Maple Row

As we return to the path, you'll see the Stone-Davis dormitory on your left and a lawn leading to the College Club on your right. Lining our path is a row of old sugar maples. The sugar maple perhaps recalls New England more than any other species. The trees used to and still do line streets and driveways, and their spreading branches provide shade in the summer and beautiful color in autumn. This time of year, they are producing and storing sap in their roots. In spring, the sap rises and flows through the tree to the tips of the branches, where the leaves come out. The sap can also be collected in late winter and early spring, preferably when days are warm and nights are cold, and boiled down into maple syrup and maple sugar. Though all maples produce sap, the sugar maple's is undoubtedly the most famous. These Wellesley maples used to be tapped, but aren't anymore. When trees are tapped too much, they don't have sufficient sap for their own uses, and suffer.

You've probably noticed the holes in these trees; some appear natural, showing where a branch has broken off, while others are obviously made by animals. Holes don't weaken trees; on the contrary, hollow trees are stronger than solid ones! Holes actually increase the value and usefulness of the tree by allowing it to support other species. Woodpeckers peck holes in trees to get at insect food. Beetles often find natural holes in trees and maintain them &endash; look at this hole; it seems to be a scar from a fallen branch, but it's been maintained by some sort of wood-boring insect. In winter, especially, many animals take shelter in holes and hollow trees.

Most of the trees lining this path are old, dating back to Wellesley's early days. However, there are a few saplings that have been planted where old trees have died. It's nature's and the grounds crew's way of ensuring a dynamic habitat! Let's cut off to the left here, and walk across College Road to see a tree that's the only survivor of a generation.



Created by: Niki Zhou and Carla Holleran
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: June 25, 2004
Last Modified: August 7, 2004
Expries: June 1, 2005