Maplewood, NJ’s parks and streets are noted for an abundance of unusual and interesting trees, together with a number of distinguished ‘grandfather’ trees. This web page provides pdf copies of brochures that document many of them and will be supplemented as lists are updated and new surveys completed.
The oldest tree in Maplewood is probably the Black Walnut in front of Timothy Ball’s house at 425 Ridgewood Road, at over 250 years. Another is the Northern Red Oak in the Village, opposite the railroad station. Unfortunately many of the native trees were cleared when this area was settled and farmed in colonial times and later as our suburb was developed, or have reached the end of their natural life.
The noted landscape firms Olmsted Brothers and Brinley and Holbrook created an initial design and plantings for Maplewood’s Memorial Park, implemented between 1922 and 1932. Over the next forty years, many varied and uncommon trees and shrubs were added by our (well-known) Supervisor of Parks and Shade Trees, Richard Walter*. Richard was a member of a select few horticultural professionals, the Hortus Group, who met in NYC and shared information on newly discovered or developed plants. Thus Maplewood has many Dawn Redwoods, rediscovered in China in 1944, Giant Sequoias, one of the earliest US-planted ‘Bradford’ Callery Pears that are now ubiquitous, and such species as Turkish Hazelnuts, Mongolian Honeysuckle and an unusual Rose Locust. These great additions were supported by the skill and knowledge of Richard’s successors as Superintendent of Parks and Shade Trees, Newt Meeker (an MGC Scholarship recipient and honorary member) and Todd Lamm. Further, Maplewood Garden Club has added to this collection over the years through our Community/Civic Projects budget.
*Brief Bio of Richard Walter: Emigrated from Germany just before 1930 and started as a Memorial Park laborer/gardener. By about 1935, appointed Superintendent of Parks and Maintenance, title changed to Superintendent of Parks and Shade Trees by 1942, honoring his leadership in the shade tree movement in the U.S., greatly benefitting Maplewood. Mr. Walters began a nursery behind the greenhouse to grow-on young trees for the shade tree program.
Trees of Memorial Park — Survey of Ornamental Trees, Shrubs and Evergreens in Maplewood Memorial Park, dates from about 1980 and was almost certainly written by Richard Walter (who had retired in 1970), assisted by many MGC members counting and recording the plants. Some of them no longer survive and it is planned to re-survey the park, adding GPS coordinates and photographs, to be made available through this web page. The file is quite large, so was broken down to the following components:
Notable Trees of Maplewood: Self-guided Tour – a one-page (double-sided) survey of 22 major trees in Maplewood Township, produced by Durand-Hedden House & Garden Association working with Todd Lamm in July 2002. (Being updated and expanded.)