Environment & Nature

Environmentalist Jan Porinchak explores Willow Pond. Photo from Carole Paquette

Naturalist Jan Christopher Porinchak will lead an in-depth exploration of the natural wonders of Caleb Smith State Park Preserve on Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown on Saturday, June 18, at 1:30 p.m. Reserve by calling 631-265-1054. The walk will take approximately two hours and is not recommended for children under ten years old. The event, sponsored by Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve, is free, however, the preserve’s parking fee of $8 will be in effect.

An avid naturalist and environmental advocate, Porinchak will lead participants on a walk through the many landscapes of the park, offering tips on identifying the various plants and animals that will be encountered.

A hike leader for the Long Island Sierra Club, he is also an art teacher at Jericho Middle School and an award-winning natural science illustrator. 

For more information about Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve, their events and the park, go to: www.friendsofcalebsmith.org.

Plant a row of beans every week or two to prolong bearing time. Photo from All-America Selections

By Ellen Barcel

Well, Mother’s Day has come and gone, a heads up that it’s time to start planting your more tender veggies. Plants that fall under this category include corn, tomatoes, certain herbs, beans, squash and melons.

Corn does well on Long Island, if you have enough room. You need enough plants so that they can pollinate the ears. For the home gardener, plant the corn in a square format. Ears grown on the edge of the square may not fully pollinate.

Tomatoes

Just about every gardener puts in a few tomato plants. When selecting plants put in several that are very early bearers, like Early Girl and Early Cascade (at approximately 55 days or so, you should have tomatoes by July) some that come in at a later time and some that bear fruit in late summer. Better Boy and Big Girl produce fruit in about 70 days — by the end of July. Beefstake tomatoes come in even later but are definitely worth the wait.

How soon you get tomatoes depends on how big the plants are that you select. If you buy plants that already have tiny green tomatoes on them, you’ve got a head start.

Remember that tomatoes are tender plants. They will not set fruit unless the night temperature is above 50 degrees, which is why the gardener is told not to put out tomato plants until after Mother’s Day (or better yet, Memorial Day). Night temperature above 75 degrees and day temperature above 85 to 90 tend to keep fruit from setting as well since high temperatures render the pollen no longer viable. Tomatoes are self-fertile so you can even grow one of each variety and not worry about having a second plant to pollinate the first.

Tomatoes are heavy feeders so apply fertilizer. Photo from All-America Selections
Tomatoes are heavy feeders so apply fertilizer. Photo from All-America Selections

Tomatoes are heavy feeders, so make sure you either use sufficient compost or compost tea or a chemical fertilizer. Always follow manufacturer’s directions when using a chemical fertilizer. If a little is good, a lot is not necessarily better. You could burn the plants doing that.

Also remember to provide enough water for your tomato plants as well — not soggy, but evenly moist and well-drained soil is ideal. Don’t let the plants dry out.

Squash

Squash should also be planted now. There are many varieties, so consider what you and your family enjoy eating. There are two main groupings of squash, summer squash and winter squash. Summer squash are squash that are harvested in summer, when the rind is immature, soft. Summer squash include zucchini, yellow summer squash, pattypan squash and crookneck squash among others. Squash are low in calories and are great served with a tomato sauce. I steam them (sliced) in the microwave.

Squash can be grown in large containers. Since they are vining plants, they can grow up trellises or fences. They’re easy to grow in a variety of soil types and climates. They have both male and female flowers on the plant, so don’t be surprised if all of the flowers you see don’t produce fruit — the male ones just provide the pollen.

Winter squash are basically squash that are more mature than summer squash and have a hard rind that is not edible. Winter squash include butternut squash, acorn squash, hubbard squash, spaghetti squash (great served as a low-carb spaghetti replacement) and, of course, pumpkins. As with the summer squash, they are low in calories. My favorite way of preparing butternut squash is to cube it, simmer in chicken or beef broth with onions, thyme, salt and pepper and add in cooked sausage.

Green beans

It’s also time to begin planting your green beans. Don’t start beans inside as they don’t transplant well. Don’t plant them all at once, but row upon row every week or two until midsummer. This last planting should provide you with beans well into the fall. Plant them one-inch deep in full sun. Keep them evenly moist but in a well-drained area. A soil pH of 6 to 6.8 is ideal. Since this is only slightly acidic, you may need to add lime to your soil. Test your soil first.

