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An Orchard Takes Root at Penn Park

December 2, 2014
students planting trees at Penn Park

Braving a damp, drizzly day, volunteers joined Penn’s Urban Park staff to plant trees as part of a new fruit orchard in Penn Park.  Designed for research, this orchard will be used to study the development of fruit-bearing plants in urban environments. Bob Lundgren, University Landscape Architect, described how the study of this orchard will be used to make adjustments to the care of the trees and potentially expand this location: “We aim to promote biodiversity and ecological environments through more productive plantings of natural habitats, and increase our biological pest control by attracting beneficial insects in order to mitigate pest and disease problems naturally.”  “Fruit trees encourage beneficial insects, especially native bees, which are some of the most important pollinators in our regional landscape,” he added.

Penn and the Philadelphia Orchard Project have selected a variety of fruit trees and berry bushes that will provide plant diversity and a harvest season from June through October. Plantings include: Paw Paw, Fig, Apple, Sweet Cherry, Pie Cherry, Peach, Plum, Pear, Asian Pear,  Flowering Quince, Goumi, Currant/Gooseberry, Elderberry, and Highbush Blueberry. As the plants mature, members of the Penn community will have the opportunity to join harvest events scheduled by the Philadelphia Orchard Project.  Sign up for their volunteer newsletter at phillyorchards.org.

View the photo gallery from the planting event.

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