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Inside Trees

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
February 24, 2016

Inside Trees

insidetrees_directorsblog34If you ever wanted to look inside the trees at the Arnold Arboretum, now is your chance! Two weeks ago, the very wet snow brought down a lot of branches, many already weakened by disease or other effects of age. This week, I focused my ramblings on Bussey Hill and the storm’s aftermath.

Pictured bottom left is a red mulberry (Morus rubra, 192-58*A) showing a beautiful contrast between the inner “retired” wood (heartwood) and the outer functioning wood (sapwood). A Beijing lilac (Syringa pekinensis, 21635*B), collected by none other than Joseph Rock, and accessioned in 1926, took a big hit too – but a look inside (bottom right) clearly shows that this large limb was living on borrowed time and nature has taken the lead in pruning. As if it wasn’t bad enough that the emerald ash borer arrived last year at the Arnold Arboretum (more information here and information about AA efforts to conserve genetic diversity of ashes), have a look at the snow and wind damage to this magnificent European ash (Fraxinus excelsior, 14630*A; upper image), a centenarian planted in 1886.

Rest assured that the finest horticulturists and arborists in the world are working hard to clean up and tend to the wounded. And all of the downed wood is heading to our mulching operation and will reenter the carbon cycle on the grounds next year in the form of wood chips. 

 

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