Jan. 31—Work is underway to prepare the Brookwood Point Conservation Area for spring and summer use, according to a media release from the Otsego Land Trust. The 22-acre conservation area two miles north of Cooperstown features formal gardens, walking trails and a natural launch area for canoes and kayaks. It has been owned and managed by Otsego Land Trust for public use since 2011.
"The first step in preparing the gardens this year was to remove the overgrown hemlocks along the east side," said Gregory Farmer, executive director. The hemlock hedge was designed in the early 20th century to be about five feet high. Over the years, the trees had grown to 30 feet and were casting deep shade on the lawn and garden beds, according to the release. The tight row of 20 hemlocks also increased the risk of infestation by the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that attacks and kills North American hemlocks.
"We waited to remove the hemlocks until the ground was frozen hard and the snow was not too deep," said Justin Williams, agricultural specialist and public lands manager at Otsego Land Trust. "That prevents damage to the gardens from the heavy equipment." D. Reese Tree Service of Cherry Valley took down the trees and will return to the site to grind the stumps, the release said.
A new hedgerow will be planted in the spring to replace the hemlock hedge and "maintain the beauty of the formal gardens," according to the release. Otsego Land Trust will host a volunteer garden cleanup day in May, and a garden planting day in June.