Hazel Delcourt Tree
Waynesville, North Carolina (planted July 2008)

ABOVE AND BELOW: Both "Hazel Delcourt" (Michael Dowd has his hand marking the top of this just-planted seedling) and "Henry David Thoreau" were planted in July 2008 along an isolated northern chunk of the garden, surrounded by pavement. The south-facing sun would have been intense in the early years, until the "jungle" grew up around them. (See photos taken in May 2012 below.)

1 week after planting

Location is the isolated very north end of Corneille Bryan Native Garden, Lake Junaluska NC (2,600 feet elevation)

ABOVE LEFT (May 18, 2012): Both "Hazel Delcourt" and "Henry David Thoreau" specimens are now immersed in a jungle of deciduous herbs and shrubs. Both are about a dozen feet beyond the pavement into an isolated part of the Corneille Bryant Garden. In the photo look directly behind Linda McFarland's face and straight "down" from the bit of brown house visible behind the green. Notice how this paved area is full-sun facing south.

ABOVE RIGHT (May 18, 2012): Lee is facing south, so this evergreen conifer would still get good sunlight for growth in late fall and early spring, even despite the immense amount of herbaceous growth surrounding it. Some of the surrounding deciduous plants include Calycanthus, jewelweed, violets, nettle, and unidentified. Rhodies in the right side of photo.

ABOVE LEFT (May 18, 2012): On a scale in which "Celia" specimen is rated by Lee Barnes as a 10, this specimen is rated a 14.

ABOVE RIGHT (May 18, 2012): Of all 31 seedlings planted on two private sites in July 2008, this "Hazel"specimen and "Henry David Thoreau" are by far the largest and healthiest in 2012.

ABOVE LEFT (May 18, 2012): The wire cage against voles is visible surrounding the 2 main stems, lower left.

ABOVE LEFT (April 23, 2013): Janet Manning, who is lead gardener at this site, stands behind the Hazel specimen. Her hands bracket the vertical growth produced in 2012 (11.5 inches), which then culminated in a robust radial group of lateral branches. Janet confirmed that, other than watering for the first few months after the seedling was planted 31 July 2008 (and using a wire cage to protect its lower stem from voles), this plant has received no human assistance. Superb sun exposure, in a moist area that resists drought, is probably the cause of the exceptional growth of this individual.

ABOVE RIGHT: The table compiled from April 2013 field recordings show that the Hazel Delcourt specimen shows the most vigorous growth of all 31 potted seedlings planted in 2008.

NEW MEASURE OF HEALTH IN 2013: leaf bud count = 195 + 146 on the two main stems and 0 on the absent ancillary basal stem.

Note: Hazel Delcourt, formerly Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, is the author of the book the directly led Connie Barlow to initiate the e-conversations among professionals that then led to the founding of Torreya Guardians as an activist group. Delcourt's book is Forests in Peril: Tracking Deciduous Trees from Ice-Age Refuges into the Greenhouse World (2002). Connie published a review of that book in the Winter 2004 issue of Wild Earth, which you can read online.

"My personal and professional odyssey as a historian of deciduous trees
has brought me to the realization that the future of the eastern deciduous forest is now at risk.
We can provide corridors to allow for species to migrate successfully
in the face of climate change. We may also need to be prepared to transplant
endangered species to new locations where climate will be favorable."

— Hazel Delcourt
Forests in Peril (2002, pp 97, 207)

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