spain, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New England, and northwest Africa) broke free from another landmass called Gondwanaland and floated westward, colliding into Laurentia (which would eventually become North America).
This slow-motion collision threw up immense mountains — as high as the modern-day Himalayas —which today are known as the Taconic, Allegheny and northern Appalachian mountains. Intense pressure and heat from the collision melted (metamorphosed) the interior rocks that formed the basement of these mountains. The tall peaks have long since eroded away, but the basement rocks supporting these mountains form the New Jersey Highlands — now nearly a half a billion years old.
During the time of the collision, primitive land plants began to colonize the continents. Earlier, the land was essentially lifeless, although oceans already teemed with life, including primitive fish.
Fast forward 140 million years. Primitive plants evolved into giant ferns and tree-like club mosses, invertebrates exploded onto lush green landscapes, and tetrapods (primitive amphibians that evolved from lobe-finned bony fish) climbed out of the seas. By the end of the Carboniferous period 299 million years ago, lush tropical forests covered what is now eastern North America, filled with insects, amphibians and primitive reptiles.
By the beginning of the Mesozoic Era 250 million years ago, sediments from the erosion of the huge mountains filled northeastern New Jersey’s lowlands with deep layers of material that would eventually become our present day Piedmont.
During the Jurassic period 201 million years ago, a rift opened in northeastern New Jersey and a shallow sea known as the Tethys Sea formed. Africa began to drift away from North America. The two continents drifted apart by only 1 ¼ inches per year, but after 180 million years the distance grew to about 3,600 miles.
Want to feel the immensity of time in the region where New Jersey and Morocco split up?
Go to Willowwood Arboretum, follow the Patriots Path trail and stand on the footbridge over the Bamboo Brook. The limestone hill built of 175 million-year-old Tethys Sea invertebrates is to your southeast, and the ancient basement rocks of the New Jersey Highlands to your west, nearly three times older. You will be standing on the edge of the ancient continent, about as close as you can get to where a great cataclysm ripped apart North America and Africa, and set them sailing in opposite directions.
While you’re at Willowwood and Bamboo Brook, linger and explore the beauty of these natural areas. These parks are filled with butterfly meadows, forests with wildflowers and migratory birds, ponds teeming with gray tree frogs, springs and seeps in the shaded hills, and magnificent plant specimens from around the world in tidy botanic gardens where hummingbird moths abound.

To see a trail map, go to the Morris County Parks website at http://m66.siteground.biz/~morrispa/index.php/parks/bamboo-brook click on the “trail map” tab.

A Sweet Garden New Jersey Wedding at Willowwood Arboretum


Juliane and Brendan’s New Jersey wedding at Willowwood Arboretum is just too sweet for words. And the fact that the color palette features the perfect mix of soft orange, green and white …well, it’s giving us all the spring feels today!

Read the rest of this wonderful article and view the beautiful pictures of Juliane and Brendan’s wedding at Contemporary Weddings Magazine’s site.