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What happened on Arbor Day at Appleton Farms?
This spring on Arbor Day 2019 (Friday, April 26, 2019) Appleton Farms partnered with the MA Arborists Association, a statewide association of certified arborists, for a volunteer day of donated tree work in celebration of National Arbor Day. More than 300 trained arborists volunteered their time and expertise, as well as their state-of-the-art equipment, to execute a carefully designed large-scale revitalization of the tree collection that included safety pruning and maintenance, new tree planting, large tree transplanting, plant health care, hazard tree assessments, invasive/hazardous tree removal, fertilization, and stump grinding. Over the course of the day, more than 1,200 volunteer hours were donated to The Trustees totaling an estimated $250,000 or more of tree work. Additionally, over $30,000 of new specimen trees were donated to the Farm resulting in a transformational day for the Appleton landscape.
What is the MA Arborists Association (MAA)?
MAA is the certifying body for Massachusetts Arborists with 650 members. Several Trustees staff are certified arborists through MAA including JJ Desmond, Steward at Appleton. The Trustees has previously hosted the MAA service day in 2004 at Appleton Farms and 2009 at Castle Hill.
Why did The Trustees remove trees from the landscape?
The trees we removed were invasive species, such as Norway Maples, which over time outcompete native species and damage the ecosystem. The trees needed to be removed to restore a healthier ecosystem where native species can thrive. Dead trees and branches were also removed to improve public safety.
What trees were removed?
What’s wrong with Norway Maples?
Norway Maples are an invasive species. They are very fast-growing trees whose roots grow close to the surface of the ground often suffocating others. They “leaf out” earlier than all other trees meaning they shade and prevent growth for others. Sales of Norway Maples are currently banned in Massachusetts. Norway Maples tend to be the trees that come down in high wind storms due to their fragile structure.
What is happening with the removed material?
Some of the wood will be chipped and used on the property for pathways and landscaping. Some of the chips will be sent to a biomass plant for fuel. Most of the trees were dead or in poor condition, so there was not a significant amount of lumber. Stumps from removed trees and existing stumps are being ground down to prevent basal root growth and provide a clean space for new plantings.
What are you planting?
What are the goals of the project?
The goals of this project are to improve the long-term ecological health and stewardship of the trees and forests at the farm in order to revitalize the landscape at Appleton Farms, develop tree care and maintenance best practices and engage a community in the conservation of the trees through a new volunteer Tree Stewards program and a tree-survey monitoring and maintenance program.
As part of our ongoing care and conservation of all Trustees’ special places, and for the health of the ecosystem and the safety of our staff and visitors, our stewardship teams are continuously working to reduce tree overcrowding and identify and remove invasive trees and others that are failing or have reached their natural end of life. Through this partnership, the MAA provided Appleton Farms the opportunity to address a backlog of maintenance, remove trees in significant decline and begin a phased replanting to create a more resilient landscape with greater age and species diversity.