There are basically two types of Phaseolus vulgaris, bush beans and pole beans. Pole beans need some sort of support, such as a trellis, while bush beans don’t. There are many varieties of each. In general, bush beans mature in 50 to 60 days while pole beans take 60 to 80 days. Like corn and squash, they are native to the Americas — particularly Mesoamerica and the Andes region. P. vulgaris comes in a variety of colors besides green, including purple and yellow. The yellow ones are commonly called wax beans or butter beans.

Tender herbs, like basil and cilantro as well as melons should be planted now as well.

All of these are ideal plants if you are gardening with children or grandchildren. They can check day by day to see how their plants are coming along. You may also be able to get them to eat more veggies — fresh and right out of their garden.

It is my personal preference to grow veggies and fruits organically and definitely without pesticides. If, however, you must use chemicals, read the package directions and follow them carefully. They will indicate how long before harvest you can still apply the chemicals and be safe eating the produce.

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. Send your gardening questions to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

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Flowers of a peach tree that volunteered in the author’s garden. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

Each spring we see trees covered with beautiful white and pink flowers. Many times we decide we want one or more in our own gardens. But, first we need to identify the specific tree. Recognizing which is which can be relatively easy. For example, the Kwanzan cherry tree has beautiful double pink flowers. The small to medium sized trees, at maturity, tend to be wider than tall and for all practical purposes are sterile. You won’t get a crop of cherries from these but they are stunning.

Another common flowering tree is the dogwood. There are a number of varieties but the flowers — single, white or pink — have four petals on each flower. The ends of the petals usually have a notch at the end. Technically, they’re not petals but bracts, a variety of leaf. The flower is the very central part and is followed later in the season by berries.

Sometimes you can identify a tree by ruling out what it isn’t. Pear tree flowers are white, so if you have pink flowers, it’s probably not a pear tree. Most apple trees have pink buds but the buds open to white flowers.

An unidentified tree, believed to be a plum leaf sandcherry (purple leaf sandcherry), frequently used as a landscaping plant due to not only its flowers but its leaf color, which remains deep burgundy throughout the growing season. Photo by Heidi Sutton
An unidentified tree, believed to be a plum leaf sandcherry (purple leaf sandcherry), frequently used as a landscaping plant due to not only its flowers but its leaf color, which remains deep burgundy throughout the growing season. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Frequently each spring we see a number of pink flowers that are not so easy to identify. If you’ve fallen in love with the tree, you need to identify it in order to acquire one or more of your own. Many years ago a pink-flowering tree seeded itself in my backyard. For many years it bore beautiful flowers but never any fruit. I never did identify it, assuming that it was some sort of fruit tree. It lived out its life there until one spring its flowers and leaves never sprouted. It went as quietly as it had come. I was really disappointed when I had to cut it down.

More recently two flowering trees sprung up in my front yard. Each spring they are covered in beautiful pink flowers. They bear fruit, so I know the answer — they are peach trees. Unfortunately, the peaches are small, green and bitter, but the trees are beautiful so I keep them for their flowers and shade.

But, what if you see a pink-flowering tree with no fruit — it could be harder to figure out what it is. There are a number of ways to attack this problem. Start by taking one or more pictures of the flowers, leaves and bark. The flowers disappear quickly and are frequently one of the easiest ways of identifying the plant. With pictures you have a reference. If the gardener is around, ask him or her or ask an arborist or an extension educator.

To identify the tree by yourself:

Look at the flowers — their general description, shape and how many petals they have.

Check out the leaves. Their color (green or burgundy) will be a clue as well as their shape and size. Many crab apples, for example, have burgundy leaves as do some plums.

The bark of various trees can be quite different so don’t forget to check it out.

If possible, go back to the tree after the flowers have fallen and the fruit appears.

When does the tree bloom? The garden variety of dogwood, Cornus florida, even the pink-flowering ones, tend to bloom a good month earlier than the Kousa dogwood.

How big is the overall mature height of the tree and what is its shape?

