CSU, Chico News

Fall 2011 Arboretum Tours

Date: 08-19-2011

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs

Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park and California State University, Chico are jointly offering four Friday tours of their remarkable collection of native and exotic trees and shrubs this fall on Oct. 21, Nov. 4, Nov. 18 and Dec. 2. Participants will meet at the gazebo in front of Bidwell Mansion for the 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. tour. Parking is available.

In observance of the 125th anniversary of the University, the fall tours will feature trees planted in the early years. Dating to that period are a few California incense cedar that remain from a double row that bordered Mansion Avenue from Bidwell Mansion to the railroad tracks.

In front of and behind the mansion are huge southern magnolia, Turkish oak, tulip, monkey puzzle, California fan palm and Italian cypress trees. Bordering Sowilleno, which runs in front of Holt and Butte halls, are several American chestnuts and European lindens. Across Chico Creek from these are remnants of many oaks planted by the Bidwells. Several London planes and incense cedars remain between Trinity and Kendall Halls.

New tree plantings include red horsechestnut, black tupelo (sour gum) and cutleaf zelkova. Several unusual old shrubs in front of the mansion include a white-flowered magnolia from China and a strawberry bush from southern France.

Tour leaders will discuss current horticultural and pruning practices and make suggestions as to selection of plants for Chico yards. They will also demonstrate how to plant young trees, including selection of varieties, choosing a site and soil preparation. Participants are encouraged to bring in leaves from plants they wish to have identified or talk about problems with insects or diseases their plants are experiencing.

A map and guide to the mansion and the University trees and shrubs, “Campus Trees,” is available at the Mansion Historic Park Information Center along with a guide, “Campus Creekside Nature Walk.” The publications are also available at the campus bookstore and the Department of Biological Sciences office in Holt Hall.

Call the Bidwell Mansion State Park at 530-895-6144 or Facilities Management at 530-898-6222. Wes Dempsey, professor emeritus of biology, Durbin Sayers, manager of grounds at CSU, Chico and Gerry Ingco, formerly with the United States Forest Service and the California State Park System, will be leading the tours.