Hort Woods rehabilitation project to begin soon

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The rehabilitation of the historic Hort Woods, located on Park Avenue next to North Halls on Penn State's University Park campus, is scheduled to begin soon. The University's Office of Physical Plant will be removing invasive plants this winter and will replant the area with native woodland trees, shrubs and herbs in late spring. The goal of the project is to enhance and maintain an example of a diverse Pennsylvania forest on central campus.

Hort Woods is a 4-acre remnant patch of oak-hickory forest. The oldest trees in this grove existed prior to the start of campus construction in 1859. Like many urban woodlots, invasive plants have taken hold, making it difficult for native plants to reproduce. The invasive plants decrease biodiversity and change the character of the forest.

The first step in the rehabilitation process will be to eliminate all invasive trees and shrubs mature enough to reproduce. Next, invasive seedlings will be removed, as well as lawn areas beneath the tree canopy. The newly created gaps in the canopy, on the forest floor and at the wood’s edge will be planted with native species such as white oak, pignut hickory, serviceberry, spicebush and black cohosh, to name a few.

The School of Forest Resources and the Horticulture Department are providing technical assistance along with oversight from the University Tree Commission. Invasive plants are persistent and aggressive so monitoring and removal work will be ongoing but should lessen with time. These rehabilitation efforts will help sustain Hort Woods for generations to come.

Hort Woods has long been considered an important campus green space. In 2001, it was given special protection through University's Heritage Trees and Groves policy, designed to protect specimen trees or groves on campus that have exceptional historic, cultural and aesthetic value.

For more information, contact Derek Kalp at 814-863-8740 or Paul Ruskin at 814-863-9620.

Contacts: 

Derek Kalp

Work Phone: 
814-863-8740
Last Updated February 13, 2012