Nature Notes

Trees As . . .

The Arboretum trees have recently been highlighted by artists in the “Trees as Sanctuary” exhibit at the Oswald Visitor Center. What other ways do we finish the statement: “Trees as ____”?

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By Sydney Chandler

The Arboretum trees have recently been highlighted by artists in the “Trees as Sanctuary” exhibit at the Oswald Visitor Center. What other ways do we finish the statement: “Trees as ____”?

Bench In Grove of Trees

Trees as Elders of the landscape. There’s a sense of safety when sitting under their branches or learning up against their trunks. They give us a glimpse into the past; they have lived in that exact spot for years. Their magnitude is not intimidating but comforting. There is a sense of comfort in seeing their familiar shapes on the landscape. We can also say “trees as landmarks”. The dramatic shift in the landscape when a large tree is lost brings grief, just as losing a member of the community would.

Pear Tree Dropping Pears

Trees as teachers. The Pear Trees and Apple Trees have dropped fruit along Three-Mile Walk, and the scent of sweet fruit fills the air. These trees are offering advice: watch where you’re going so you don’t trip on roots, protect your head from falling nuts and fruit, and take time to escape and recharge. They also teach curiosity: we look into the branches trying to spot a mysterious sound, we ask about the color of the leaves annually, we examine roots that sneak up from the soil, and we watch with amazement as animals build nests and harvest food from the trees.

Tree Healing after Limb Removal

Trees as vulnerable life. Young plants are well-cared for at that Arboretum with special fencing, diligent watering, and particular attention to bugs and fungi that could prove detrimental. Older trees are cared for with various treatments based on exposure to bugs and fungi, precautions that avoid damaging the tree, and observation to catch any unforeseen issues. The care-taking is essential. When we learn from trees, our ability to compassionately care increases, and that benefits everything.

Umbrella Magnolia

Sydney Chandler is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.

5 comments on “Trees As . . .

  1. Betty Roehl Forster

    the lungs of our Earth….

  2. Archana Handa

    “Trees as dear friend…”

    It was so sad to see the Iconic Oak tree gone… Felt a void to the empty space…

  3. Archana Handa

    “Trees as dear friend…”

    It was so sad to see the Iconic Oak tree gone… Felt a void to the empty space…

  4. Pingback: Arb Links, vol. 28 | News from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

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