The Morton Arboretum has marked a high point and a milestone within the last month as it continues efforts to help the world become a greener, healthier, and more beautiful place.
The Arboretum is honored to have a second researcher receive the prestigious L.C. Chadwick award for arboriculture research, from the International Society of Arboriculture. Dr. George Ware picked up the award during the recent ISA annual meeting in St. Louis, as an estimated 800 attendees looked on. Arboretum Senior Scientist Dr. Gary Watson received the L.C. Chadwick award in 1993.
The honor is given to individuals “in recognition of research that has contributed valuable information to arboriculture,” according to the ISA.
Ware, dendrologist emeritus and former research director, reaches a milestone on August 25 with 40 years of Arboretum service. He was centrally involved as the Arboretum bred and marketed five new elm trees that are resistant to Dutch elm disease.
Now, he and Kunso Kim, Arboretum Assistant Director of Collections, are likely glimpsing the future as they keep a dozen promising elm trees from China under observation. The species are the Bergmann (Ulmus bergmanniana), Taihang Mountain (U. taihangshanensis), Tibetan (U. microcarpa), Anhui (U. gaussenii), Hebei (U.lamellosa), Harbin (U. harbinensis), corkbark (U. propinqua var. suberosa), plum-leaved (U. prunifolia), Chenmou (Ulmus chenmoui), Gansu (Ulmus glaucescens var.lasiocarpa), chestnut-leaved (U. castaneifolia) and Father David (U. davidiana var. mandshurica) elms.
These 12 Chinese species are virtually unknown in the U.S., but not to the Arboretum, home to the largest elm collection in the U.S., and which grows nearly all of the 22 known Chinese elm species. Observation of the 12 is especially timely given the maladies affecting trees across the United States, such as Dutch elm disease, elm yellows, oak wilt, Emerald ash borer, and others.
“These and other problems underscore the urgent need for the Arboretum and others to continue seeking new species for urban use,” Kim said.
Ware is especially focused on the Anhui elm, because it loves stream-side habitats.
“We are always interested in trees that grow around streams and in floodplains because they tolerate low oxygen levels in the soil. That’s something trees have to confront in urban areas where soil is compacted and frequently, less oxygen reaches the roots,”
The average lifespan of an urban tree is fewer than 10 years, according to Ware. But planting hardier trees increases the likelihood of a longer life span and a greener world – a goal that has never been more important than now, with climate change upon us.
The Morton Arboretum, located in Lisle, Ill., is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world.