Large Deciduous Trees
Large deciduous trees are often planted on the south and west sides of homes to provide shade in the summer when they are fully leafed out while still allowing the sun to warm the residence in winter. They can also be used as specimen trees in the landscape. In Iowa, common shade trees include several species of oaks and maples and sycamores. A favorite was the American elm with its vase shaped profile but most native elms were wiped out by Dutch elm disease beginning in the 1950’s. More recently, ash trees have been devastated by emerald ash borer. It is therefore advisable to plant a variety of genera and species to lesson the chance of losing an entire canopy by the emergence of a new disease or insect pest.
However as we experienced recently any tree species can be destroyed in a few minutes by a strong storm such as the derecho (straight line winds) that hit the Arboretum in August 2020. This area was especially damaged by the derecho and most of the 40+ year old specimens, just starting to become majestic juveniles, were lost. In the above photo, you can see a few of the many piles of wood chips resulting from the cleanup process. New trees were planted in 2021 and 2022 but it will be many years before they will grow to maturity.
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