Tree City USA
The Town of Tonawanda has a long tradition of publicly supported urban forestry. 

The town it has been a Tree City USA for 15 years running and is one of the few cities and towns in the State of New York to win the National Arbor Day Foundation Growth Award for five years.

The Forestry Department is responsible for:

  • Planting and maintaining 31,000 trees in the public rights of way
  • Pruning and removing dead trees and trees that are endangering public health or property
  • Identifying the sites where there are few trees and planting new trees so our town continues to enjoy the benefits of an urban forestry

What to Know About Emerald Ash Borer

More Information
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822 Monday through Friday, between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm.



National and Global Growth of Arbor Day
Today, all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate. At the federal level, in 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day. 

Arbor Day is also now celebrated in other countries including Australia. Variations are celebrated as 'Greening Week' in Japan, 'The New Year's Days of Trees' in Israel, 'The Tree-loving Week' in Korea, 'The Reforestation Week' in Yugoslavia, 'The Students' Afforestation Day' in Iceland and 'The National Festival of Tree Planting' in India. Julius Sterling Morton would be proud. Sometimes one good idea can make a real difference.

Arbor Day Benefits
For the homeowner, Arbor Day is an excellent opportunity to take stock of the trees on your property and plan for the future. Inspect your trees. Note any broken branches or evidence of disease or insect infestation. Think about how planting new trees might improve the look of your property or provide wind or heat protection. Take a trip to your local nursery to see what's available and to get new ideas. Walk around your neighborhood. Are there any public areas where tree planting or tree maintenance might make a real difference to your community? Talk with your neighbors. Find out what their opinions are. And, oh yes, plant a tree.
More Information
National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of April in the Town of Tonawanda. For more information, visit the Arbor Day Foundation website.
Urban Forests Are Economic Assets
  • Property values are increased by 15-20% when homes are surrounded by large trees or are located on well-shaded streets.
  • A mature, healthy street tree has an average dollar value of $2,064. The combined value of an urban forest appreciates over time representing a considerable economic asset to the Town of Tonawanda.
Urban Forests Save Energy
  • A mature tree in summer transpires up to 100 gallons of water a day, which is the equivalent of five large air conditioners operating 20 hours a day with resulting temperature decreases of 5-12 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Shade trees can reduce the temperature on the external surface of buildings by 16 degrees Fahrenheit, cutting air conditioning cost.
  • Windbreaks of trees can reduce winter heating costs 20-30%.
Urban Forests Improve Our Air
  • An 80-foot tree daily removes the amount of carbon dioxide produced by two single-family dwellings.
  • Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree produces oxygen worth $31,250 and provides $62 worth of air pollution control.
  • Globally, tree planting may slow the greenhouse effect.
  • Dust counts can be decreased by 75% downwind of urban plantings. Fumes and bad odors can be intercepted by trees or masked by their more pleasing odors.
Urban Forests Protect Our Water
  • Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree recycles $37,500 worth of water and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.
  • Windbreaks help control wind erosion. Greenbelts around watersheds can decrease water erosion and runoff and preserve water quality.
Urban Forests Improve Our Town
  • Urban trees soften architectural lines, articulate entry points and lend color and distinction to public buildings.
  • Well-placed tree buffers help channel traffic, control hazardous glare and reduce unwanted noise by up to 50%.
  • Shaded sidewalks, streets and town parks, provide places for recreation, rest and contemplation.
More Information
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822 Monday through Friday, between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm.


Black Knot

Black knot is visible as soft greenish knots or elongated swellings which form on the twigs and branches. The knots develop into black, corky, cylindrical galls that range from about one-half to 1 1/2 inches in diameter and may be more than 12 inches long. Branches beyond the gall are often stunned or dead. 

Black knot is caused by a fungus that multiplies during wet spring weather. The visual symptoms are often seen six to 12 months after initial infection. 

