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Plant Talk

Information About Tulip Tree Allée

Posted in Inside our Collections on February 20, 2020, by Todd Forrest

Todd Forrest is the Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at The New York Botanical Garden.


Photo of the NYBG Library Building through rows of tulip trees

LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building and Tulip Tree Allée, 2019

The New York Botanical Garden is fortunate to have nearly 30,000 beautiful trees in its gardens, living collections, and natural landscapes. Caring for these trees is among our top institutional priorities. From time to time, we need to remove trees for health or safety reasons. I want to share information about plans to remove five trees from the historic Tulip Tree Allée.

Since the Allée was planted in 1903, Garden horticulturists have worked to nurture, preserve, and protect our beloved tulip trees. We inspect and prune the trees in the Allée regularly and conduct other maintenance as needed. We have excavated their root crowns and amended the soil, installed cabling and lightning protection, and engaged an independent expert for annual inspections.

As a direct result of this care, the tulip trees have thrived and exceeded their expected life span in an urban setting. Garden curators, working with outside specialists, have determined that a group of five trees at the southern end of the Allée needs to be removed due to naturally occurring degeneration. Work will begin on Monday, February 24, and continue for several weeks at times when the Garden is closed to the public.

Postcard depicting the Library Building and Allee ca. 1904

Library Building and Allée, ca. 1904; LuEsther T. Mertz Library Collection

This course of action, while necessary, is nonetheless poignant, and reminds us of the cycles of nature and renewal that take place in all gardens through time. Planning for replanting is underway. We look forward to stewarding the next generation of trees in the Allée so that visitors will be able enjoy this majestic Garden feature for the next century and beyond. We will provide updates on our progress.

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