A Kwanzan cherry tree. Photo by Ellen Barcel
A Kwanzan cherry tree. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Now, with your photos in hand, check out the various characteristics against descriptions and pictures either online or in a guide to trees. I use the “National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees, Eastern Region.” It is a great source to identify trees in general, since it has full color photos of flowers, leaves, fruit/nuts, bark, etc. If going online, enter as much information you have into the search engine as possible.

You’ll notice that fruit trees (apple, crabapple, peach, etc.) tend to have flowers with five petals while dogwood has only four. Check the center of the flower. What color is it? The shape of the petal is helpful. Are they long and thin or more rounded? Cherry blossoms tend to have a small split at the end of each petal while plum petals do not. The leaves of cherry trees tend to be flat while those of plums are curled lengthwise. The bark is a great indicator also. Cherry trees tend to have bark that has horizontal markings while plum trees do not. Good luck in identifying your mystery plant!

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. Send your gardening questions to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

Centennial Park beach is located on the Port Jefferson Harbor. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Join local environmental group Coastal Steward for a beach cleanup on Saturday, May 28, and help keep the North Shore beautiful.

Volunteers are meeting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Centennial Park in downtown Port Jefferson. Snacks, water, gloves and garbage bags will be provided, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own sunscreen and tick protection.

It is recommended that participants wear clothes and shoes that they would not mind getting wet or dirty.

Centennial Park is located behind the Port Jefferson Village Center, off East Broadway and next to the Port Jefferson Yacht Club.

Volunteers should register at www.coastalsteward.org by clicking on the release form, under the beach cleanup program, filling it out and bringing it to the event. Community service credit is available.

For more information, contact Pat at 631-334-6824.

White flowers from a catalpa tree put on quite a show in the evening. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

Gardens reflect the personality of the gardener. Some gardeners like to grow specific colored flowers. In the past I’ve done columns on chocolate gardens, for example, and red, white and blue patriotic gardens and even gardens filled with red-leaved plants. Suppose you want a garden filled only with white flowers, which make a stunning contrast against the dark green of leaves. If you enjoy your garden in the evening, white flowers really stand out at night while the brightly colored flowers seem to fade into obscurity as the sun sets. Here are some suggestions for a garden filled with white blooms.

Spring

Flowers that bloom in the spring are generally shrubs and trees. If you have very acidic soil, like most of us do, consider white rhododendron and white azaleas. Both generally bloom in May.

Japanese lilac put on quite a show in the evening. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Japanese lilac put on quite a show in the evening. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Cornus florida is the native dogwood on Long Island. That means that not only will you have beautiful white flowers, but, since it is a native plant, you’ll have less work to do as it’s already adapted to our summer heat and winter cold. ‘Cloud 9’ flowering dogwood is an improved version of C. florida with larger white flowers.

Cornus kousa is also a white flowering dogwood. It blooms later in spring than the C. florida and tends to be a bit more disease resistant.

Rhododendrons do extremely well on Long Island. They thrive in our acidic soil and there are a number of rhodies with white flowers. ‘Baroness H. Schroder’ is an old cultivar, white with burgundy splotches. ‘Blanka’ has pale pink buds that open up to reveal white flowers. Other varieties are white with yellow throats.

Azaleas also do extremely well on Long Island. ‘Bloom-A-Thon White,’ ‘Girard’s Pleasant White’ and ‘Delaware Valley White’ are just a few of the many white varieties available. Some primarily white varieties have flowers tinged in pink.

The advantage of both white rhodies and white azaleas is that the shrubs are evergreens, making them ideal as foundation plants or plants to create a living wall.

Other white spring flowering shrubs include bridal wreath, viburnum and some varieties of white lilacs.

Summer

Montauk daisies put on quite a show in the evening. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Montauk daisies put on quite a show in the evening. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Come summer there are a number of white flowering plants. Big showy shrubs with large white flowers include a number of hydrangeas. Snowball hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) produce large white blooms early in the season. They are the native hydrangea to North America. Oakleaf hydrangeas (H. quercifolia) are also native to North America and produce enormous white flowers. Their enormous leaves resemble those of the oak tree. The leaves of many varieties turn a deep burgundy in the fall.