To control black knot, prune out and destroy infected twigs and branches in the fall and winter. Be sure to cut at least four inches below the visible signs of the knot. After each twig cut, be sure to sanitize your pruning tool in a mixture of one part bleach and six parts water as this helps to reduce the spread of the fungus. Large knots or cankers on main branches or the trunk should be cut out at a depth of at least one-half inch beyond the infection.

Fire Blight

Fire blight can cause severe damage to apple and pear trees. Fire blight usually attacks blossoms, but infection and dieback of new shoots are common. The downward curled twig tip is characteristic of fire blight.

Cut off infected twigs and branches 12 inches below the dead area. Disinfect pruning tool between cuts by dipping in 10% solution of liquid bleach to avoid spreading disease. Use a harpin protein-based product as a preventive spray during bud break. 

Spray every seven to 10 days at a rate of one-half to three-fourths cups per gallon. You can also control fire blight by spraying a copper soap product at silver tip and bud break, and repeat at three to five day intervals as needed, up to petal fall. 

More Information 
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822.


Bacterial Wetwood or Slime Flux
Bacterial wetwood, also called slime flux, is a major bole rot of trunks and branches of trees. Slime flux has been attributed to bacterial infection in the inner sapwood and other heartwood areas of the tree. The bacterial infection is normally associated with wounding or environmental stress. 

The bacteria is determined to cause wetwood in elm, but numerous other bacteria have been associated with this condition in other trees such as cottonwood, willow, ash, maple, birch, hickory, beech, sycamore, cherry and yellow-poplar. 

Symptoms of Slime Flux 
A tree with slime flux is water-soaked and “weeps” from visible wounds and even from healthy looking bark. The “weeping” may be a good thing as it is having a slow, natural draining effect on a bacterium that needs a dark, damp environment. A tree with this bole rot is trying its best to compartmentalize the damage. 

More Information 
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822.


Gall in Maple Trees

These are maple bladder galls. The silver or soft maple trees are often attacked by tiny mites that cause small, wart-like growths on the foliage. These growths are first red, then turn green and finally they turn black. 

They occur alone or in clusters and may be so abundant that the leaves become crinkled, deformed and drop early. Once formed, the galls cannot be removed from the leaves because they are composed of plant tissue and are actually part of the leaf. 

Many homeowners become alarmed when they discover infestations of the maple bladder gall, fearing that their trees might die unless control measures are taken, this is not likely. The galls never cause permanent injury and have little effect on tree health and vigor. The galls do, however, detract from the normal beauty of the foliage.

Rake leaves from the base of tree in the fall and bag the leaves.

More Information
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822.




Asian Longhorned Beetle

How does It Harm the Trees? 
The Asian longhorned beetle is extremely destructive. The damage is caused by beetle larvae which burrow deep within a tree to feed on its food and water conducting vessels. Continued feeding causes structural defects and eventually kills the life out of the tree, leaving holes the diameter of ball-point pens. 

Heavy Asian longhorned beetle infestations can kill otherwise healthy adult trees. 

When Are They Most Active? 
Mature beetles emerge from trees beginning in late May and lasting through October with a frequency peak occurring in July. Tree infestations can be detected by looking for tell-tale exit holes three-eighths to three-fourths inches in diameter. These holes are often in the larger branches of the crowns of infested trees. 

Sometimes sap can be seen oozing from the exit holes with coarse sawdust or ‘frass’ in evidence on the ground or lower branches. 

How Can a Homeowner Control It? 
If you detect the presence of Asian longhorned beetles, contact your local forestry department immediately so that they can take steps to contain the outbreak. 

Unfortunately, the only way currently known to combat the Asian longhorned beetle is to destroy the infested trees. But while cutting down mature trees is a tragedy, it is preferable to permitting this new menace to spread. 

More Information 
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822.

Emerald Ash Borer

About the Emerald Ash Borer 
The emerald ash borer, agrilus planipennis fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. 

Emerald ash borers probably arrived in the United States on solid-wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. The emerald ash borer is also established in Windsor Ontario, and was found in New York State in the spring of 2009. 

