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Letchworth Park and Arbo Retum

arboretum, tree, trees, practical and forest

LETCHWORTH PARK AND ARBO RETUM. Letchworth park comprises a tract of land of 1,000 acres in extent, lying on either side of the Genesee River in Livingston and Wyoming counties, New York. The property was acquired in 1907, by gift from William Pryor Letchworth to the State of New York, and placed by the deed of gift by the donor in the permanent custody of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. The park is a place, of rare beauty and grandeur har moniously blended, through which the Genesee River cuts its way. Within its boundaries are the three falls long known as the Upper Falls of the Genesee, or sometimes as the Portage Falls.

The custodian society, recognizing the need in America of a practical demonstration in the growing of forest trees, and with the purpose of increasing the timber resources of America, formulated plans for a forest arboretum soon after the property came into its bands. Re specting the function of the arboretum, the director stated, "The principle upon which the Letchworth Park Arboretum is established is that it shall consist of a permanent collec tion of the various species of the world's tim ber trees, likely to thrive in this northern climate, planted scientifically to test their value and illustrate the processes of development, so supplying not only knowledge for knowledge's sake but also knowledge for practical use." The possibilities of the arboretum for extend ing exact knowledge of tree growth will be fully developed. The growth of the trees is measured periodically, their liability to disease is noted and their capacity for seed bearing; their behavior in pure stands and in mixture, their influence upon the forest floor, and other practical considerations bearing upon their value for commercial tree-planting is carefully observed and recorded. By this means the

Letchworth park arboretum will aid materially in laying an exact scientific basis for the suc cessful extension of practical forestry in the United States. Every step is taken, not only to ensure results of the highest scientific value from forest work at Letchworth park, but also to develop its usefulness as an object lesson to all park visitors.

In 1912 the custodian society planted the first tree in the arboretum. The nursery where the seeds are sown is an interesting educational feature of the arboretum work, for here the early stages in the development of timber trees may be observed— from the germination of the seed to the removal of the plants to the field plantations. Something over 500,000 plants have been transferred from the nursery rows to the fields, where they are grouped in blocks of an acre or more each, with a view, so far as possible, of showing color effects. All the important native and foreign trees that may thrive in that locality have been or will be planted, and will be made conveniently acces sible by walks and drives through this living tree museum for means of study and observa tion of visitors to Letchworth park. In all 297 different species have been planted in the arboretum. It is expected by the custodian society that this living tree museum will be to the tree plarber what the laboratory is to the student, a tangible, available demonstration of processes and results.