Japanese white lilacs are deciduous shrubs. They bloom later in early summer, later than spring lilacs and produce clusters of delicate and fragrant white flowers.

If you’re looking for climbing plants, consider climbing hydrangeas with their delicate white flowers or moonflowers. Moonflowers are annuals, related to morning glories but they open in the evening, rather than during the day as morning glories do.

Other white flowered plants include varieties of astilbe, white geraniums and the really unique Peruvian daffodils. Consider also the white scented Nicotiana (flowering tobacco), which will provide a beautiful scent.

White roses are stunning in the garden and some will rebloom later in the season. ‘Wedding Dress’ is a ground cover rose while ‘Moonlight Melody’ is a shrub rose with single blooms. The latter blooms freely all summer long.

Fall

Peruvian daisies put on quite a show in the evening. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Peruvian daisies put on quite a show in the evening. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Fall is known for its blazing colors, trees and shrubs filled with yellow, orange and red leaves, but, fall also has some really nice white flowers. For fall, the ideal white flowering plants include Montauk daisies and some white varieties of mums.

Remember the rule of 100 when pinching back Montauk daisies and mums to make nice busy plants. You begin pinching them back when you first see little green leaves appear. Stop 100 days before expected bloom date. For both of these, that means stop around July 4th to give the plants time to form blossoms.

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. Send your gardening questions to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

Eric Powers holds a great horned owl. Photo from Carole Paquette
Eric Powers holds a great horned owl. Photo from Carole Paquette
Eric Powers holds a great horned owl. Photo from Carole Paquette

Biologist and outdoorsman Eric Powers will conduct a birding walk at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve on Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown on Saturday, May 14, from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

Preregistration is required as space is limited. Call 631-265-1054.

The free event is part of the 2016 Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve, and will involve walking about two miles. Walkers are urged to wear sensible footwear and bring binoculars and a camera with a telephoto lens, if they are able.

Having extensively explored the historic Caleb Smith park, “Ranger Eric” — as students know him — will lead attendees to some of his favorite locations to see birds and other wildlife, as well as highlighting plants and freshwater springs, the lifeblood of the park. Ranger Eric suggests bringing any bird feather you would like to share with the group.

See more of Ranger Eric on his new television show “Off the Trail” at www.myNHTV.com. For more information, visit his website at www.YC2N.com.

For more information about Friends activities and events, visit www.friendsofcalebsmith.org.

Stock photo

By Ellen Barcel

Recently on the television I heard a newscaster announce that the 17-year cicadas are due to emerge. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? What effect will this have? Will they damage your plants? Well, not really.

Stock photo
Stock photo

First of all, there are 15 different broods of the 17-year periodic cicadas. They live in the ground for 17 years, each brood emerging during a different year. Brood V is due out this year, Brood VI in 2017, Brood VII in 2018, etc. That means that there is a brood emerging almost every year, but not in the same place. This year’s brood, Brood V, is emerging mainly in Ohio and West Virginia with a small pocket of them on eastern Long Island, around the Wildwood State Park area.

Interestingly, the only place that these 17-year locusts (as they are sometimes known) are found is in the eastern United Sates, nowhere else in the world.

Cicadas live most of their lives, 17 years generally, underground feeding on the roots of plants. Then come spring, usually May, they dig their way to the surface, shed their skin and look for a mate. The males have a high-pitched whine that attracts the females. About a week to 10 days later the females lay lots of eggs. About six to seven weeks later the eggs hatch, the nymphs fall to the ground where they burrow into the soil and feed on plant roots, waiting for 17 years before emerging briefly to mate.

In general, the emerged cicadas don’t do a lot of damage to plants, so there really isn’t a problem, just a lot of noise and a bunch of dead insects when they die off. Mature cicadas are about an inch and a half long, so between the noise and the size you really notice them, that and the strange life cycle. Most of Long Island is home to Brood 10 which is due to emerge in 2021.

A really cool website, Cicada Mania (www.cicadamania.com) has detailed information about not only the 17-year locusts but the 13-year ones as well. Penn State Extension (http://extension.psu.edu) also has detailed scientific information, noting that the 17-year cicadas can do damage to fruit trees, causing slits in the bark when the female lays eggs and taking nutrients away from the fruit trees when the nymphs feed on the roots. If you have weak trees, they could suffer some damage. But, cicadas do not chew on leaves the way other insects do.

