The Arbor Lodge Algerian Fir Is Truly a One-of-a-Kind in Nebraska

The Arbor Lodge Algerian Fir Is Truly a One-of-a-Kind in Nebraska

The Shady Lane

Arbor Lodge in Nebraska City is home to a wide variety of unique and historical trees.
Happy Monday! We visited Arbor Lodge in Nebraska City last week to help map several trees for the Nebraska Champion Tree program. Arbor Lodge is a tree lover's dream and is home to a plethora of uncommon species as well as trees with historic connections. At least six trees are considered the largest in Nebraska and there are trees that date to the late 1800s and the days of J. Sterling Morton and his family. We also learned about trees with connections to the US Revolutionary War and also to Jessie Owens and his Olympic triumphs in Germany in the 1930s. Arbor Lodge has so many great trees to highlight that we could write for days on the topic. But here are a few gems that caught our attention last week and we'll make them the Woodies of the Week.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) - There are many fantastic ginkgoes at Arbor Lodge, with some likely over 100 years old now. The ginkgo grove northeast of the mansion is a truly spectacular site. Ginkgo is easily identified by its fan shaped leaf. Modern ginkgo trees come from an ancient lineage that dates to the age of dinosaurs. You can learn more about it here

Sassafras (Sassafras alibidum) is best known by its distinctive leaves that come in a variety of shapes, including the iconic mitten shape. Sassafras is often a shrubby tree growing in thickets but several Arbor Lodge trees are nearly 90' tall and with 8ft. trunk circumferences. They are truly impressive and the largest in the state. Learn more about Sassafras here

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) is a very common tree of eastern US woodlands but is rare in Nebraska. Several outstanding specimens can be found at Arbor Lodge including the state champion with an 8' trunk circumference and 75' tall. Beech trees are known for their smooth bark, distinctive wavy-edged leaves, sharp winter buds and beech nuts that feed lots of forest wildlife. Learn more here

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra). One of the state's largest and most impressive black walnuts grows just north of the mansion. It has a trunk circumference of nearly 15' and is almost 100' tall. Many other large walnuts can be found nearby. Learn more here

Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). The state's largest Douglas-fir grows about 200' southeast of the mansion. It has a trunk circumference of 11' and is over 70' tall. This unique specimen has a large low branch that has reached out and rooted into the ground several feet from the tree. Douglas-fir is a naturally wide-ranging tree across the western US and the Rocky Mountain variety is the best type for Nebraska. Learn more here.  

Algerian Fir (Abies numidica). As far as we are aware, the fantastic Algerian fir located just south of the mansion is the only tree of its type in the state and is likely the rarest tree at Arbor Lodge. The Lodge tree is about 30' tall and 20' wide and is always a deep dark green with a silvery cast. The cones of this fir are quite large. We hope to figure out how to get more of this tree into Nebraska. Learn more here
The Arbor Lodge Algerian fir is truly a one-of-a-kind in Nebraska.
You never know what you might find lurking in the Arbor Lodge Ginkgo grove.
The Arbor Lodge black walnut is nearly 100' tall. 
Myself, Laura Steinman and Brad Kindler were happy to pose in the grove of towering Sassafras trees. Mark Canney took the picture. It's tough work but someone has to do it. ;-)
Justin Evertson, Green Infrastructure Coordinator
Nebraska Forest Service & Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
402-472-6604 |
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