National Grove of State Trees
The National Grove of State Trees is an attraction at the United States National Arboretum. The groves are planted on 30 acres (120,000 m²) of rolling terrain celebrate the diversity and importance of trees to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Each state is represented by a loosely arranged grove of several trees that are spaced widely enough to accommodate their mature dimensions.
Bald cypress that might be found in a Louisiana swamp grow just a short walk from pines and birches that grow in New England forests; young redwoods from California grow near cottonwoods that might grow in riverside forests in the otherwise treeless Great Plains States.
Most states adopted their state trees in the period following unprecedented industrial and agricultural expansion in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Entire forests were stripped during this period for building materials, fuel wood, and to clear land for crops and livestock. Along with grassroots concerns about preservation of forests and trees came a natural pride in a part of the local flora, and the concept of a state tree was born.
Although the mid Atlantic region of the United States has mild weather which allows the USDA to grow most of the species designated by the various states as their arboreal emblems, it cannot successfully grow a few of the state trees such as the cabbage palmetto, which is the state tree of both Florida and South Carolina, or the kukui, which is Hawaii's state tree.
Substitutes have been made for these species so the arboretum could have a tree that is important in each of the states. Planting was undertaken in 1989 with the National Association of State Foresters, the American Forest Foundation, the USDA Forest Service, and the U.S. National Arboretum joining forces to create the Grove of State Trees.
The centerpiece of the collection is the portal adjacent to the M Street Parking Lot in Washington, D.C. A wooden entrance arbor is dedicated to the memory of Jeanne Yeutter, wife of former Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter, whose sponsorship of the project helped the concept of a Grove of State Trees to be realized. The inscription on the arbor reads "In Celebration of Jeanne Yeutter's Love of Trees". The arbor leads to a large plaza with a flagstone star and a wall adorned with pottery tiles designed and fabricated by Liza Bach, a Tennessee crafter. Each tile is individually cast with the name of each state and a raised image of the foliage of the state tree.
Although a complete trail system is planned to link all the individual plantings of state trees, as of 2004, only a small portion of the trail is complete, and most of the collection is not accessible to the handicapped.
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2007)|