Personally, I would be more concerned about aphids on roses and slugs attacking my hostas. Tent caterpillars are sometimes in the area, but, while unsightly, unless the same tree is attacked year after year, the tree usually survives quite nicely. Remember, keep your plants healthy and that keeping the balance in nature is very effective in controlling most pests. Birds in the garden, for example, eat a lot of insects. Praying mantises, while large and scary looking, eat lots of insects as well.

The rule of thumb is that unless more than 10 percent of a plant is affected, you can probably leave the pest alone. Don’t freak out if your hosta leaves have a few small holes in them, but do keep checking to make sure the situation doesn’t get out of control. If it does, use the least offensive way of controlling it. Only if the milder controls don’t work, then use the heavy-duty ones, chemicals. This is known as integrated pest management. For slugs, I find that just hand picking them off the plants at night works quite nicely.

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. Send your gardening questions to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

The Greenway Trail runs between Port Jefferson Station and Setauket. File photo

The 3.5-mile Setauket to Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail will be spruced up on Sunday, May 21, during the Town of Brookhaven’s annual Great Brookhaven Cleanup.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, in shine or slightly damp weather, and will include a focus on the trail’s eastern end, at the public parking lot near the 7-Eleven on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station. According to Friends of the Greenway, the task on that end will be to cut down underbrush and vines by trees and fencing. On the rest of the trail, volunteers will clean up as well as trim branches and vines in the way of the path.

Participants are asked to bring gloves, rakes and garden cutting tools.

To sign up or for more information, visit www.brookhaven.org or call 631-451-TOWN.

Passionflower vines are a nice addition to a garden. File photo

By Ellen Barcel

Last week, we took a look at climbing plants in general and specifically annual vines. This week we’ll examine perennial vines, productive vines and vines to avoid.

Perennial vines
I love perennial plants since they’re a plant once and enjoy for many years thereafter plant. Perennial climbing or vining plants include:

Trumpet vines add some color to a garden. File photo
Trumpet vines add some color to a garden. File photo

Trumpet vines produce lots of orange colored, trumpet-shaped flowers. It needs little care but can get out of control, so be careful. It’s a vine that does well in some shade. The trumpet shape is a tip-off that it can attract hummingbirds.

Clematis is another vine that does well with some shade. There are several basic varieties, those that bloom in the spring and those that bloom later in the season. Know which one you have since this determines when you are able to prune it back if needed. The rule of thumb to control a plant’s size is to cut it back immediately after a flowering plant blooms, so as not to interfere with next year’s blooming cycle. Clematis are known for their beautiful flowers, making them ideal as decorative plants on a trellis.

Climbing hydrangeas are beautiful plants but can get very large since they grow up as well as sideways. Be prepared to prune it to the desired size and shape. It can take some shade, but the flowers appear where the sun reaches the plant. As a result, you will see lots of greenery closer to the ground and lovely white flowers up near the top. This is an ideal plant for a chimney, for example.

Native wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is native to the eastern part of the United States. It is much less aggressive and therefore easier to control than Asian wisterias. It’s a perennial, woody plant in the pea family. Like the Asian variety, it has clusters of purple flowers and grows in hardiness zones 5 to 9. In addition to being less aggressive, its flower clusters are smaller and the overall size of the plant is smaller.

Productive vines:
If you have limited space and want your vines to do double duty, consider vines that are productive.

Cucumbers are easy to grow and generally very productive. Plant them where their tendrils can grasp onto something, like a chain-link fence, a trellis or wire support of some sort. They do need plenty of water, so don’t let the plants dry out during times of summer drought. Cucumbers are annuals, so you need to replant them each year.

Clematis can be a good addition to the garden. File photo
Clematis can be a good addition to the garden. File photo

Another productive, and perennial, vine is the grape vine. See my column of March 10 for more detailed information on growing grapes. Make sure you know how you plan to use the grape so you can select the appropriate type (table grapes, jellies, wine, etc.)

