By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus
Managing a large garden requires large equipment. Often tractors and trucks can be kept in great working order for many years, but eventually they too will need to be replaced. Shredders, mowers, and machinery with many working parts need to be replaced every few years. Machinery costs were once totally covered in state and city budgets. In years past, tractors and trucks were also sometimes leased. With the severe budget cuts over the last several decades, staff has to now improvise and find creative ways to obtain and use larger equipment.
The photo on the left above, from 1949, shows the UW Arboretum fleet of four trucks and a Ford Tractor. The photo on the right shows the Ford Tractor , brand new in March 1948, hooked up to a new Hardie sprayer. In those days, widespread spraying for all types of pests was common. This equipment was obtained and supported through UW (State) budgets.
This next set of photos shows Arboretum Foundation President Steve Garber proudly delivering a new John Deere tractor and loader – a $35,000 gift of the Arboretum Foundation on September 14, 1995. The photo below shows the same tractor helping to lift a new Drimys winteri into its planting site just last month, on March 18, 2016.
Both the UW Botanic Gardens and Seattle Parks and Recreation staff now also use a number of modern efficient carts in their daily operations (photo below).
The funding need for equipment, both large and small, is never ending. Excellent working equipment lessens the work load for staff, and leads to more efficient maintenance. It too is part of the cost of Arboretum maintenance.
* Editor’s note: Learn about ways to support the equipment budget and other needs, crucial to the maintenance of UW Botanic Gardens, on our Donate page.