The Tree Doctor gets to the root of wildlife planting - The Buffalo News
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The Tree Doctor gets to the root of wildlife planting

Jim Monteleone had a busy day Wednesday.

After arriving at Dunkirk Harbor at 6 a.m. and participating in the VIP Day doings, Monteleone returned to Hamburg that evening to conduct his first monthly meeting as president of the WNY Chapter of Safari Club International.

An involved field and food-plot manager of his own hunting properties, he and all at the SCI meeting left that evening with a greater understanding of tree, shrub and grass plantings and care shared during a presentation by master arborist Jeremy Sayers, The Tree Doctor, from Clarence.

With family generations and 21 years in the tree-care business and the only board certified master arborist in New York State west of Syracuse, Sayers offers a fund of useful information about planning and plotting out planting programs for wildlife — for hunting and non-game animals and bird life.

Sayers began by stressing that to attract wildlife land managers must “create a destination.” For tree plantings, new growths need open spaces where they can receive direct sunlight.

Any variety of apple trees will suffice for deer forage. He suggests planting a standard-sized tree. To have early and abundant fruit production, he suggests fertilizing and pruning each year.

For oak plantings, white oak provides abundant early acorn mast, but red oaks produce acorns that will last into the winter for deer, turkey and other wildlife feed.

For field crops, consider wheat and alfalfa along with corn plots. Disking and mowing open patches will reduce shrub overgrowth. In large forested areas he suggests scattered openings of at least an acre each. Instead of burning brush, set out brush piles that will attract songbirds along with small game animals.

Sayers offered a blanket statement on the ultimate outcome of the Emerald Ash Borer presence in North America: “EAB will eventually kill every untreated ash tree.” He said that the EAB first arrived in a shipment from China to Detroit in 1992. He explained, “The ash is considered a nuisance tree in China and that country has not done anything to treat ash trees for this borer.”

Since then, ash trees have been extirpated across Michigan and the borer has spread to the Midwest and Massachusetts. A ban on firewood transport and kill rings around infested areas do not work; a mature borer can move from a host tree more than a mile before settling on another ash tree; each adult female deposits 40 eggs that become larvae which feeds on and destroys growth layers under the tree’s bark.

White pine trees, though not terminally threatened, have been in decline for about 20 years as a result of drought conditions affecting this water-dependent conifer.

For free field evaluations and ash tree treatment estimates and suggestions, check with Sayers at offices in Buffalo (759-1138) or Rochester at (585) 298-4444 or online at


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