Indeterminate tomato vines keep growing throughout the growing season. They keep setting fruit as long as the weather is mild enough and can get to be very large plants. Tomatoes need plenty of sun and are heavy feeders, so make sure you fertilize periodically.

Honeyberry is a vine that produces edible fruit as does the passionflower. I particularly like the unusual purple flowers of the passionflower and would grow the plant for its flowers alone.

Vines to avoid
There are a number of climbers that are not the best to include in your garden. English ivy is one. It takes over. Many years ago I planted a few tiny plants. I’m still pulling out this terribly invasive plant. It seems to have a mind of its own. While a “vine-covered cottage” may seem charming, you will probably regret planting this one. As a result of its nature, English ivy is on the Management List.

Another is the Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus). It volunteered in my garden and, before I realized it, had grown through my stockade fence, breaking it. Once I thought I had removed it, for years later, I found tiny plants springing up where the seeds had dropped. While very pretty, with its red berries that break open to reveal yellow seed pods, it’s a real pain to control. It climbs by wrapping itself around things, like your good trees, strangling them. As a result of its extreme invasive nature it’s on Suffolk County’s Do Not Sell list.

Avoid the Oriental varieties of wisteria that, although beautiful, can become invasive. File photo
Avoid the Oriental varieties of wisteria that, although beautiful, can become invasive. File photo

A third vine that is difficult to control is the Oriental (Chinese and Japanese) varieties of wisteria. This one is filled with beautiful purple racimes of flowers, so is very impressive, but, it too, takes over the garden. If you insist on planting it, make sure you are ready with the pruning shears, so you can keep it under control. It’s a quick grower, which needs little care and seems to have no natural enemies (insects or disease wise). It sends out runners along the ground so can go out as well as up. I’ve seen abandoned houses with gardens gone to weed, but the wisteria is still growing beautifully, even attaching itself to power lines. As a result, it too is on Suffolk County’s Management List — technically legal but do you really want to plant it?

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

Roosevelt Avenue’s park is tucked away in the woods. A path leads from the road to the field, which is next to the railroad track. Photo by Elana Glowatz

A hidden park in the corner of Port Jefferson could soon expand, as village officials line up paperwork on a few small properties they were supposed to take ownership of 45 years ago.

Roosevelt Park, tucked away at the end of a grassy path beyond Roosevelt Avenue in the village’s southwestern corner, is as big as the ball field it contains — but it was meant to be larger. A corporation that built houses in the village in the 1970s, as a condition of project approval, was supposed to give three parcels on the western side of Roosevelt Avenue, opposite the ball field, to the village for recreational use. It was also supposed to contribute $5,000 to the village so it could acquire a fourth piece of land, which is pinned between the existing park, the three adjacent parcels and the Long Island Rail Road track that borders the park’s southern end.

But the deed transaction was never completed, although no taxes have been paid on the group of three parcels since the 1970s, according to Port Jefferson Village Attorney Brian Egan.

Roosevelt Avenue’s park is tucked away in the woods. A path leads from the road to the field, which is next to the railroad track. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Roosevelt Avenue’s park is tucked away in the woods. A path leads from the road to the field, which is next to the railroad track. Photo by Elana Glowatz

The village board of trustees, in a legal action at a board meeting on Monday night, called the discrepancy a “scrivener error.”

It is not clear what happened to the $5,000; the village does not own the fourth piece of land either.

At the meeting, the trustees gave Mayor Margot Garant authorization to record three quitclaim deeds, which would transfer the titles of the properties to the village.

Egan said he has spoken to the family of the construction corporation’s owner, who has since died, and “they don’t want to have anything to do with this property.”

The fourth piece of land might be a little trickier — property taxes have been paid on that lot, and Egan said the village might have to acquire the sliver through eminent domain, an action in which a municipality claims private property for a public benefit and compensates the owner.

When combined with the existing Roosevelt Park, the land could make a spot larger than 2 acres, Garant said at a previous meeting. She has also said that she would like to see the expanded spot become a “dedicated space for peewee programs,” because older players sometimes dominate the Caroline Avenue ball field up the road.

While the mayor had said she doesn’t want to impact the surrounding residences, in the village neighborhood off Old Post Road known as the “presidential section,” she had suggested adding some parking at Roosevelt Park.