|Source: Wiki Commons / Bruce Marlin. A 40-year old Quercus bicolor at the Morton Arboretum.|
Over the weekend, 16 swamp white oaks (Quercus bicolor) arrived at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza site. This morning, the trees were planted and by the time the memorial is completed, a total of 400 of trees will have been planted. The swamp white oaks were grown at a nursery in Millstone, New Jersey. One of the criteria for tree selection was that the trees come from a local source, according Ula Ilnytzky of the Associated Press. Environmental Design, a tree transplanting and preservation company in Houston, has responsibility for the plaza's trees. The plaza was designed by Peter Walker Partners and Landscape Architecture and Michael Arad of Handel Architects.
Of the trees, 9/11 Memorial Chairman Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said
"The planting of the first trees on the Memorial marks a special moment in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. Over this next year, the trees will continue to be planted in stages as sections of the Memorial Plaza are completed. The Memorial grove consisting of approximately 400 trees will symbolize hope and renewal, and create a vital new green space in the heart of Lower Manhattan."And 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said,
"These are the first of hundreds of trees that will grace the Memorial’s landscape as a symbol of rebirth at the World Trade Center site. The trees will create a space of reflection, and remembrance apart from the sights and sounds of the City."[Source: The MEMO Blog]
The swamp white oak, in an optimal setting ("better drained lowland soils"), is "relatively long lived--up to 300 years or more" and can achieve heights of 60 to 75 feet and diameters at breast height of 24 to 36 inches. Plotnik wrote that Quercus bicolor "transplants willingly and puts out fine yellow and red autumn foliage." Also, some of the swamp white oak's lobes can be pointed, which is "rare" among white oaks; white oaks typically have rounded leaf lobes.