2017 SEED HARVEST
POSTED September 28, 2017
|Skyjack joins The University of Guelph to celebrate Canada’s National Tree Day, preserving rare trees in communities across the country|
September 26, 2017; Guelph, Ontario—Linamar Corporation’s Skyjack division will be returning to the Arboretum at the University of Guelph to help collect tree seeds on National Tree Day in Canada. From 9 A.M to 10 A.M. on Wednesday, September 27, the Arboretum staff will be using a Skyjack boom to access seeds on rare trees, focusing on cherry birch, Kentucky coffeetree and big shellbark hickory.
“This year in particular we’re seeing a bumper crop of seeds on many tree species,” said Sean Fox, manager of horticulture at the Arboretum, University of Guelph. “Thanks to Skyjack’s versatile equipment, we will be able to collect many more seeds in less time, including seeds on some species that we were unable to access to in the past.”
To grow its ‘living gene bank,’ the Arboretum has used Skyjack’s booms over the past four years for this annual seed collecting event, where the staff save seeds of rare or endangered trees. This year, the team will concentrate their work in the northwestern part of the Arboretum.
The gene bank was established in response to habitat loss in the Carolinian Forest Region in Ontario; since 1984, when the cucumber tree was listed as the first endangered tree in Canada by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), many tree species in Ontario have faced reduced wild populations.
“Skyjack is delighted to be part of the ‘gene bank’ project again this year because this important work helps sustain the local landscape and benefit generations of people,” said Chantal Theoret, manager of global marketing communications, Skyjack. “We love seeing people use Skyjack to reach higher. When it helps build our community a more sustainable place, it’s even better.”
Reaching the top
In the past, the Arboretum used a combination of ladders and hooks to access seeds. Because many seeds are concentrated on small and high branches at the edges of trees’ canopies, sometimes the branches are either hard to reach or not strong enough to support equipment.
“Our tallest ladder is 17 ft high and it was difficult to place it within the canopies of trees,” said Fox. “Additionally, we have to move the ladder constantly around each tree to access different parts of the canopy, which is very time consuming.”
Skyjack’s SJ85 AJ articulating boom has a working height of 91 ft (27.73 m), and superior up-and-over clearance of 34 ft (10.36 m), which will enable Fox’s team to go higher and further, safely. The unit also features: SkyRiser™, a true vertical rise without drifting; SpeedyReach™, the lowering of the fly boom to ground level without lowering the riser; and EasyDrive™, direction-sensing drive and steer controls regardless of turret position over chassis. With these features, the SJ85 AJ guarantees maximum flexibility around each tree and between the trees.
“Based on our past experiences with Skyjack booms, we’re confident that its ability to rise, rotate and tilt at height will make access into the canopies a real treat,” Fox said.
To help maintain the wild populations of trees, the seeds collected from the event and in the gene bank will be used for multiple purposes. Part of them will be preserved at the National Tree Seed Center, a division of the Canadian Forest Service in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Arboretum’s Tree Nursery will also receive seeds to grow seedlings to send to other botanical gardens and research agencies for future archiving. Some other tree nurseries will also use the seeds to produce offspring for restoration programs in the trees’ native range.
Known as Guelph’s ‘living laboratory,’ the Arboretum at the University of Guelph is home to more than 30 formal botanical collections and has been used for education and research on plant species for 46 years.
This 400-acre Arboretum has welcomed students from different academic backgrounds and is also a popular recreation place for the local community. To learn more about the Arboretum or donate, visit: www.uoguelph.ca/arboretum