Up to Twenty

Haverford’s Pinetum is home to a diverse collection of conifers; that is a plant that bears cones. The Pinetum was planted in the late 1920s and the arboretum staff continues to add new species and young specimens to maintain a varied and distinct collection. You can experience twenty different types of pine trees in the Pinetum. Just last week we added the twentieth species, Pinus glabra. Commonly called cedar pine, Walter pine, or bottom white pine, the tree is native to the lower coastal plain states of the southeastern US. and not common in cultivation. Characteristically, pines will not thrive in periodic wet conditions or shade, Pinus glabra will. Most sources suggest its hardiness in zones 7-9. Haverford is listed as zone 6b, not far off considering global warming! With the help of our summer students, three of these trees were planted on the upper portion toward Swan Field.

 

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Let me thank our students in this forum as their enthusiasm and good natured approach they brought to work every day made the summer more tolerable. They are Josh Servellon Class of 2014, Alex Love and Michael DeWolf Class of 2015 and Bethany Simmonds and Miwa Wenzel, Class of 2016.  thanks guys and I’ll see you when the semester starts.

Be Happy, Spring is Here

Three great things happened today.

1. I’ll bet a lot of you didn’t know today is the International Day of Happiness. www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/happiness-day#obs
2. It is of course, the first day of Spring.
3. We planted containers around campus today with pansies.

After the second snowiest winter on record, we are all ready for Spring. Thanks to these smiling faces, we can put winter behind us. (fingers crossed?)

Be Happy

Ice Ice, Baby

What a beautifully dangerous day this February 5th was. It started sleeting in the midnight hour, the College lost power in the neighborhood of 4am and seamlessly continues to operate on generator backup. The Grounds and Arboretum crews set out at 5am to attempt a salting and sanding mission on walks and roads. As the weather worsened, even we were called back to the facilities garage to keep us safe from the constant breaking of our treasured trees. Classes were cancelled mid morning. By 11am we set forth to assess the tree damage as best we could. The list we were generating was fluid as limbs continued to giveway under the burden of heavy snow from a few days earlier and the accumulated ice of the day. The sound of popping wood and limbs crashing to the ground could be heard throughout campus all day. A heart wrenching sound.

Please enjoy this haiku sent to me from two of my Arboretum student workers Abby Fullem and Adriana Cvitkovic both Class of 2016.

Wintry mix from hell
Ice weighs down hearts and branches
We mourn for the trees.

thanks ladies, we do mourn for the trees

 

the siberian elm at Harris Rd bus stop

the siberian elm at Harris Rd bus stop

Bridge over RR Avenue looking toward the Haverford School

Bridge over RR Avenue looking toward the Haverford School

heavy with ice the dawn redwood waits for spring

heavy with ice the dawn redwood waits for spring

the College sign on Lancaster Ave
the College sign on Lancaster Ave

 

2 Above, Too Cold, Today

The in car thermometer read 2 degrees as I pulled onto the campus this morning.  It is the kind of cold that goes right to the bone, no matter what you wear.  The grounds and arboretum crews were on campus at 6am this morning treating the icy patches with a mix of rock salt and sand.  The wind chill was in the -15 to -20 degree range while the actual air temperature hovered two clicks above zero.  There isn’t much the rock salt does except melt then quickly refreeze.  That’s where the sand comes in handy.  When the two are applied jointly, the sand is bonded to the ice in the short time between thawing and refreezing.  Due to the high winds, putting down only sand, it would have simply blown away.

Unfortunately today, the Arboretum witnessed the removal of a large American elm, Ulmus americana in front of the Dining Center.  The tree had been in decline for a number of years and in the fall of 2013 following further evaluation was deemed a hazard and scheduled for takedown over winter break.  Last summer you may remember a very large major limb of the tree broke lose on a beautifully calm day.  The tree is situated along a heavily travelled thoroughfare.  Students pass under the tree multiple times a day going to the dining center.  Blue Bus travelers come to the Haverford campus from Bryn Mawr College and have enjoyed it’s shade while passing under.  Rather than risking the tree breaking free and doing serious harm to any members of the community, a tough decision had to be made.

Today the Arboretum’s tree contractor, John B. Ward Tree Company was on campus to gently bring down the tree.  The crew braved the bitter cold and wind disarming the threat of a catastrophe.  The Arboretum will replace in kind the American elm soon in the same vicinity.

The chill of the day has eased out of my bones as I write this and the forecast for tomorrow is for a balmy 26 degrees.  Enjoy the heat wave.

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