The Arboretum harvested tree seeds last week from its “living gene bank” of rare and at-risk species. Director Shelley Hunt says the unusual harvest was completed quickly with the help of a scissor lift loaned by Skyjack. “Many of the trees are too tall to access using traditional equipment. Skyjack’s generous loan of a lift for a few days was a significant contribution to our seed-collecting efforts.”
Seeds were harvested from cherry birch, blue ash, cucumber tree, pawpaw and other rare or endangered species that have a home in the Arboretum. They’re part of the Ontario Rare Woody Plant Program, which helps to preserve the trees themselves as well as the genetic diversity of each species.
Trees operate on long time scales, says Hunt. “It has taken decades for some of our gene bank trees to mature and start to produce seed.” The seeds harvested this fall will be used to grow new trees, not only for Arboretum use, but for nurseries, conservation organizations and archiving at government facilities.