Week 3: Tour of the Arnold Arboretum

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On a tour led by horticulturalist, Steve Schneider, the Green Team learned about the maintenance and organization of the Arnold Arboretum. We began the tour with a brief introduction to the tool shed and maintenance vehicles used by the Arboretum staff. Next, we discussed the use of biological versus chemical controls of pests and invasives, such as purple loosestrife (mixed in with the cat tails in the photos above). The purple loosestrife was introduced to the area by ballast water from trade ships. It is now kept in check by a beetle that will eat the loosestrife, but not other plants.

We continued our tour by resting under one of the tallest trees in the Arboretum, a Silver Maple. We talked about how trees are cataloged, tagged, and sited within the Arboretum according to their plant family. Steve also explained how a major branch of the Silver Maple called the “center leader” was lost during a hurricane. The remaining outer branches are held in place by supporting cables in the canopy. Some smaller trees in the Arboretum have threaded rods drilled into them for extra support. Neat, right?

The last stop on the tour was the Bonsai garden to see how art can be intertwined with horticulture. Steve explained how a bonsai artist will use copper wires to bend trees branches into the shape they want and remove the wires later once the tree has taken the shape.

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