Garden News Blog

Garden Weathers Storm

BBG’s arborists, Travis Wolf and Chris Roddick, joined me for an initial inspection of the grounds this morning. BBG seemed to fare relatively well. While a few trees were lost, either uprooted by the wind or so heavily damaged they will have be removed, the Garden overall was spared what occurred on all sides of us.

The Horticulture department will be busy today and next week with the cleanup from this storm. Some notable specimens were affected:

  • In the Osborne Garden, close to Mount Prospect Park, a 70-year-old linden blew over.
  • In the north service area, a large pin oak (Quercus palustris) blew over.
  • We observed snapped and cracked branches in the canopy of the Native Flora Garden.
  • On the Overlook, a ginkgo (Gingkgo biloba) was broken in half, and one of the American yellowwoods (Cladrastis kentukea) sustained a lot of damage and will possibly have to be removed. Many other yellowwoods on the Overlook lost smaller branches.
  • On the slope behind the Annual Border a 30-foot-tall Chinese sand pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) blew over.
  • Around Oak Circle, the Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) that was planted in 1916 lost a limb. When this limb came down, it also damaged a Japanese zelkova (Zelkova serrata).
  • Two of our Long Island champion trees lost branches: the panicled goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) in the Osborne Garden and the Turkish filbert (Corylus columa), located just north of the Herb Garden orchard.
  • Patrick Dougherty's woven-willow sculpture escaped unscathed.

We’ll keep the Native Flora Garden closed through the weekend to ensure everyone's safety. Apart from that, the grounds are open, and many parts of the Garden seem barely affected. We indeed are fortunate!

Mark Fisher is director of Horticulture at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.


  • Damon Park SLope September 27, 2010

    My oak tree sustained a direct hit.  The top was snapped out and tossed across three back yards. It only has 3 out of 7 large branches left.

    Do you think I will have to cut it down, or should I give it a chance?

  • Gregory Klosek September 26, 2010

    Prospect Park didn’t fare all that well. Most severe damage is localized near PPW north of 9th Street to Grand Army Plaza & in the Vale of Cashmere. Crews have done an amazing job cleaning up, but there’s still lots to do. Almost all areas have been reopened to the public, except for Vale of Cashmere, which is still impassable.  Mulching storm damaged trees doesn’t treat them as “inconvenient garbage,” rather, this recycles them into new trees and other greenery. “A ceremony to thank the trees”? You can make your own. My own observance of Solstice this year included hugging a grand old elm near Grand Army Plaza that still is very grand, despite having lost several limbs.

  • Andersd Knutsson September 21, 2010

    That storm must have been awesome! Since I was away, I really do appreciate the update and would, in fact, have liked to see many more specific pictures.  These trees ARE the BBG, they ARE our treasure - like the Rembrandts at the museum - and although we can not get them back, I for one, would have liked for the trees and their parts and pieces that perished, to be treated much more dignified than (what seems to be) just so much inconvenient garbage to be broomed away!
    I propose a ceremony to thank the trees that gave us so much.

  • Donna in E'burg September 17, 2010

    I do appreciate the detailed update after the storm. I love the garden and was concerned about the damage.

  • Katherine September 17, 2010

    Great news! I hear Prospect Park also fared relatively well. Do you think it’s because these trees have wider root systems compared than sidewalk trees, which get most of their water from right near the tree pit?

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Image, top of page:
BBG arborist at work
BBG's Horticulture department is hard at work addressing damage from yesterday's storm. Photo by Dave Allen.