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.