Cherry trees planted on Belle Isle, marking first phase of replanting project

Volunteers helped replant 120 flowering cherry trees around Belle Isle’s Scott Memorial Fountain in mid-November. Overseen by the Department of Natural Resources, the project was organized by The Greening of Detroit, a nonprofit organization established to guide and inspire the reforestation of the city.

“We are very excited to contribute to the ongoing beautification of Belle Isle park with the cherry tree planting,” said Rebecca Salminen Witt, president of The Greening of Detroit. “We have planted hundreds of trees there in recognition of the important role it plays in enhancing the quality of life in our city.”

In 1994, Toyota (Detroit’s sister city from Japan) donated flowering cherry trees to the city. Many were planted on Belle Isle near Sunset Point and around the Scott Memorial Fountain. Due to disease and damage from insects, many of these trees have since died or had to be removed because of poor condition. “The tree replantings of a disease-resistant species will serve to further beautify Belle Isle by filling these gaps,” said Kevin Sayers, coordinator of the DNR’s Urban Forestry program.

“This planting was the first phase in a multiphase project to replant trees in maintained (and other high-use) areas of the park.” Sayers also noted that the multiphase plan may be implemented over several years, with the next phase starting next spring. The cherry tree replanting project was funded as part of a $150,000 U.S. Forest Service grant. This grant is also funding hazard-tree removal and creation of a tree inventory and management plan for Belle Isle.

Since December 2013, the DNR has worked to rid the island of hazard trees in heavily used areas that posed a risk to public safety. DNR staff first inspected the trees. The majority of trees marked and felled showed obvious signs of hazard conditions. More than 200 hazard trees were felled, with additional trees lost during summer and early fall storms.

“(This cherry tree project) was a great start to replanting some of the trees lost on the island to storms, disease and human activity, and those just coming to the end of their natural life cycle,” Sayers said. “We had a successful volunteer turnout and fantastic cooperation between multiple agencies, and I look forward to continuing this momentum into the spring.”

300-year-old Auburn Hills walnut tree threatened by road expansion

The Detroit News:

The walnut tree on North Squirrel Road is older than just about anything you can think of to compare it to when you try to show how old it is.

When the Civil War started, the sprawling black walnut was 152. When quill pens scratched the first signatures onto the Declaration of Independence, it was 67. When George Washington was born in 1732, it was already old enough to vote.

Five years ago, an expert from the Michigan Botanical Club estimated that the tree was 300 years old.

Now some of its admirers are hoping it can survive 2015.

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Chrysanthemums are cornerstone for Japanese

Associated Press—

TOKYO – When Americans think of flowers and Japan, we think of cherry blossoms. But to the Japanese, there’s a flower for every time of year, and right now, it’s the chrysanthemum, celebrated in festivals, shows and home displays.

Like the cherry blossom, the chrysanthemum, called “kiku” in Japanese, symbolizes the season, but more than that, it’s a symbol of the country itself. The monarchy is referred to as the Chrysanthemum Throne and the imperial crest is a stylized mum blossom. That seal is embossed on Japanese passports. The flower is also a common motif in art, and it’s seen in everyday life depicted on the 50-yen coin.

Originally introduced from China, this flower came with a legend about longevity, the story of a town whose residents all lived to more than 100 years old, where the water came from a mountain spring surrounded by chrysanthemums. Through selective breeding, the original simple flower was developed into many forms that most Americans wouldn’t recognize as a chrysanthemum, such as a type with long, thin, spidery petals, and another that’s said to look like a paintbrush.

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Scientists seeking help in search for Ash survivors

Michigan Radio—

Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service are looking for ash trees that survived the attack of the emerald ash borer.

The invasive insect has been spreading across the Midwest and beyond since 2002 – killing millions of ash trees in its wake.

The Northern Research Station has launched a new online reporting tool. They want people in 10 counties in southeast Michigan and 7 counties in northwest Ohio to report the location of ash trees that have survived the infestation.

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U-M plans move of 200-year-old burr oak

The costly, months-long process of uprooting a 65-foot-tall, 250-year-old tree will culminate later this month as the University of Michigan has set a move day for the history burr oak at the Ross School of Business.

Officials announced today that the relocation of the tree is scheduled to take place Saturday, Oct. 25, weather permitting.

A crew began the $400,000 process of excavating and moving the legacy burr oak tree in July in order to make way for the school’s $135 million, donor-funded expansion at the school. The cost was factored into the overall cost of the project before it was approved by the Board of Regents.

The plan is to move it from its place in a courtyard at the north side of the Ross complex, facing the School of Education, to a lawn area off Tappan Street, just outside the main entrance of the complex less than 100 yards away.

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