Strong winds with wind gusts exceeding 50 mph and more than two inches of rain pelted the collections through Friday and into the night. The arboricultural and horticultural staff that arrived on Saturday morning immediately fanned out through the landscape to take stock of the damage, and record their observations for the Arboretum’s plant records. Many plants suffered minor damage, and further field checks and cleanup will continue through the week. Although more than 20 Arboretum trees will need to be removed, several will first have budwood taken and preserved by staff in order to attempt repropagation of their lineages. Fortunately, due to their value, several of the trees affected had already been duplicated as clones in the Arboretum collections to preserve their lineages.
Two painful losses for Arboretum staff are beloved centenarian accessions of dragon spruce (Picea asperata) and Wilson spruce (Picea wilsonii), collected by famed Arboretum plant explorers Ernest Henry Wilson and William Purdom, respectively, on separate expeditions to China in 1910. Another tree of particular importance in the Arboretum’s long history of plant development and introduction—the nearly 50-year-old, original accession of the Donald Wyman crabapple (Malus ‘Donald Wyman’), selected by and named for the Arboretum’s famed propagator—was severely damaged, losing two of the three leaders ascending from its trunk. Though initially recommended for removal, further inspection suggests that the remaining leader and its supporting trunk are structurally sound, and the tree will survive though in greatly diminished form.
Fortunately, ongoing preventative care of the collections through routine pruning and deadwood removal prevented the storm from inflicting more extensive damage at the Arboretum. The trees that could not be salvaged will nonetheless live on through their rich documentation as Arboretum specimens, as well as through any repropagated scions preserved through staff recovery efforts. “While notable and startling,” wrote Keeper of the Collections Michael Dosmann, “such events of the weather convince me that these museum collections are anything but stable, dynamic in their responses to time and space. We must manage them accordingly.”
The following is a list of trees lost in the storm at the Arnold Arboretum, with links to their map locations. Click on the plant name beneath the map to access further curatorial information on each plant, including any available photos. If you would like to donate to the Living Collections Endowment to support the Arboretum’s work to document, remove, and repropagate these trees, please visit our online donation page, and select “Horticulture and Landscape” from the fund drop-down menu. Thank you for your help!
- Abies x borisii-regis 531-79*A (Bulgarian fir)
- Abies concolor 12393*C (white fir)
- Abies lasiocarpa var. lasiocarpa 48-58*A (Alpine fir)
- Abies lasiocarpa var. lasiocarpa 526-79*A (Alpine fir)
- Acer pensylvanicum 1331-79*B (moosewood or snakebark maple)
- Picea x notha 13406*A (Notha spruce)
- Picea abies ‘Virgata’ 7318*B (cultivar of Norway spruce)
- Picea asperata 21774*A (dragon spruce)
- Picea pungens variant 458-57*A (variant of blue spruce)
- Picea wilsonii 7599*A (Wilson spruce)
- Pinus strobus 709-2008*A (white pine)
- Populus ussuriensis 281-92*H (Ussurian poplar)
- Prunus munsoniana 183-95*C (wild goose plum)
- Quercus alba 503-2009*A (white oak)
- Sorbus aucuparia var. sibirica 422-95*A (variety of European mountain ash)
- Tilia cordata ‘Greensprire’ 372-64*A (cultivar of littleleaf linden)
- Tsuga canadensis 1260-98*A (eastern hemlock)
- Tsuga canadensis 1347-98*A (eastern hemlock)
- Tsuga caroliniana 19447-AB (Carolina hemlock)
- Tsuga caroliniana 19447-AE (Carolina hemlock)