Top Arborist Brought In To Preserve Gathering Place Trees

Wednesday, February 25th 2015, 11:13 pm
By: News On 6

Just like one of the world's most acclaimed landscape architects is designing the Gathering Place, one of the best arborists in the country is being brought in from Long Island.

There are already about 500 trees inside the fences at the Gathering Place and 4,000 more will be planted, and a new natural process is being used to get them to thrive and grow.

10/20/2014 Related Story: Landscaping A Gathering Place: Over 4,000 New Trees To Be Planted

There's nothing ordinary about Tulsa's Gathering Place, not even the fertilizer.

The people behind the Gathering Place promised to preserve the natural ambience, down to the natural brew being sprayed on trees.

Ecological Landscape Management owner, James Sottilo said, "Since this beautiful park is being built right on the Arkansas River, we actually are creating a self-sustaining system where we won't have to use any pesticides, won't have to use any fertilizers."

Sottilo is one of the first to use the process on a high production scale, and he's using it on the Gathering Place.

“It's incredible. I love it, but I'm a geek when it comes to these kinds of things," he said.

His brew is made of oyster mushroom fungal spores which are sprayed onto mulch; the spores eat the mulch, turning it into a food source for organisms living in the soil, reinvigorating the ecosystem.

"You'll start seeing all the white mushrooms starting to grow through all these chips and breaking everything down," said Sottilo.

Bill Preaus is head arborist for the Gathering Place and said he was looking forward to the process.

"It was a little bit of a new thing for me, so I was excited about that because we're always interested in learning some new techniques," he said.

Sottilo said the lack of chemicals will bring wildlife back to the park and will make it an environmentally-safe place for families to gather.

"Once you get these whole systems going, all the wildlife comes back in and it's just filled with birds, it's filled with all your beneficial insects, and everything else, so it just has this whole vibration of life going through," he said.

The natural process is more expensive than traditional fertilizer.

The equipment used to brew and spray will remain in Tulsa and whoever is charged with maintaining the park in the future will be trained.