Hanover's Special Trees

Martie Young
Adams County Master Gardener

Master Gardeners are often encouraged to take a subject that they have prepared for a short presentation and expand on it. All presentations take a lot of preparation and research, and sometimes a writer will benefit by using some of the extra research for another project.

Therefore, I want to tell you something about the trees that are a part of the Warehime-Myers Mansion in Hanover. I'm sure that people must notice the large, stately trees that live in this yard and you may wonder what some of them are. Mr. C. N. Myers, the original owner, enjoyed collecting and planting a variety of trees-many native trees and also trees from other countries. He built his Mansion in 1912-13 and probably started planting trees at that time; his collection expanded from the yard to what is now Myers' Arboretum, a public park belonging to the Hanover Borough. This park consists of about 50 living trees from an original collection of more than 60. Many, but not all, of the trees are labeled with name tags.

Probably the species most frequently planted is the Beech. There are two types of beech--Fagus grandifolia (American Beech) and Fagus sylvatica (European Beech). There are no varieties (cultivars) of American Beech but many of European Beech. There are two European Beeches in the yard of the Mansion facing Hanover St. at the corner of Baltimore St. in Hanover. These trees have a densely pyramidal to oval outline in youth, branching to the ground. They become more rounded in age but never lose the stately elegance. All beeches develop rich russet and golden brown colors. The smooth, gray, elephant hide-like bark is the hallmark of the beech and is stunning in the winter landscape. The tree's one drawback is that it should be reserved for large-area planting because of its massive mature size. The American Beech will thrive in regions with hot summers. It forms an impressive tree that can reach 65 feet with a similar spread; and it is distinctive in the forest in winter because it retains its straw-colored leaves until spring.

Before doing any research on beeches, I assumed they live hundreds of years. I have since learned that beeches may live around 100 years so these beeches may be coming to the end of their lives. There are several more beeches in the Myers Arboretum that faces Boundary Avenue and is across the alley from the Mansion. There are eight different varieties of European Beech in this arboretum. Tri-color Beech has purple leaves that are edged with an irregular pale pink border. Columnar Beech is a tall tree with erect branches that broadens in maturity; it is sometimes known as 'Fastigiata.' There are several Purple beech trees and a Weeping Purple Beech and a Weeping European Beech also know as 'Pendula.' The Cut-leaf Beech ('Asplenifolia') has a delicate, fine-textured form, with gracefully cut leaves that impart a fernlike texture. It makes a soft, billowy impression in the landscape. These are impressive trees and many of them have their limbs resting on the ground forming a dark cave under the tree.

Probably the next most numerous trees are oaks (Quercus). The varieties include a Swamp White Oak, Turkey Oak, Overcup Oak, Upright English Oak, and Chinese Oak. These 5 different oaks are found in the Arboretum with three different varieties in the Mansion yard: Bur Oak, Pin Oak, and English Oak. The most consistent trait of the oaks is the acorn that all oaks produce. Most oaks have lobed or toothed leaves but a few are smooth; most oaks lose their leaves but evergreen oaks reside in the South; most oaks are tall and stately but a few are shrub-like. Oaks are separated into two groups; the white oaks that have rounded leaf lobes and acorns that mature in a single season and the black oaks with pointed or bristle-tipped lobes and acorns that take two years to mature. Fall color for all oaks can range from yellow to orangey-brown to red or dark red. Sometimes it depends on the fall weather how brilliant the trees are.

Many of the oak trees found in our surrounding forests are approximately 100 or more years old by now since many of the forests were clearcut in the late 1800s and early 1900s for charcoal operations. They can live for several centuries and reach over 120 feet tall.

One of the most striking trees in both these gardens is the Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca,' (Atlas Blue Cedar); there is also a weeping form of the blue cedar in the Arboretum. This tree is one of the most spectacular of all blue conifers and a very popular tree for specimen planting. The leaves are silvery blue and have a highly effective shimmering quality. Two other cedars grow in the gardens: Cedar of Lebanon, which is a large wide-spreading tree with the familiar, picturesque, flat-topped and tiered structure, and Deodar Cedar which is a somewhat pendent tree with leaves that are dark green.

It is impossible to describe all the trees in detail, but the grounds of the Warehime-Myers Mansion at 308 Baltimore Street and the Myers Arboretum nearby are open during daylight hours for strolling, picture-taking or just enjoying the variety and majesty of mature trees that are truly beautiful.

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