Taking it to the trees

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Every spring after classes end at Norfolk County Agricultural High School (NCAHS), 10 juniors join the crew of the Arnold Arboretum as interns to learn how public gardens and arboreta care for their important plant collections. The students spend a month at the Arboretum working in the landscape and attending specialized classes. Marc Mertz, arboriculture instructor at NCAHS, and Arboretum living collections staff guide students through a hands-on exploration of the vocation of public horticulture.

This year students got their hands dirty working much of their time with horticultural technologist Jen Kettell in the Bussey Brook conifer collection. Kettell demonstrated some of the rough and tough requirements of landscape maintenance while developing students’ knowledge of current horticultural practice. Working together, the team improved the health and appearance of many plants in the collection by mulching and edging beds, removing invasive species, and taking soil samples for cultural analysis.