The American chestnut is a fast-growing tree best recognized by the distinct shape of its leaves and nuts enclosed in spiny burrs that break open and fall to the ground in autumn.
Before being wiped out by a fungus, the American chestnut dominated our forests and provided food and shelter for animals and people alike. Now, a new generation of blight-resistant chestnuts is being cultivated.
As part of the 60-year celebration of the Marquand Park Foundation in 2014, the American Chestnut Foundation donated and planted three newly cultivated seedlings in the park (see picture of seedling above). They all survived but after four years look very different. The tallest tree is bushy and narrow in shape. The second seedling has grown into a small tree with an elegant trunk and a more rounded crown. The smallest tree still looks like a seedling, is struggling and still fenced in to protect it from hungry deer.
A bookmark to commemorate the American chestnut will be available in the Treehouse library near the parking lot. For more information about the backcross breeding project of the American Chestnut Foundation, please consult www.acf.org.
During these long days of summer, visitors to Marquand Park can enjoy the sultry white flowers of several trees and shrubs blooming now. At dusk, white flowers seem to glow in the evening light. Here’s what’s in bloom this week:
Stewartia koreana, Korean Stewartia – Past the Wisteria arbor on the right. Many flowers knocked off during last week’s storm but many still coming.
Hydrangea quercifolia, Oakleaf Hydrangea – at peak bloom near the baseball diamond.
Oxydendrum arboretum, Sorrel Tree – Just coming into bloom by Stockton Street.
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’, Southern Magnolia – tucked behind the other Magnolias on Magnolia Hill near Stockton Street. You can smell it as you get close.
To celebrate Arbor Day, eastern redbud trees were planted on the grounds of schools in Princeton in the final two weeks of April. Every year, these celebrations are spearheaded by our town arborist Lorraine Konopka and the Shade Tree Commission of Princeton. Ms Konopka explained how trees are planted and being cared for. Marquand Park bookmarks with information and pictures of the Easter redbud tree were handed out to students participating in the festivities. More bookmarks can be found in the tree library of the park in the coming weeks.
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