Tuesdays In the Arboretum: Group Projects

May 5th, 2011 by UWBG Horticulturist

UWBG arboretum horticulture staff are taking Tuesdays by storm!  The 6 member crew, along w/ the 2 recent temporary gardener hires, plus Tuesday volunteers are now making an immediate impact on improving plant collections care and general garden aesthetics. For example, this past Tuesday, there were 10 busy bees working in the Sorbus (Mountain Ash) collection, weeding and mulching. Check out the finished product (photos). The scope of a project this size if tackled soley by the assigned Sorbus gardener,Ryan Garrison, would take about a week to accomplish, but with 10×2= 20 hands, the same amount of work was accomplishjed in only 1 day! The old addage, “Many hands make quick work!” certainly applies to our Tuesday group projects.

David Zuckerman, UWBG horticulture supervisor, several months ago decided it was time for all his expert staff to work together one day a week on a grounds project that is planned and led by a crew member designate. The chosen Tuesday project leader is based simply on an alphabetical weekly crew rotation. Yes, this idea does increase our productivity and  provides an outlet for staff leadership opportunities and, perhaps most importantly, builds team spirit and pride knowing that by the end of the day there will be a dramatic improvement in the chosen plant collection or garden.

So, if you want to join in on Tuesdays in the Arboretum and be a part of making a big difference, I encourage you to come on down and sign up as a volunteer gardener assistant.


Bodacious Tree Rings in the Sorbus Collection


Boyer Parking Lot Tree Protection

May 2nd, 2011 by UWBG Arborist, Chris Watson

One of the most widespread problems with trees in the urban environment is the failure to recognize the tree’s mature size.  If one doesn’t take into account the space required when the tree grows up, conflicts are sure to arise.  To make matters worse, the tree is often faulted for encroachment!

Several trees surrounding the Arboretum’s Boyer Parking Lot have grown up and encroached on the gravel parking spaces.  However, because we are advocates for the trees, we decided to make the parking lot yield.  A large scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea) and a grove of birch (Betula) were severely impacted by the concrete wheel stops and compacted soil over a large portion of their roots.  To remedy the problems, we moved the wheel stops to create a “root protection zone” around the trees.  Then, we used compressed air tools to break up the compacted gravel and soil.  We amended the soil with mycorrihizae and compost, then topdressed with a thick layer of mulch.  If all goes as planned, the additions will stimulate the soil biology, add nutrients and allow roots to grow in the previously uninhabitable environment.  Stay tuned for updates.