The most special gift of all:
To purchase a Memorial Tree in the Arboretum of the Prescott Heritage River Trail, please contact the Town of Prescott Municipal Office at (613)925-2812.
TREES and SHRUBS
featured in the Arboretum of the Prescott Heritage River Trail
Note: This is just a partial listing, more are being added all the time. There will be 55 different species planted – 204 specimens in total (estimated to be completed by Fall 2003).
Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), also known asyellow chestnut oak, rock oak, or yellow oak - it will outlast us all - it can live to 600 years! A handsome, towering shade tree making an excellent park specimen tree, grows up to 30 m (90 ') tall. It's fruit, the sweetest and largest of all acorns, was highly prized as a food source by native peoples. It is still an important food source for mammals and birds, in particularred headedwoodpeckers, grouse, pheasant, waterfowl and many others. It should do well here, as it likes dry, rocky, sandy and alkaline soil. The hardwood is often grouped in with white oak, although it is not nearly as abundant….another good reason to plant one of these beauties.
Our native Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis) is the most cold hardy of the pecan hickories. A large deciduous tree averaging 20 m (60 ft.) with a cylindrical form is very attractive in the fall when it’s foliage turns a golden yellow. The compound leaves have sharply serrated edges and it’s edible fruits are 2.5 cm (1”) round nuts – ripe when the casing splits open. The flowers are nothing special, appearing in spring. Smoke from the wood is used to give hams and bacon a "hickory smoked" flavour.
There are many different types of shrubs in the arboretum; one of them is the Black Chokecherry (Aronia melanocarpa). This native shrub does well in any type of soil and looks great street-side and in garden borders for shape and colour interest. The 2 m (6') high arching slender branches make a pleasing vase shape. The flowers grow in clusters of 9-20 small white flowers of which the outer ones open first. The fleshy fruit develops in late June and are red wine to purplish black in colour. The fall leaves turn a brilliant red. The fruit is rich in pectin and can therefore, be added to fruits that have little, to set jams and jellies. Birds love the fully ripe fruit after a frost, which sweetens them up.
The waterfront site has parts of which are very sandy and dry - perfect conditions for the tough Pitch pine (Pinus rigida). It will grow to an average 20 m (60') and is recognizable by it's twisting, yellowish-green needles in groupings of three, about 10 cm (4") long. The high resin content in this species produced the name "pitch pine". Early settlers would often ignite pine knots for torches. The high resin content also made the wood decay-resistant and so, was popular for ship building.
Two Bur Oaks (Quercus macrocarpa) were planted; Canada's most common white oak. It's an impressive shade tree that can grow to 100' over a few hundred years. It's lustrous, dark green leaves shaped like a base fiddle turn yellow in the fall and it's acorns are unique having a fringe and are highly prized by wildlife.
The New Jersey Tea shrub, (Ceanothus americanus), also called Redroot, Wild Snowball or Mountain Sweet, grows to about 120 cm (4') high by 120 cm (4') wide. It's very hardy withstanding tough conditions. The 5 cm (2") white flowers at ends of the branches make a rather pretty show in June and July. The dark green leaves turn yellow in the fall.
Of the many shrubs to come, the Prickly Wild Rose (Rosa acicularis), is a bushy shrub, up to 1.5 m (60") tall with bristly branches and many straight thorns. Even so, every part of this native rose is edible and an important food source for birds and animals. In my own garden, I see chipmunks holding down branch tips while munching happily away at the flower buds (they do manage to leave some to flower). When the fragrant, single, pink flower is spent it goes to seed, creating ascarlet, pear-shaped, fleshy 'hip', about 1.5 cm (1/2") long. Just three rose hips contain as much vitamin C as one orange and make very tasty tea.
These shrubs grow in most types of soil, which is good because there is every type in the arboretum, including lots of coal and rock which we remove and replace with topsoil and compost. The Prickly Rose has no disease or insect problems, unlike the typical garden centre rose varieties and so, it's an environmentally friendly choice. In the wild, as in the arboretum, these shrubs will create thickets that are sanctuaries for such wildfolk as rabbits, game birds and songsters. You see, the trees are just one part of an entire ecosystem that is being returned to nature.
White Ash (Fraxinus americana) will be one of the arboretums most prominent trees. It makes a handsome specimen tree for a park or large home property, maturing at an average height of 21 meters (70 feet). This native tree, which has been in decline in the wild, has a beautiful pyramidal shape growing 30 – 60 cm (1’ – 2’) per year. This stately tree turns a wonderful glossy maroon colour in early fall, holding it’s colour for up to four weeks. It’s such a strong and straight grained hardwood, that it’s important commercially, making the best baseball bats, hockey sticks and axe handles.
The arboretum will feature a number of sugar maples (Acer saccharum) and red maples (Acer rubrum). Often, they are difficult to tell apart. A sugar maple is more rounded in form, having slightly larger leaves, is a slower growing tree, and hence, it is often referred to as a hard maple. Both are averse to salt, pollutants, and small, compacted planting spaces such as small lawns or boulevards - they're best for large lawns and parks. Both provide varied autumn colour from yellow to orange to red - no guarantees though, unless you buy a named cultivar from a nursery. The flowers open up before the leaves and are red on the red maple and yellow on the sugar maple. Then, when the leaves open up on a red maple, they are tinged with red and are slightly grey underneath, which is not true of a sugar maple. The red maple, a great Canadian symbol, was the first tree planted at the waterfront this year on Canada Day.