New Trees, New Vision at City Arboretum
The local Arbor Board has a new vision for the city’s arboretum, and it’s already starting to take shape.
This week, the city Parks Dept. is planting nearly three dozen new native trees and shrubs. They include Black Hills Spruce, Black Walnut, Crab Apple, Maple, Prairie Birch, Prairie Willow, Poplar and Quaking Aspen. The goal –to add more native species, make the arboretum easier to navigate, and help make the nature area become more resilient.
“We spent a lot of time last fall and winter clearing ash trees from the arboretum,” said Thomas J. Moore, Pierre Parks Superintendent. “That helps mitigate the problems that the emerald ash borer brings and keeps a healthy stock of trees at the arboretum.”
Those ash trees are being replaced with groupings of three native trees. Each of those groupings is labeled with the name of the tree species.
“By keeping species together and clearly identifying them, we can make it easier for people to pick up a little tree knowledge while they’re enjoying the beauty of the arboretum,” said Moore.
Pierre’s Arbor Board is led by Art Smith.
“Pierre is the only community in the state with a native tree and shrub arboretum,” said Smith. “The facility had kind of gotten away from its original intent; the board thought it was time to return it to its roots.”
As part of the initiative, a butterfly garden has also been installed at the arboretum joining the already established bird feeding and watching area. If nature works as expected, native grasses and flowers will bloom late this summer into fall.
“That’s when we expect to start seeing visitors –butterflies of all sorts at the arboretum,” said Moore. “We built a nice little rest area for the pollinators as they migrate south for the winter.”
The Pierre Arbor Board is a volunteer board appointed by the Mayor to provide guidance on urban forestry and tree sustainability. Board members include Chairman Art Smith, Tony Dorschner, Will Hanson, Rollie Isaacson, Adam Kulesa, Rachel Ormseth and Mark Smith.