The Community Forestry Collection was established in 1981 and is one of the first collections established at the Arboretum. Between 1981 and 1995, several grants combined with the assistance of the Maine Forest Service made it possible to establish the variety of plantings seen here today. Much of the work in establishing this collection was overseen by Alfred (Skip) Johnson, who served as director from 1990 – 1997.
This collection presents the visitor (viewer) with examples of tree species that have been frequently planted along street ways, in median strips, town parks, parkways, and other urban or community settings. There are many considerations to think about when choosing tree species for a community setting. Some trees spread their branches far and wide while others keep a vase shape even when planted in the open. The root systems of some species spread and remain close to the surface while other species extend down. This information can be helpful especially if you are planting adjacent to a sidewalk.
The Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) has beautiful branching that hangs down however this is not the tree to choose if there is a septic system or drain pipes nearby as its rooting behavior can be extremely disruptive. There are dozens upon dozens of growth traits which are helpful in selecting tree species for various planting strategies and locations. Resistance to air pollution, ability to withstand salt runoff, drought resistance, deciduous vs coniferous, fall-time colors, flowering or non-flowering, and of course the list goes on.
This collection offers a practical side for viewers to study and examine the characteristics of various tree species (all of which are identified through their botanical name tags) but it also provides a lovely knoll for picnics, sitting, bird watching and other nature oriented pursuits.