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Terhune ParkTOUR OF TERHUNE: 18 different species of trees in one park

by Howard Prosnitz, Staff Writer

Teaneck Suburbanite, August 6, 2008, p. 2

Teaneck residents are fortunate to have a variety of large and old public trees. The only arboretum or tree museum in the township is in Phelps Park. But arboretums could be designated in almost any of Teaneck's larger parks.

On Saturday morning, Mike Trepicchio, a member of the Hackensack River Greenway Advisory Board, led half a dozen residents on a tour of the trees of Terhune Park.

Trepicchio said he had counted 18 different species and 28 different types within those species in the 10.3 acre park.

Trees are identified by their leaf, fruit and bark, said Trepicchio, noting that at this time of year identification by leaf is easiest. But trees can be identified throughout the year.

Terhune Park 2"It is amazing to see the differences in the barks when you look closely at them," Trepicchio explained.

The Greenway begins at the south end of Terhune Park, and the tour took residents both to the Greenway trail and the northern end of the park, where trees still stand that once shaded the homestead of the Terhune family.

Last week, Teaneck suburbanite feature Terhune on its ongoing series on the parks of Teaneck.

Near the beginning of the trail is a massive Cottonwood tree. Many people are more familiar with the white, cottony seeds than with the tree itself. In the early spring, the seeds are carried by the wind and disperse over a wide area.

"They sometimes almost blanket River Road and the surrounding hillsade with so much cotton that it looks like snow," said Trepicchio. The Terhune Park cottonwood is well over 200 years old. But the cottonwood is fast growing tree. An oak or maple of similar size would be at least 300 years old, Trepicchio said.

A little farther down the trail is an ailanthus. Known also as the Tree of Heaven, it is familiar to readers of Betty Smith's classic, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Native to China, the ailanthus is one of numerous trees introduced to this country during colonial times. It is known for its ability to grow under adverse conditions, including in waste areas and between cracks of city sidewalks.

Other species found in Terhune Park include mulberry, catalpa, silk, black cherry, sassafras, elm and a variety of oaks and maples.

Such a mixture would be rare in a forest.

"But in a suburban are, where trees have been planted, you can find almost anything," Trepicchio said.

 

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