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Champion Trees of Scugog by Jason Eenling

I have made a few trips to the Pine Grove Cemetery in Prince Albert this year. It’s one of the oldest preserved areas for trees in Scugog. In general, the trees here have had the freedom to grow since the day they were planted with no major disturbances, unlike our older residential and downtown areas. Established in 1862, I have a good feeling most trees here were planted around the turn of the century. That would put many of them around the 125 year mark. There are many oversized and mature trees in the cemetery but there is a relatively small tree that has caught my eye each time because I have never seen one as mature in my 20 plus years as an arborist in all the Greater Toronto Area. My candidate here is a Japanese Lilac Tree, Syringa reticulata, not to be confused with a lilac bush. There are lilac trees in the lilac family and they are later bloomers then the traditional lilac bush. There are no lilac trees or bushes native to North America, they are all introduced. If you ever found a lilac tree or bush out in the country, it is most likely a survivor from an old farm or homestead. They do not self seed so every one you see was intentionally planted. Lilac trees tend to flower in June unlike their fragrant shrub friends which flower almost a month earlier. This lilac tree in particular is larger in trunk diameter than any lilac tree I have ever seen. It has splits, decay and dieback, but those are all expected in a tree that’s beyond its life expectancy. I have several more trees from this cemetery to list in future articles. I appreciate the feedback I have had from those that have read my articles. Emailed suggestions for some big tree candidates from readers will be followed up on in time. I welcome all those to recommend their favorites to eenlingj@gmail.com

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