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Greenburgh Nature Center Works to Restore Orchard

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — A group of arborists have banded together with a town-owned nature center in an effort to bring a once blooming orchard back to life.

“This is very exciting because we are restoring the property to its original state,” said Vicki Sherman, director of communications at the Greenburgh Nature Center, which has partnered with SavATree, an East Coast tree and shrub company. They hope to plant several fruit trees at the Central Park Avenue center.

Decades ago, the property was acres of farmland with an orchard. Today, only three fruit trees remain. Much of the half-acre area has been overtaken by invasive trees and vines.

The nature center has wanted to restore the orchard for a while, Sherman said. But a tight budget has put the orchard plans on the back burner.

“As a nonprofit we didn’t have the money to do that,” she said.

SavATree arborist Steve Skyer, who is spearheading the effort with partner Robert Moscarello, said a lot of work needs to be done on the former orchard site.

“It was really just a spot that was heavily neglected for years and totally filled with invasive plant material,” Skyer said. In March, a SavATree team spent hours clearing the overgrown trees and brush.

The tree company is donating more than $3,500 in man hours and equipment for the orchard revitalization. And when the lot is ready, SavATree has committed to plant trees.

Skyer said the orchard revitalization was a natural partnership for his company and the nature center.

“It was something we could do to help out,” he said. “They are trying to renovate and revitalize. It fits with the whole mission of what the nature center is about and what they’re doing.”

When the orchard is completed, the center envisions a dozen trees on the lot, surrounded by fruit shrubs and bushes. But it will be months before any trees are planted, Sherman said, as the center works to prepare the lot and determine what type of fruit trees would be the best fit.

Members of SavATree will be at the nature center Sunday for the annual Earth Day Celebration, giving a tree-planting demonstration and leading a discussion on root collar disorders.

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