Nearly 30,000 trees, including thousands that are a century old or older, provide something to celebrate in every season at NYBG. While their beauty alone would be enough reason to take special care of the Garden’s trees, the additional benefits they provide make their long-term survival all the more important. Collectively, the Garden’s trees remove hundreds of metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year and store tens of thousands of metric tons of carbon within their trunks, branches, and twigs. Our trees and Forest provide habitat for an astonishing array of wildlife ranging from Great-horned owls, mourning cloak butterflies, and even beavers. Climate change, stresses inherent in the Garden’s urban environment, pests and diseases threaten the health of the Garden’s oldest and most majestic trees. To counteract these threats:
- Using a compressed air and a tool called a “tree spade,” we alleviate soil compaction.
- We incorporate compost into the soil to feed the fungi and micro-organisms that help tree roots absorb nutrients.
- We prune dead or damaged branches, install cables to protect against the loss of major limbs, and adjust lightning protection.
- An automatic irrigation system allows us to keep our mature trees well-watered during the severe droughts that seem to have become the norm.