Historical Society looking for tree lovers: Apply to own a historic apple tree, sponsor new elms at the museum

by beth on September 17, 2020

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If you’re a tree hugger, you may want to note a recent announcement from the Southborough Historical Society.

The biggest news was the opening of the process to purchase a historic Lyscom apple tree sapling. They are also looking for sponsors to help them plant shade trees outside of the Southborough Historical Museum.

Lyscom tree on the Town property at Common Street (photo by Beth Melo)Lyscom trees

Many of you may be wondering what’s so special about a Lyscom apple tree. As SHS announced four years ago, the saplings are living pieces of Southborough history. Back then, SHS President Michael Weishan described a tree in the museum and Town House parking lot as the “Oldest Living Thing in Southborough”.

The apple tree planted in the 70s was grafted from an apple tree planted in Southborough 300 years ago by Samuel Lyscom. Lyscom was one of the Town’s founders. (You can read more background on the original tree and the man here.)

apple image from SHS websiteSHS has been working with the Department of Public Works to propagate more of the trees in town. Their hope is to have bushels of Lyscom apples ready in time to use in the celebration of Southborough’s tricentennial in 1727. (Curious about the Lyscom variety’s flavor and texture? I found an apple blog “Adam’s Apple” that wrote about it here.)

There are only ten Lyscom saplings being made available for private ownership. The “adoption fee” is $250 to support SHS. But, given past issues, there is more to being accepted as an owner than writing a check.

In his missive earlier this month, Weishan explained:

Thanks to the DPW’s Karen Galligan, 15 whips were grafted three years ago from the sole remaining Lyscom apple tree at the museum, (Southborough’s own native apple, and the oldest living tree in town) . The young saplings are now 3-4′ tall and branched. We received 15 bareroot trees this spring , and they have been carefully potted up, watered and staked, and ten of them are now ready for their “forever home.” (Three will be planted at the museum, and 2 somewhere else on Town property.)

Now truth be told, this experiment was repeated 40 years ago, and of the 30 trees distributed across town, none are left, principally because they were planted in poor locations, or in areas subject to development. To avoid a similar fate, we are seeking potential candidates who have a spot in a developed neighborhood well away from the house (to avoid death by renovation); in full sun (8 or more hours of sun a day), and well away from other competing trees. Candidates must agree to protect the young trees from mice and winter damage with a bark protector, and keep the young sapling watered for the first two seasons. If all goes well, the first apples will appear in a year or two’s time. If you meet these criteria, we would love to share with you this fascinating bit of Southborough history.

Weishan also shared that SHS is seeking sponsors for more elm trees in the “quadrangle” in front of the museum. 

It appears that the Town House isn’t the only municipal properties that had flagpole issues this summer. The SHS president wrote: 

SHS new logoOn another arboreal note, in a strange twist of fate, the flagpole outside the museum cracked off at the base sometime this summer. I’m unsure exactly what happened, but it seems providential, as we were already planning to return the flag pole to the exterior of the building as reflected in our new logo, designed by our own Patti Fiore last fall. . .

It seemed a good time then to re-evaluate the tired strip of grass where the missing flagpole once stood, and while several of us were contemplating just this a few weeks back on a 90º day, it occurred to us that what we really needed in front of the museum was some shade, as the entire area around the Town House has lost most of its venerable trees to storm and age. Thus we would like to plant two more disease-resistant American elms (here and at another spot along St Mark’s road) to match the one planted earlier this year. We’re looking for two $275 donations to make this happen

Elm Tree at Southborough Historical Museum (photo by Beth Melo)As of today, it looks like the elm planted for Arbor Day is thriving. (See image right.)

You can read the full SHS post here.

If you are interested in either opportunity, email info@southboroughhistory.org.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Dave Gould September 17, 2020 at 11:23 PM

A bit high priced-how about selling shares of the trees-I would do 25.00 for an elm and 25.00 for an apple.

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