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Welcome trees! WNA’s Tree Planting program saw 6,000 trees of diverse native species planted on our 100-acre campus. In the spring of 2022, we will open the WNA Arboretum to the public to enjoy the tranquility of our beautiful campus and mature native trees.

Watch this page for more information on our developing trail system and opening day in spring 2022.

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The Background

The potential for WNA’s tree project was brought to our attention by our local partners, Rupert Rossetti of the Octoraro Watershed Association and Craig Highfield of The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Mr. Highfield, Director of Forest Programs for the Alliance connected WNA to a tree-planting program funded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust Fund in partnership with the Maryland Forestry Foundation. WNA then received a grant to plant about 6000 diverse native tree seedlings on over twenty-two acres of WNA’s 100-acre campus. The Alliance is currently engaged in forty such projects in areas all over Maryland, which are focused on nutrient and sediment runoff reduction to improve the health of Chesapeake Bay water systems.

The reforestation of the campus will help the Alliance reach their goal of reducing sediment and nutrient pollution, leading to the improved health of the waters of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The tree planting will increase habitat for local animals, such as songbirds, native insects, deer, and small mammals. By providing habitat, WNA will be increasing the biodiversity of its campus, and decreasing its negative impact on local ecosystems, all while making the campus a living laboratory for students. Last, but definitely not least, as our trees mature, they will make a significant contribution to reducing WNA’s carbon footprint and contribute to climate change mitigation.

Planted Trees

River birch (Betula negra)

With a growth rate of about 24” per year the River Birch can grow to be at least 40’ to 70’ tall and canopies of 40’ to 60’ wide at maturity. Nutlets are produced by female catkins (small flower clusters) in May and June. Wild turkey and ruffed grouse will eat the seeds produced by the River Birch; white-tailed deer are known to graze close by as well.

White oak (Quercus alba)

In a single year the White Oak could grow up to 24” and no less than 12”. After 20 years the tree will start producing its own acorns which will eventually germinate. The tree grows both male and female flowers; the males are yellow-green with drooping petals while the females are smaller and red with no petals. The acorns from the oak are eaten by a number of birds and rodents, and the leaf buds are eaten by deer.

Black cherry (Prunus serotina)

At mature age the Black Cherry will be no shorter than 40’ and typically no taller than 50’. The white colored flowers of the tree will attract various pollinators and songbirds. Seeds that pass through the digestive tract of birds and other rodents have a high chance of germination. A single tree can also produce a large number of seeds that will germinate on their own over the span of three years.

Yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipfera)

Reaching maturity the Yellow Poplar can grow to be 70’ to 90’ with a top spread of about 40’. In a single year the tree can grow more than 24”. From April to June, the Poplar’s flowers take on a light green-yellow hue. The seeds of the Yellow Poplar are inside of its cone shaped fruits which hang off from the branches. Even though the fruits produce many seeds the germination rates are low. The Yellow Poplar attracts several animals to the area around them such as red and gray squirrels, rabbits, cardinals and white-tailed deer.

Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica)

At maturity, the Blackgum tree can reach between 30’ to 50’. In a single year the tree height can increase anywhere from 12” to 24”. The tree produces both male and female flowers; the males form dense bunches while females form smaller bunches. The fruits of the Blackgum can be eaten by several kinds of birds from August through October. Any seeds that pass through the digestive tract will begin to germinate.

The American Plum (Prunus Americana)

The American Plum can grow to be 20-40’ feet tall with a canopy diameter of 25’. In late summer this tree grows plums that will spread of its seeds. This tree attracts squirrels, deer, foxes, coyotes, opossums, and raccoons. These animals eat the fruits then spread the seeds to a new location. *The plums are safe for human consumption.

The Red Maple (Acer Rubrum)

The Red Maple can grow to be 60-90’ tall with a canopy diameter of 30-50’. They have been recorded with a maximum height of 120’. The Red Maple spreads its seeds through helicopter-like seed pods. This tree attracts squirrels, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, and rabbits.

The American Sycamore (Platanus Occidentalis)

The American Sycamore can grow to be 70-100’ tall. They have been recorded with a max height of 175’. The American Sycamore spreads seeds through circular seed pods. The various animals attracted to this species include American Goldfinch, Barred Owl, Black-Capped Chickadee, Dark-Eyed Junco, Great-Crested Flycatcher, Purple Finch, and Wood Duck.

The Sweetgum (Liquidambar Styriciflua)

The Sweetgum can grow to be 60-75’ tall with a canopy diameter of 40-50’. The Sweetgum spreads its seeds in circular seed pods. This tree attracts a variety of animals including Squirrels, Wood ducks, White-tailed deer, and beavers.

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

The Northern Red Oak reaches a height range of 60’ to 75’. The canopy can span up to 45’ in width when mature. The Northern Red Oak reproduce via acorn, which are spread by animals. Animals that generally depend on the Northern red oak include the Eastern chipmunk, flying squirrel and white-foot mouse. Birds like the red-headed woodpecker and blue jay are also attracted to this tree.

Red Bud (Cercis canadensis)

The Red Bud reaches a height of 20’ to 30’ when mature. Their canopy widths range between 25’ and 35’. They produce seeds that are spread by the wind. The seeds can be eaten and spread by birds as well. They are approached by honey bees, white-tailed deer, squirrels, wild turkeys, and quail.


Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

The Common Persimmon reaches heights of 60’ and canopy widths of 20’ to 30’ when mature. They reproduce using fruits. These fruits are spread by animals that eat the fruits. The seeds cannot be digested, so when the animals create waste, the seeds are dispersed. A variety of birds, along with racoons, opossums, and skunks rely on the tree.

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