Summer travels to the East Coast included serendipitous sightings of some of our trees in landscape settings. It’s fun to be a tree tourist, discovering our trees growing up in faraway landscapes and living up to their potential. Because many of our bare root trees are shipped to customers in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, there’s a fair chance that a well-grown tree spotted in the region got its start in our nursery.
It’s a long journey from seed to city, so we’re thrilled when we discover our trees contributing to the beauty and livability of communities far from home. Sometimes we even find a faded stripe of color on the trunk of a familiar-looking tree. When we look closer, we may find a unique paint code that positively identifies the cultivar and proves it originated in our fields.
Here we present a few of the trees spotted this summer in Massachusetts and Connecticut, where Nancy Buley was invited to speak at a day-long plant event sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The event was hosted by Pride’s Corner Farms, a longtime JFS customer based in Lebanon. Each year, we send a truckload of bare root trees to their nursery, where they containerize them and grow them on for sale to independent garden centers throughout the region. Home gardeners can find our trees via their garden center locator.
Golden Raindrops® Crabapple
Elegant and unique among the flowering crabapples, the slender, upright growing branches of this unique cultivar are smothered in springtime with masses of delicate, starlike white flowers. Blooms are followed by abundant clusters of tiny fruits that sparkle like golden raindrops among the bare branches of early winter. Hungry birds flock to its tasty, beak-size, 1/4” fruits. Zone 3 hardiness as well as good resistance to heat and drought extend the planting range of this fine ornamental tree.
The young tree pictured is one of three that grow near the Pine Orchard Union Chapel, a treasured community gathering place in Pine Orchard, near Branford, Connecticut. Each was marked with the unique yellow over blue paint code that proves their pedigree as Schmidt-grown trees. Built in 1897, the chapel was recently restored to its original glory, as described on the Chapel’s website.
Acer rubrum ‘Frank Jr.’ PP 16769
Our young tree aspires to grow tall as the steeple of Harkness Chapel on the Connecticut College campus, New London. A faded stripe of lavender paint on the trunk is proof that it was propagated at JFS and grown for several years before being dug bare root and shipped to a New England customer for replanting in their fields. Nurtured for several more years, it was harvested B&B and planted in memory of a 1922 graduate of the college, as noted on the marker at its base.
Since its introduction in 2006, Redpointe® Maple has proven to be a top performer across the country. Its status as our best-selling tree is evidence of its adaptability to a wide range of climates and growing conditions. A superior selection of the widely planted native species, it’s distinctive for its rich, dark green, heat-tolerant summer foliage that turns to brilliant red in autumn.
The Connecticut College Arboretum spans 750 acres of landscaped campus grounds and natural areas. Tree tourists should put this gem of an arboretum on their bucket list.
October Glory® Maple
Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’
Good sandwiches and good trees can be found at the Alltown Fresh Market and gas station in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. This handsome October Glory® Maple got its start in our fields, as evidenced by the dark blue paint stripe on its trunk. Introduced in 1961 by Princeton Nurseries of New Jersey, it is among the most widely planted Acer rubrum cultivars for good reason. Its medium green, glossy foliage stays fresh through the heat of summer and gives way to brilliant red fall color. This round-headed beauty is the last of the red maples to color in autumn. Thanks to its distinctive form and character, it is seen in many Massachusetts communities where street tree management is typically overseen by a member of the Massachusetts Tree Wardens’ and Foresters’ Association.
Espresso™ Kentucky Coffee Tree
Gymnocladus dioicus ‘Espresso-JFS’
Already casting shade on La Royal Peruvian restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this young tree was spotted while delivering a set of posters to the landscape architecture firm next door, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. (MVVA). Its pink paint code had worn off the rugged bark of the trunk, but a left-behind strip tag was proof of its JFS origins. Clearly well-cared for by its Cambridge urban forestry stewards, the tree is evidence of the city’s ambitious goal to plant more than 1,000 trees each year.
Arching branches of this North American native tree give it an elm-like form. Huge, doubly compound leaves composed of small, bluish-green leaflets provide filtered shade and give it a tropical feel. Our seedless selection bears none of the big seed pods that can be problematic in landscapes and streetscapes. This long-lived and highly adaptable tree is tolerant of heat, drought, cold and acid to alkaline soils. Mature height and spread are approximately 50’ x 35’.
Incidentally, MVVA specified the planting of a mix of Espresso™ Kentucky Coffee Trees and seedling-grown trees at Maggie Daley Park, Chicago. Seedless Espresso™ were planted near walkways to prevent pod and seed litter from falling on pavement, while seedling sourced trees were planted in open areas.
Hop-like fruits of late summer and finely serrated, hornbeam-like leaves give this adaptable tree its name.
This handsome North American native tree brings diversity of species to urban forests. Pest resistant and tolerant of drought and alkaline soils, its hard wood and strong branch attachment resist damage from ice and snow. The tree pictured is among the many young trees being added to the fabulous collection at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Founded in 1831 by members of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, it was the first cemetery that featured a large-scale designed landscape open to the public, and inspiration for the rural cemetery movement of the nineteenth century. It is recognized by ArbNet as a Level III accredited arboretum.
Hackberry trees surround the Carousel on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway and provide shade for riders eager to hop aboard. They’re among the hundreds of trees that form a ribbon of cool, green shade in the heart of Boston. This North American native of the Great Plains is notable for its tolerance of harsh climatic conditions as well as urban abuse. Tolerant of cold, heat, drought and alkaline soils, it also tolerates road salts and occasional flooding. Its deep roots rarely lift sidewalks.
Known as “The Big Dig,” The Central Artery/Tunnel Project began construction in 1991. It replaced a six lane, double-deck freeway built in the 1950’s with an underground highway that freed up more than 300 acres of open land. Burial of the interstate freeway and construction of the greenway reconnected downtown Boston to the waterfront and mended long-divided neighborhoods, The ribbon of green curves 1.5 miles through downtown Boston, creating a vibrant urban oasis that is enjoyed by millions of visitors every year.