Cornell Plantations, F.R. Newman Arboretum, Botanical Collections, Pictures and Movie
Cornell Plantations is a beautiful place catering to Mother Nature herself. There are numerous types of trees and flowers nurtured here by their hard working and dedicated staff. Thank you Cornell Plantations for proving to the world that people can make a difference and change our environment into a paradise.
"While the idea of a botanical garden at Cornell stretches back to the earliest days of the university, it wasn't until 1944, when Professor Liberty Hyde Bailey joined the Faculty Arboretum Committee, that the name Cornell Plantations was suggested and approved," recalls Donald Rakow, the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Plantations since 1996. "At the same meeting, the publication of Plantations Magazine was authorized, with Bristow Adams as the first editor, and Plantations has celebrated many milestones since that seminal meeting."
What is a Natural Area? Cornell Plantations manages 3500 acres of biologically diverse natural areas including bogs, fens, gorges, glens, meadows, woodlands and other valuable communities and features.
These ecologically fragile areas, obtained by gift and purchase, are protected for research, education, and the enjoyment of informed visitors.
Among the milestones marking the growth of Cornell Plantations are:
Construction on the F.R. Newman Arboretum, named for the 1912 Cornell graduate Floyd "Flood" Newman, began in 1981 in glacier-carved pastureland once used by the Department of Animal Science. The 100-acre arboretum was dedicated in 1982 during the 70th reunion of the Class of 1912.
Renovated facilities for Plantations' maintenance, mechanical and carpentry staff opened in 2000 at the Arboretum Center, while the botanical-garden and natural-areas staff moved to new quarters in the Horticultural Center.
The donation of an additional building at 130 Forest Home Drive allowed Plantations to develop the Ramin Family Administration Center, which opened in 2003. oPlantations' newest gardens, the Mullestein Winter Garden and the Class of '53 Container Gardens, were dedicated in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Planning and change at Plantations are ongoing processes, according to Rakow, who points to a new master plan and redesign of the Botanical Gardens. Renovations are soon to begin on the Lewis Education Center, and planning continues for a new conservatory, he added.
"From their humble beginnings 60 years ago --- with few acres and fewer staff -- Cornell Plantations has now grown to nearly 4,000 acres of gardens and natural areas, and 53 staff members who maintain the collections and educate people about the interrelationships between people, plants, and the environment," Rakow said. Plantations is open, free of charge, to the public during daylight hours. For more information, call (607) 25-2400 or visit the Web site: http://u www.plantations.cornell.edu.
Treman Woodland Walk
The Chestnut Collection was established in 2000. This site provides ideal conditions for growing chestnuts with its low pH, excellect drainage, and southwest-facing slope to receive the summer heat to aid ripening. Originally there were 5 transplanted, grafted trees for each of 5 cultivars. Since grafted chestnuts are notoriously difficult to transplant, a 75% mortality is expected; currently, four tree remain representing three of the five cultivars. When completed, the collection will house 25 cultivars, each selected for disease resistance, precocious fruiting, and winter hardiness; all will be grafted plants of hybrids developed by Northeastern breeders specifically for our growing conditions.
The Chestnut Collection is located on the steep west-facing slope across the road from Grossman Pond. Since this is a new collection, the trees here are young. There are some older specimans at the west end of the Arboretum Loop Road.
There are several sites scattered around the Plantations that make up the Conifer Collection. Each site emphasizes a different characteristic of conifers. The collection totals 21 taxa of firs (excluding dwarf forms), 39 of pines, and 25 of spruces.
The Flowering Crabapple Collection is still new, and many of its trees are very small. Crabapples are one of the most important flowering trees for the Ithaca area; they are winter hardy, relatively fast-growing, flower and fruit at a young age, and are site adaptable. Their small stature, showy spring flowers, ornamental fall or winter fruits, and hardiness make them a well-loved tree in upstate New York. The number of culitivars currently on the market is overwhelming and many excellent, disease-resistant selections are available. The objective of the collection is to provide information to gardeners on reliable disease resistant crabapples with good flowering and fruiting characteristics for this region.
