Beautification Department

The Beautification Department oversees the gardens, trees, shrubs, and barrel planters within the confines of the town-owned properties. One exception is the barrels located on privately owned commercial property. The department also supports the senior’s vegetable and herb garden located at the East Fishkill Community Center. It gets involved with indoor and outdoor seasonal decorating, such as displaying flags and wreaths on utility poles. It also maintains this webpage for the public to share and stay informed on gardening and environmental issues. It is the wish of this department to improve the quality of others by providing pleasing visual stimuli.

Beautification Department Vision Statement

The department has a desire for the town to become a Tree City USA participant. It also would like to provide the community with superior gardens by developing a four-season appeal in the perennial beds.


Websites (links & PDFs) mentioned here are provided as a courtesy to our readers for educational purposes only. Mention of these websites does not imply endorsement by the Town of East Fishkill or by this site’s author.

Horticulture Hedge

A place to share and discuss horticulture, ecology, and environmental issues. Horticulture is the art and science of the cultivation or raising of plants. The Beautification Department focuses on native ecology. When speaking of ecology, native or indigenous means species present by nature, not introduced or foreign. The New England Wild Flower Society says, “native is broadly defined as a plant having occurred before European settlement in North America.”

Do you have a question, concern, or need to ID a plant? Contact the Horticulture Hotline (845) 677-5067 Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County.

Quote from the Hedge

“There is no perfect gardening practice
so keep practicing your gardening!”


Hedge Advice

What is up with volcano mulching?

While traveling around the area, there have been several volcano-mulching sightings. The practice can eventually kill the plant that it is supposedly protecting. This is a review of safe mulching:

1. Know the source – mulch can be a cause of pests and diseases

2. Use soy-based ink newspaper as the first layer (around five sheets thick) for additional weed barrier – paper will eventually breakdown

3. Pile mulch 2 – 4 inches high – allows for better water retention, so the soil does not dry out so easily

4. Cover the entire root ball or drip line surface, whichever is wider, and spread out evenly

5. Avoid letting the mulch touch the trunk (stem); allow *3 – 4 inches of space (*depends on size – the smaller the plant, the less room needed and visa versa) – touching allows the tree trunk or plant to rot or become diseased – it’s just asking for trouble

Purdue University Picture of the Week Volcano Mulching

Cornell sighting (JPG)

Tree Care Topics & Related Brochures, look for Plant Healthcare for Proper mulching techniques from the Trees Are Good website

Ornamental Grasses

Passing on a tip: When cutting ornamental grasses in early spring or late fall, tie up the grass with a string or rope before cutting it. This will help with the clean-up. Ornamental grasses can be quite sharp when green or browned up, so long pants, long sleeve shirts, and gloves are recommended when cutting or transplanting them.

Hedge Discussion

Native Plant Discussion

Is native flora important?

Before answering this, here are some things to consider from the Native Plant Trust:

NPT – What is a Native Plant & Why Grow Native Plants?

Book: Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens, written by Douglas W. Tallamy

Here is a resource for Native Plants: Find Native Plants, New England

Article from the Past

News about the American Chestnut: Article 1     Article 2

Hedge Calendar & Events


To find out when the EF Garden Club meets at the EF Library, check the library’s Facebook page for the up-to-date web calendar. Just scroll down the right-hand side and click on ‘See Full Calendar.’

Check out these links

Invasive plant control from Native Plant Trust

Herb garden

Cornell Gardening Website

Dutches Dirt (Gardening) Newsletter