Garden Club Plants Elms at Schools

Resistant to disease, they should live hundreds of years

The Philipstown Garden Club, in an effort to reintroduce American Elms to Philipstown, on May 11 planted one on the Haldane campus in Cold Spring and one at Garrison School with the assistance of kindergarteners who added mulch and water.

Dutch Elm disease has had a devastating effect on elms, but a cultivar known as the Princeton Elm developed by a nurseryman in Princeton, New Jersey, in the 1920s is immune, explained Christopher Radko, a provisional member of the Garden Club. Some of the elms planted in Princeton have so far survived nearly 100 years. They are winter hardy to minus 44 degrees, grow as high as 100 feet tall and can live several hundred years.

“What’s so cool is that these two trees will become the kindergartners’ own trees, and they will grow together,” said Radko, who contributed funds to purchase the trees. “When these kids become adults, they can return to visit with their own kids to see the elm tree they helped to plant.”

Members of the Philipstown Garden Club earlier visited each school on Arbor Day (April 28) to tell the students about the elms and present a lesson on the significance of trees as providers of timber, shelter, food, shade, oxygen and beauty.

Besides Radko, Garden Club volunteers who worked on project include Susan Choi, Mishara Canino, Deb MacLeod, Pam Euler Halling, Barbara Price, Pamela Doan, Jeanne Clemente and Cathy Duke. The advisors were JoAnne Brown and Elise LaRocco.

The two 500-pound trees were purchased at Rosedale Nurseries in Hawthorne, which provided a discount, and transported by Tony Bardes of Habitat Revival Company to the schools at no charge.

At Garrison School, Dick Timmons and Brian Butting dug the hole for the tree, while at Haldane that duty was taken care of by Michael Twardy and Tony Stronconi.

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