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News Releases Archive (Prior to 2011)

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Secrest Arboretum Plants 1,000th Tree Since Tornado

September 29, 2011

WOOSTER, Ohio -- Secrest Arboretum, which lost 1,600 trees to a tornado last year, recently dug in replacement No. 1,000 -- exactly one year later.

Shovels in hand, friends and officials of the Wooster facility planted a new tupelo tree in a short ceremony on Sept. 16.

Ken Cochran, the arboretum’s program director, said the tree, an especially tall-growing variety, “will grow straight up -- a tower. It’ll get knocked around by the wind.”

“No thanks,” joked Bill Ravlin, an associate director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the arboretum’s home. “Been there. Done that.” The OARDC campus itself suffered an estimated $25 million to $30 million in damage from the twister.

Joining them were OARDC Director Steve Slack; Dave Benfield, an OARDC associate director; Bobby Moser, Ohio State University’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, of which OARDC is a part; and Kevin Thompson, executive director of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association. Many ONLA members have donated labor and trees to repair the arboretum.

OSU Extension horticulture educator Jim Chatfield spoke to the crowd, quoting the poet Robert Frost:

A tree’s leaves may be ever so good,

So may its bar, so may its wood;

But unless you put the right thing to its root

It never will show much flower or fruit.

“You’re putting the right thing to the root today,” said Chatfield, who has helped to document details on all the trees that were lost in the storm -- their age, type, size, and the value of their environmental services.

Some 200 tree seedlings -- dawn redwoods, katsura trees and umbrella magnolias -- were given away too. All were grown from seeds that came from trees that fell in the storm.

The program was part of a day of activities to celebrate the campus’s recovery from the tornado and to dedicate an advanced new biosecure research facility.

Workers and volunteers continue to replant the arboretum, which saw about 30 of its 120 acres virtually leveled.

Details on the arboretum’s tornado renewal fund are at

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Kurt Knebusch
Ken Cochran