Wherever you stand in The New York Botanical Garden, you are within sight of a magnificent tree. Founding director Nathaniel Lord Britton selected the Garden’s site largely because of the 50-acre old-growth forest at its heart, and the ancient oaks, tulip trees, sweetgums, maples, and other native trees that shaded the fields and pastures that surrounded the forest. When developing NYBG’s plant collections, pathways, and buildings, he insisted that none of these grand old trees be cut down and that every effort be made to protect them from construction damage.
Joining these pre-existing native trees are thousands of trees from around the world that form NYBG’s curated tree collections. The planting of rare and unusual trees to serve the Garden’s education and research programs began in the late 1890s and continues to this day. Pines from China, oaks from Europe, and maples from Japan comingle with native trees to create what is truly a dendrophile’s delight.
We plant hundreds of new trees every year in the Thain Family Forest, in our historic woody plant collections, and in our gardens and displays. These trees do more than just serve the Garden’s mission as a museum of plants. They fix carbon, filter storm water, produce oxygen, and remove pollutants from the air and soil. Planting new trees ensures that future generations will always have the opportunity to mark the arrival of spring with their favorite magnolia, rest in the shade on a summer’s day, or marvel at the polychromatic riot of the Forest in fall.