As an evaluation garden for the International Ornamental Crabapple Society, the Flowering Crabapple Collection includes the core collection of cultivars required by the Society. Beginning in the year 2000, all of the 83 cultivars in the Collection are to be evaluated yearly for disease resistance.
The planting runs from the Caldwell Road entrance of the arboretum, along the Arboretum Road, and terminates in a large planting on the south slope of Newman Overlook. The Newman Overlook section is also known as the Bettina Jennings Flowering Crabapple Collection. The Class of 1923 Small Flowering Tree Collection at the Caldwell Road entrance to the Arboretum contains many small stature crabapples and is at its best in May when the crabapples, cherry trees, and nearby magnolias are in bloom.
The Maple Collection is one of the core collections at Plantations. The best time to visit is in late September into early October when fall leaf color is at its peak. The members of this collection are very diverse and so require very different site conditions causing the maples to be spread throughout the Plantations:
The Class of 1938 Native Maple Slope supports trees that grow best with full sun and fierce wind exposure. These maples tend to be those species that are native to New York State as well as their cultivars. The maples on the slope are quite large, close to mature and include Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum), and Striped Maple (Acer pennsylvanicum). A number of red and sugar maples can be found around Houston Pond since maples mature to very large and space on the slope is limited. The Native Maple Slope can be found to the right and left of Newman Overlook.
Along the southern edge of Newman Meadow and in the Class of 1923 Small Flowering Tree Collection are other points of concentration for the Maples Collection. Here an overstory (group of tall trees) of Acer x freemanii, a hybrid of red and silver maple, exists to demonstrate the differences in branching structure and crown shape within a group of hybrids. Beneath these hybrids is an understory of shade-loving maples. This site faces north so the shade-loving maples are protected from the winter sun which can cause bark splitting, decline, and winterkill. Many of these tree are Asian and include snakebark maples that have white-striped bark (Acer davidii and Acer tegmentosum) as well as small trees similar to the Japanese maple including Acer shirasawanum and Acer pseudosieboldianum. Many have attractive bark and brilliant fall color.
The Conifer-Maple Slope, also known as the Gymnosperm Slope, is a north-facing slope that allows the growth of Zone 6 plants. It consists primarily of small-statured Asian Maples. The overstory of older conifers provides protection from winter and summer extremes. The Conifer-Maple Slope is located across the street from Plantations Headquarters, on Plantations Road.
The Schnee Oak Collection contains 50 different oak taxa (species, cultivars, and hybrids). The goal of this relatively new collection is to acquire all the species hardy in Zone 5 for use in a hybridization program using pollen parents from Zone 6-8. This will introduce characteristics such as blue foliage, evergreen leaves, shrubby stature, high pH tolerance, and rapid growth rate into hardy oaks.
The collection is concentrated on the Schnee Oak Slope; older oaks are located in Jackson Grove (also called the Oak-Taxus Grove), immediately south of the Treman Woodland Walk is located.
The Walnut Collection is the oldest accesioned collection in the F.R. Newman Arboretum and one of the older collections at Cornell Plantations. This collection was planted in the early 1960s when the Newman Meadow was still a part of the Animal Science Department and populated with black Angus cows. It consists of 20 cultivars, representing Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), Butternut (Juglans cinerea) and Heartnut (Juglans ailanthifolia) - the trees are generally mature and very large. The collection is intended to provide examples of the best "eating nuts" among the many cultivars of walnuts available to the homeowner.
Every fall, the trees and road become inundated with crazed squirrels, stripping the heavy green husks off the nuts and littering the road with shells, husks, and bite-sized chunks of nuts so please drive carefully! The Walnut Collection, also known as the Class of 1901 Nut Tree Collection, lines the south side of Plantations Road, running from the Caldwell Road entrance up to where the loop road cuts off.
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