Sprout Lands: Tending the Endless Gift of Trees


Thursday, June 27, 2019, 6:30pm to 7:45pm


Hunnewell Building
When his company was asked to pollard trees in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, William Bryant Logan was stymied. This prompted him to research and learn this ancient way of pruning that prompts thick nests of sprouts to form on major branches. The irony here is that pollarding (and the similar practice of coppicing) had been the preeminent way in which humans had tended trees–from the last ice age to the Industrial Revolution. What would have seemed the most mundane of tasks to a villager in the Middle Ages had slipped from use, and even memory, in the twenty first century. Hear Logan speak of the many ways in which these lost ancient arts (including pruning, hazel creating living hedges, growing oak for ships) created and supported human cultures all over the world and how we once lived closely as partners with trees, as we can only hope to do again. Logan offers both practical knowledge about how to live with trees to mutual benefit and hope that humans may again learn what the persistence and generosity of trees can teach.

Fee Free member, $5 nonmember

William Bryant Logan is a practicing arborist and author of three acclaimed books on nature, Dirt: The ecstatic Skin of the EarthOak: The Frame of Civilization, and Air: The Restless Shaper of the World. In his book, Sprout Lands, Logan uncovers the millennial story of the call-and-response by which people and trees have lived together in the world. He reflects deeply on how we helped woodlands, but also how in a rapidly changing world, the sprouting of trees can save us.

Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5277.