Arboretum News

A Community of Trees

The shared goals of support, strength, growth and health keep trees in dynamic balance with one another.

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Photo by Jason Boudreau-Landis taken in January 2021.

By Jean Larson, manager of the Nature-Based Therapeutic Services Program at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

A year ago I participated in an event on the University of Minnesota campus called “What’s up with these trees” – a student led project with the intent to raise awareness about trees through stories. My submission (see below) was about how in the trees’ world, all of the parts are actually a community knit together by the common goals of:

  • Support
  • Strength
  • Growth
  • Health

Trees live in dynamic balance with one another. It is only when disturbed they lose balance and potentially cause damage within the ecosystem. ‍We are a part of their balance. Unfortunately, we have disconnected from this source of life and disrupted the balance.  

As we begin a new year, let us reconnect with each other (and trees) in new ways to bring balance through mutual understanding, love, kindness, acceptance, tolerance and a livable world for all.  

Trees are never what they seem on the surface – fragmented separate parts living and working autonomously. No, trees exist in relationships. They are the embodiment of connection weaving living communities of bacteria, fungi, insects, birds and animals together. This web of interconnection brings the trees into being and holds it in life up until the end; and even in death, the tree is still the center for networking relationships! We come from trees and are a part of these tree networks. Collectively we have been transformed from our connections to trees and play a part in the continuum of one connected life – together – in nature’s living web.

To learn more about the interconnections of trees, watch scientists Camille Defrenne and Suzanne Simard explore the vast root system and intricate communication of trees on this TED-Ed short video.

Join us at the Arboretum this spring and summer to celebrate Season of Trees 2021, sponsored by International Paper. We plan to kick-off the season on Arbor Day (April 30). Watch for details in the coming months.

2 comments on “A Community of Trees

  1. Winter is a time of the disclosure of trees. We cannot ignore them as they stand in contrast to the landscape of winter. Trees are a marvel of architecture. They are the strong bones of the planet. In winter we can appreciate them for more than givers of shade or purifiers of air.

  2. Pingback: Arb Links, vol. 38 | News from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

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