The Arboretum Report January 17, 2017

We are wondering what wacky weather winter will bring us this year. Around the holidays the daily high temperatures ranged between 25 and 61 degrees. We have had some light snow. The next 10day forecast calls for highs near 50 and lows above freezing. These numbers are about 10 degrees above the average for January. If we get some colder days in February, the plants should be fine. Warmer temperatures will cause the plant buds to swell and potentially open earlier. Then a cold snap can cause significant damage.

     That is what happened last winter. Various plants on the grounds did not flower very well this year. Flower buds started to open early and then were frozen. You may recall that the peach crop in New Jersey was poor this summer. This, too, was because of the temperature swings. Remember it is normal for the winter weather to vary from year to year. Let us hope that this winter it varies less.

     We have scheduled a day of tree work for when the crew can get around the property. This is no small feat considering some of the slick and steep trails. We are planning on giving the Oak right in front of the building a safety prune, removing some volunteer Cherry and Ash trees that are compromising specimen plants and chipping up the accumulated brush pile. There is always more tree work that will need to be done.

     The biggest news of the past year is that Taylor Memorial Arboretum is now part of Widener University. For many years, Widener has considered acquiring the Arboretum. Professors and students have studied and learned from the grounds for decades. Their involvement will increase. Providing an education of the natural world is part of the intent of founder J.C. Taylor’s creation of the trust. This partnership will certainly improve the health of both the Arboretum and Widener University.

Tom Kirk

Arboretum Manager