Rare and Historic Trees

Thanks to all who weighed in for our Locate this Tree contest. This Sugar Maple is located on 8th and O’Farrell and is one of 23 trees that were included in the Boise Park System’s last (and out of print)  Rare and Historic Tree pamphlet from 1989.

We set out a few weeks ago to find how many of these trees are still with us and were pleased to find that most of the trees included in the Rare and Historic Tree pamphlet are still standing. The Sugar Maple, which will begin to dazzle us with its brilliant fall foliage in a few weeks, has recently been heavily impacted by well meaning but potentially damaging hardscape installation and incorrect pruning. The concrete patio 
around the base was installed at the expense of the tree’s shallow, fibrous roots which were doubtless cut and compressed for the patio base.

I’m also concerned with the recent conversion to micro-irrigation, which again, may be well intended, but probably won’t provide the broad, deep watering the tree prefers. The Perma-Bark “mulch” is also a poor choice as the rock heats up the soil and has zero water retaining capacity (find my earlier diatribe against the material here).

Finally, the pruning has been done in such a way that the tree will have a hard time healing over the wound. Proper pruning cuts need to be performed at the point where the bark branch collar terminates at the branch. This allows the cambium to quickly heal over the wound. An open, unhealed wound can become a conduit for disease and decay.

This isn't the first time this old tree has suffered abuse. The north side of the canopy has been repeatedly butchered for utility lines. We're hoping the tree takes this new round of assaults with grace and patience.

We’re committed to raising awareness of the many “heirloom” trees throughout Boise in effort to see that they are given proper care so they might be enjoyed by future generations. Stay tuned as we share some of the original trees nominated for the Rare and Historic Trees pamphlet and introduce a few notable others we've found. Contact us if you have trees that you’d like to see on this expanded list.