What to Know About Emerald Ash Borer 

  • It attacks only ash trees. 
  • Adult beetles are metallic green and about one-half inch long. 
  • Adults leave a D-shaped exit hole in the bark when they emerge in spring. 
  • Woodpeckers like emerald ash borer larvae. Heavy woodpecker damage on ash trees may be a sign of infestation.
  • Trunk sprouts (sucker on the trunk of the tree)
  • Crown thinning 
  • Firewood cannot be moved in New York State.

More Information
If you suspect you may have emerald ash borer in your trees, call New York State at (866) 640-0652.

If you are unsure your tree is an ash tree or you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822.


Gypsy Moth

Click here to view the Gypsy Moth Life Stages

More Information 
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822.


Japanese Beetle

Description and Habits 
Adult Japanese beetles are seven-sixteenths of an inch long and are metallic green with copper-brown wing covers. A row of white tufts (spots) of hair project from under the wing covers on each side of the body. Adults emerge from the ground and begin feeding on plants in June. Activity is most intense over a four- to six-week period beginning in late June, after which the beetles gradually die off. Individual beetles live about 30 to 45 days.

Japanese beetles feed on about 300 species of plants, devouring leaves, flowers and overripe or wounded fruit. They usually feed in groups, starting at the top of a plant and working downward. The beetles are most active on warm, sunny days, and prefer plants that are in direct sunlight. A single beetle does not eat much; it is group feeding by many beetles that results in severe damage. 

Adults feed on the upper surface of foliage, chewing out tissue between the veins. This gives the leaf a lace-like or skeletonized appearance. Trees that have been severely injured appear to have been scorched by fire. Japanese beetles may completely consume rose petals and leaves with delicate veins. Odors emitted from beetle-damaged leaves seem to be an important factor in the aggregation of beetles on particular food plants. 

Adult Japanese beetles are highly mobile and can infest new areas from several miles away. Usually, however, they make only short flights as they move about to feed or lay eggs. 

More Information
Learn more about the Japanese beetle's life cycle. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822.


Beautifying Our Community
Every resident in the Town of Tonawanda can request a new tree in front of their home. If you follow the simple maintenance steps outlined below, we are confident that your tree will live a long and healthy life:

  • Please water your tree once or twice a week, especially during long, dry periods. 
  • Keep the soil around the base of your tree loose for water absorption. 
  • Do not fertilize your tree. 
  • Avoid hitting your tree with any grass trimming equipment

More Information
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822 Monday through Friday, between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm.

Mission Statement
The Re-Tree Town of Tonawanda Volunteer Program will be responsible for growing, maintaining and planting trees throughout the Town of Tonawanda.

The Re-Tree Town of Tonawanda Program will educate volunteers in forestry procedures, provide hands-on training for young people interested in future careers in arboriculture, as well as provide healthy, young trees to be planted throughout the Town of Tonawanda in future years. This program works in conjunction with the town's chapter of the Boys and Girls Club of North Towns to emphasize civic pride in the community.

The program will establish a network of volunteer youth and adults to become productive assets for the community. It will enhance the quality of life for Town of Tonawanda residents.

If you would like to volunteer, please call (716) 875-8822 ext. 241.

Trimming of Trees
To request to have a tree in front of your home trimmed, contact the Town of Tonawanda Highway Department at (716) 875-8822.

Eliminating Immediate Hazards
To eliminate immediate hazards, this type of trimming is required for public safety. The Town of Tonawanda's Forestry Department will determine whether a tree's condition is an immediate hazard.

Visibility for Motorists, Pedestrians and Traffic Signs
If vegetation is encroaching on the public right of way, this type of trimming is required for public safety.

Clearing Public Right of Way
This service consists of removing lower limbs and other growth from street trees to provide adequate clearance for vehicles and pedestrians.

Tree Removals
Only dead trees or trees deemed an immediate hazard are removed from the right of way as soon as possible. All other removal requests are evaluated for trimming or removal. 

