The Arboretum consists of 548 acres. Forty acres are devoted to its Collections and gardens, contain approximately 2,000 labeled specimens, and represent important horticultural collections.
The Flowering Ornamental Tree and Shrub Collections
Landis preserves a historic lilac collection and maintains appropriate records for future generations to utilize. Fred Lape had a special interest in lilacs. Father John Fiala in his book, Lilacs, the Genus Syringa, said the following, Fred Lape was an author, linguist, horticulturist and a lilac enthusiast. His (book), A Garden of Trees and Shrubs, is a must for estate planners who are beginners. He was the originator of the S. vulgaris seedlings from Kapriz and Cheat seed obtained from Russia and the originator of the beautiful late blooming white lilac Summer White for which he received an Award of Merit. He received a commendation for his translation of the Russian lilac publications into English.
The Arboretums collection is made up of cold hardy members of the genus that will survive and grow in the northeast United States. The collection site also acts as a trial area for newly developed plants that have potential for use in northern landscapes. Rhododendrons are wonderful for color in spring, providing a delight for the eye.
Crabapples provide spectacular spring blooming and autumn fruiting displays, however, diseases and pests have been very destructive to the genus Malus. As the result of intensive breeding programs most of the newer varieties are resistant to diseases and pests. Visitors can see the older and more recently developed varieties side by side in the Arboretums collection.
Tough Trees for Tough Sites
Urban Trees: Site Assessment Selection for Stress Tolerance Planting, by Dr. Nina Bassuk (Cornell University Press, 2000) lists more than 100 varieties of trees that are appropriate for urban environments. Currently, Landis has the majority of the trees listed. When complete, Landis will have the only comprehensive collection of trees tolerant of the rigors of northeast urban environments. This collection provides live specimens that may be viewed in their mature or near mature forms so the homeowner and municipality may determine if the trees' form, size and impact are appropriate for a particular difficult location.
The Landis Conifer Collection is a representative sample of mature plants, highly suited to the northeastern landscape. This collection of plants: pine, spruce and fir, is exceptional for its maturity, size and age, condition, and range of species. The Fir (Abies) Collection at Landis has one of the most complete groupings of mature firs in the east, with sixteen species. Fred Lape was well known for the conifer collection.
The Arboretum is a nationally recognized collector of the genus Quercus, oaks of the northeastern United States, and has registered this collection with the American Public Garden Association's (APGAs) North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC) The Arboretum collection is unique in that many of its oaks were started from wild seedlings collected by Fred Lape. These slow growing specimens are now approaching a youthful maturity of fifty years.
The Arboretums Great Oak is conservatively estimated to be 500 years old. This white oak, Quercus alba, bears the marks of severe climate and northwest exposure. It is the Arboretums signature tree.
Buckleya distichophylla is an endangered species that grows naturally as an understory shrub in only one region in the United States, in the Southern Appalachians. Seven original seedlings from the Biltmore estate in Asheville, North Carolina, planted at Landis in 1952 have been surprisingly successful and have established the Arboretum as an unexpectedly strong outpost of this plant. Its numbers have increased to over 55 plants. Buckleya is a hemi parasite; it has green leaves for photosynthesis and relies on the host plant roots for water and mineral nutrients.
Landis Outstanding Specimens and Notable Trees and Shrubs
The Arboretum has a significant number of specimen trees and outstanding shrubs. A listing of thirty of these trees can be found in the Notable Trees brochure. Outstanding shrubs can be found throughout the Arboretum. Forty-one species of trees and shrubs growing at Landis are outside their hardiness zones. These species are not usually expected to survive in USDA Zone 5 and yet, they survive due to the many microclimates at the Arboretum and conditions specific to each site.
In addition to woody collections, Landis provides outstanding collections of flowering perennials for visitors to enjoy from April through October. The Van Loveland and Quarry gardens include bulbs, perennials, shrubs and dwarf conifers.
Native Plants and Natural Areas
The natural areas of the Arboretum provide a wonderful opportunity to enjoy and study native plants and ecosystems, open field evolution, effect of undesired invasive species, endangered plants, and forest communities of the region. These areas are vital to the Arboretum as a study area for ecosystems of the Northeast. The various stages of succession and various ecosystems that exist on the property are significant in that a wide range of environments can be studied or researched at one site. Trails wind through mature and near mature forests and wildflower fields. Landis Arboretum is one of three arboreta in eastern North America that have old growth forests. The other two are the New York Botanical Garden and Rutgers University. Among its two Old Growth Forests stand a widely diverse range of species that comprise the old growth forests. The dominant trees are white and red oaks, American beech, sugar maple, hemlock, yellow birch, and black birch. The old growth forests are accessible to visitors by walking the Great Oak/Woodland Trail, starting in the corner of the field behind the Arboretums greenhouse to the Great Oak. The route, approximately three miles round trip from the parking lot to the larger Old Growth Forest area and back, is clearly marked for visitors to the Arboretum.
Many native plants are labeled along the woodland trail. The Arboretum is developing a comprehensive native flora interpretive signage program that will greatly add to the enjoyment and understanding of these areas. The extensive natural areas at Landis is also makes it an outstanding location for wildlife viewing. This property is considered excellent for bird watching. Free bird walks are offered occasionally as part of our Calendar of Events.
The Native Plant Collection
Along the half mile Willow Plant trail we have created a collection of woody plants, all native to New York state. The plants are grouped by families so that related species can be easily compared. Some plants with specialized needs are also planted in their favorite environment. We have a dry open location, an under-story location and a place set aside for wetland plants. Altogether we have most of NYs native woody plants.
We have also created a bog garden with most of plants of a northern peat bog. This garden is located at the beginning of the woodland trail and includes both woody and herbaceous plants nestled in a bed of sphagnum moss floating on a raft.
PlantCollections: Local Action, Global Gain
The Landis Arboretum is one of 15 public gardens nationwide chosen to participate in the initial development of a database system for people looking for information about plant collections online.
The Chicago Botanic Garden, in collaboration with APGA, the University of Kansas, and 15 public gardens nationwide, developed PlantCollections, an international partnership of botanic gardens, arboreta, universities, governmental funding agencies and commercial database software developers. This 3-year project will strengthen relationships among the participating institutions and foster the sharing of information with the public. This database system for web-based querying provides public access to information stored within plant record databases, thereby improving our understanding of plants and the natural world. For example, Landis has supplied DNA of our oaks to a research project and Buckleya queries from several gardens and from a perfume company (Buckleya is the only sandalwood species in North America.)
PlantCollections A Community Solution. An Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership grant in the Building Digital Resources Division. A collaboration between Chicago Botanic Garden (project director) and the North American Plant Collections Consortium of American Public Gardens Association, University of Kansas Biodiversity Research Center and Natural History Museum, Imbrogliare, LLC, Morphbank at Florida State University School of Computational Sciences, BG-BASE, Inc., BG-BASE LTD (UK), Beijing Botanical Garden, The National Trust (UK) and 15 botanic gardens and arboreta.