Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn President Bill Clendaniel Retires | Page 8

A Somewhat Magical Happening: The Prince of Wales Beech “Returns” By Dennis Collins, Horticultural Curator 1 2 6 | Sweet Auburn Mount Auburn Cemete ry he ld a special tre e planting ceremony on May 3 to commemorate the loss of one of its most famous trees, the Prince of Wales Beech. That venerable tree—planted in 1860 by the then Prince of Wales, who went on to become Britain’s King Edward VII—was more than 150 years old. Unfortunately, weak- ened by Beech Tree Decline (photo 1), it was found to be a hazard to public safety and was taken down in March (photos 2-4). The tree installed in its place, a product of the somewhat magical practice of horticultural grafting, is a scion, a cutting from the original tree that is now 15 feet tall. Knowing that the tree might ultimately have to be removed, the horticulture staff took cuttings from it in 1993 and Weston Nurseries in Hopkington, MA, grafted these onto several young root stocks. Only one scion survived, that which was planted in May (photo 6). The Prince of Wales Beech was the focus of a major preservation initiative in 1996, which included removing a paved road several feet away from the trunk to reduce pressure on the roots. The lawn adjoining the tree was re- placed by shrubs and herbaceous groundcovers, which are less competitive during droughts. The soil around the tree was enriched with emulsified seaweed, and gravel aeration channels were installed to alleviate compacted soil conditions. 3