The tree will be removed by the Town of Tonawanda Forestry Department. This includes full stump grinding, picking up chips, backfilling with top soil and seeding.

Trees in Tonawanda

Below are the new trees being planted in the town. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at (716) 875-8822 Monday through Friday, between 7:30 am and 3:30 pm. 



Common Name Latin Name Hgt Spd   Type
Sweetgum Styraficula 60 40 Sweetgun 1
Dawn Redwood Metasequoia 70 25 Redwood 1
Exclamation London Plane Platanuss x acerfolia 'Excalamation' 55 35 London Plane 2
Green Vase Zelkova Zelkova serrata 'Green Vase' 50 40 Zelkova 2
American Dream Oak Quercus bicolor 'American Dream' 50 40 Oak 2
Skymaster Oak Quercus robur  'Skymaster' 50 25 Oak 2
Green Vase Zelkova serrata "Green Vase" 50 40 Zelkova 2
Patriot Elm Ulmus x 'Patriot' 50 40 Elm 2
Turkish Filbert Coryly colurna 50 30 Filbert 2
Triumph Elm Ulmus x "Triumph" 55 45 Elm 2
Columnar Sargent Cherry Prunus sargentii 'Columnaris' 35 15 F-P / Fr-Or 3
Spring Flurry Serviceberry Amelanchir x laevis 'Spring Flurry' 35 20 F-W / Fr-Or 3
Moriane Sweetgum Liquiambar styracifula 'Morane' 45 30 Fall-yellow 3
Worplesdon Sweetgum Liquiambar styracifula 'Worplesdon' 40 25 Fall-Red 3
Frontier Elm Ulmus Frontier 40 30 R-Ppl Fall 3
Skyrocket Oak Quercus robur 'Skyrocket' 45 15 Fall-Bronze 3
Chinkapin Oak Quercus muehlenberii 45 45 Fall-Orange 3
Fort McNair Horsechestnut Aesculus x carnea "Fort McNair" 40 30 F-Deep Pi 3
Autumnhair Gold Maidenhair Gingko bilboa 'Autumn Gold' 45 35 Fall-Yellow 3
Kentucky Coffeetree Gymnocladus dioicus 45 35 F-W small 3
Musashino Zelkova Zelkova serrata "Musashino" 45 20 Zelkova 3
Thornless Cockspur Hawthorne Crataegus crusgalli inermis 15 20 F-W / Fr-R 4
Adironack Crabapple Malus "Adirondack" 18 16 F-W / Fr-G 4
Accolade Flowering Cherry Prunus Accolade 20 15 F-Pi / Fr-Blk 4
Newport Plum Prunus cerasifera 'Newport' 20 20 F-Pi / Fr-Bur 4
Prairifire Crabapple Malus prairifire 20 20 F-R / Fr-G 4
Robinhill Serviceberry Amelancher x grandiflors 'Robin Hill' 20 12 F-Pi / Fr-Ppl 4
Snowdrift Crabapple Malus "Snowdrift" 20 20 F-W / Fr-G 4
Ivory Silk Lilac Syringa reticulata 20 15 F - W 4
Crimson Pointe Plum Prunus cerasifera 'Crimson Pointe' 25 10 F-Pi / Fr-Bur 4
Eastern Redbud Cercis canadensis 25 30 F-Pi  4
Princess Diana Serviceberry Amelanchier x g.  'Princess Diana 20 15 F-W / Fr-ppl 4
Pink Flair Cherry Prunus sargentii  'Pink Flair' 25 15 F-Pi / Fr-n/a 4
Snowdance Tree Lilac Syringa retickata 'Snowdan' 18 20 F-W / Fr-n/a 4
Imperial Honeylocust Gleditsia triacanthos 35 35 Yellow fall 4


Blk      Black
Bur Burgandy
F Flower
Fr Fruit
G Green
Or Orange
Pi Pink
Ppl Purple
R Red