The park’s tree collection suffered some significant damage from the ice storm of February 13. While City staff focused on making the upper and lower oak groves safe and accessible, a team from MSPC surveyed the damage to historical flowering tree collection in the Orchard.
We identified 25 trees that had suffered some sort of damage that required attention. Eleven trees had only minor limb damage. While any broken limb creates an opportunity for decay to enter the tree, these eleven trees will likely recover and live out their natural lifespan. Three trees, including an old and unusually large Malus prunifolia (Plumleaf Crabapple) failed completely, either breaking apart or toppling over. The remaining eleven trees suffered significant damage that was short of complete failure. For example, the oldest of the park’s four Styrax japonicus (Japanese Snowbell), lost all the limbs on the tree’s west side. We plan to assess these trees later this year and develop recommendations for the City’s consideration. We are also working with the City to plant new flowering trees to offset the existing and future loss of damaged and aging trees.
The City has removed any dangerous limbs and the Orchard is safe for visitors. Consider visiting the site for yourself, both to witness the damage but also to enjoy the wonderful trees we have left.