A newly developed feature at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Jefferson Farm and Garden showcases some of Missouri’s most important native tree species – the Native Tree Grove and Interpretive Trail.
The Native Tree Grove encompasses three acres and exhibits more than 40 varieties of common Missouri trees, a walking trail, assembly area for programs, resting spot for trail walkers and a unique tree cookie display that shares the story of how trees grow. The self-guided trail map will lead visitors through the Native Tree Grove and identifies the common and scientific name of the trees, and one interesting fact about each tree.
“Missouri has a wealth of native trees and Jefferson Farm and Garden is committed to demonstrating a variety of ways that native trees can be included in many farming, gardening and conservation practices,” said Amy Dooley, director of Jefferson Farm and Garden.
The development of the project was achieved with the help of many collaborators, including Tim Moloney, landscape design instructor in the Division of Plant Sciences; Ben Knapp, assistant professor of silviculture and superintendent of the Baskett Research Center; and Dusty Walter, director of resource management for the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and superintendent of the Wurdack Research Center.
Moloney coordinated a class project for his advanced landscape design class where students identified and located the proper placement and spacing of the trees according to a set of architectural design plans. Knapp provided oversight to the MU forestry club students who planted the trees. Walter assisted with the development of the care and maintenance plan, and has provided on-going inspection of the trees to evaluate their health for long-term success.
“The Native Tree Grove project provided a great opportunity for the Forestry Club to get experience planting trees while collaborating with personnel at CAFNR’s Jefferson Farm and Garden on a project that will benefit the Mizzou and Columbia communities well into the future,” Knapp said.
The Native Tree Grove will tell the story of native trees and a variety of wildlife found in and around mid-Missouri. In addition, visitors will learn about the ways trees contribute to the production of food, fiber and many other products that are essential to our lifestyle.
“When people come to experience the Native Tree Grove and Interpretive Trail, we will encourage them to take in all the sights and sounds of the area,” Dooley said. “In addition to the tree identification tags, visitors should keep an eye out for colorful songbirds in the branches, little critters that scurry along the dirt path or insects that make their home in rotting logs on the ground. There is so much to see and do along the trail.”
Funding for the Native Tree Grove was provided by a Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Community Forest Council, which provides support for the management, improvement or conservation of trees on public lands.
Jefferson Farm and Garden is located at 4800 New Haven Road in Columbia. Public hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on some weekends during designated special events. For more information about the Native Tree Grove, or other features at Jefferson Farm and Garden, contact Dooley at 573-239-6134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.