Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn President Bill Clendaniel Retires | Page 9

to Mount Auburn Beech trees are now known to be highly susceptible to droughts, which have become increasingly common in Boston during the past few decades. When stressed by droughts, beeches become vulnerable to a fungal blight disease. In 1982 we first noticed what would become rec- ognized as Beech Tree Decline, a condition characterized by branch die-back and oozing black lesions on the trunk of the tree (photo1). This decline seems to affect the largest and oldest trees, specimens 120 to 150 years old. In March 2007, we brought in a team using the Picus Sonic Tomograph, a new European technology to conduct sound wave imaging. This detects and electronically mea- sures the amount of compromised wood in a tree trunk. Using these measurements, arborists weigh the chances of trunk failure. When more than 33% of the trunk’s wood is unsound, arborists usually decide to remove a tree. The imaging done for the Prince of Wales Beech showed more than 50% of the wood in the trunk was unsound, so the tree had to be cut down. Members of the arborist staff work diligently to aid Mount Auburn’s collection of beeches, though an effec- tive treatment for the Beech Tree Decline remains elusive. Without their efforts, our beech collection would suffer further depletion. 4 6 L to r: President Bill Clendaniel, Superintendant of Grounds Paul Walker, and Vice Presidents Dave Barnett and Mike Albano observe the remaining stump of the tree. 5 Summer 2008 | 7