Arboretum Revitalization Enters Phase III
The multi-year plan to preserve, revitalize, and renew Haverford's award-winning Arboretum is entering Phase III. Work will commence this summer and will continue through October 2020. Highlights of this new phase include continued progress toward a goal of planting of 1,000 new trees by 2027 as well as removal of trees in decline.
New Trees: Over the last 18 months, more than 380 trees have been planted campus-wide including 35 trees at the library as part of the new naturalistic landscape. That brings the total of new trees to more than 500 since the program began in 2017. Depending upon location and trunk size, this work has been done by contractors, staff, students, community groups and school children. Some of this work involves planting successors to significant specimens on campus. The Black Oak outside the president’s office on Founders Green, already impressive, was planted decades before its predecessor at that location had to be removed a few years ago; just last fall, a White Oak was planted next to a massive specimen beside the Johnson Track and will one day take its place among the towering giants that future Fords will enjoy.
Maintenance: There are more than 5,000 trees on the Haverford campus, and maintaining their health is an integral part of the Arboretum’s mandate. Phase II saw completion of extensive work along the Nature Trail, most of which involved pruning. The Arboretum also does 'specialized remediation' tailored to particular challenges. For example, every year tens of thousands of footsteps cross root zones on campus trees, compacting the soil and stressing root systems. One specialized remedy involved construction of a sitting wall outside the president's office, on Founders Green, directing pedestrians away from the large Black Oak's root zone. This tree also received treatments called radial trenching and vertical mulching, a process in which an air spade blows soil away from the roots in long trenches. Compost and bio-char are then mixed with the soil and returned to the trenches. This application helps remediate and prevent future compaction.
Despite our best efforts, some trees have reached the end of their lifespan and must be removed. Guided by certified arboreal consultants, we have identified forty-five trees that need to come down during Phase III including a London Plane tree on Coursey Road at the KINSC rotunda and a Bicolor Oak on the Walton Road allée, opposite Stokes/Morris. For the most part, the other trees slated for removal are in the campus periphery. Each residential section will be notified of upcoming work as it progresses through campus.
Looking Ahead: The landscape around the new music building is an exciting opportunity to enhance the natural endowment that adds immense value to the campus experience. It is also a chance to exhibit the Arboretum's keen interest in "Witness Trees'', specimens that have been present at historical events. In the case of the music project, seven scions of the Lafayette Sycamore that saw the Battle of Brandywine will be planted as part of the design. Phase III is also an opportunity for the College to live our commitment to sustainable practices that support the local and regional ecosystem. For example, Nature Trail specimens are exclusively native to the area, and the campus center is 70 percent native.
The revitalization plan is designed to preserve and enhance the Haverford College Arboretum for generations to come. Details of the plan are available on our website, and all are welcome on our social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.