It is revered as the stalwart pear tree that survived the 9/11 attacks. But a pair of March storms that brought strong winds, and pounded New York with heavy rains, damaged the so-called Survivor Tree. It was uprooted in those storms, leading to major concerns for its caretakers.
9/11 Memorial project manager Ron Vega and a crew of tree specialists recently traveled to the nursery in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, where the tree has received care since being recovered from Ground Zero after the 2001 attacks. Vega said the tree was righted, examined, pruned and stabilized. He said the roots are healthy and the Survivor Tree has "a solid chance of survival."
Initially, Vega and the crew had travel to the Bronx to safely move the tree to a New Jersey nursery, where the 9/11 Memorial trees are growing. Vega said that plan had to be scrapped because the health of the tree would have been placed in further jeopardy during the long haul. For now, the tree will remain at the Bronx nursery.
In previous stories reported in The New York Times and online at DNAinfo.com, Parks Department Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the tree may survive the uprooting. The tree was originally planted in the World Trade Center plaza and survived the Sept. 11 terror strikes. It was taken to the Arthur Ross Nursery in Van Cortlandt Park, where it was nursed back to health.
The tree will eventual join hundreds of swamp white oak and sweetgum trees that will be transplanted at the the 9/11 Memorial, which opens next year. The plan is to place the Survivor Tree in the 9/11 Memorial Glade, which is a clearing in the grove of trees that surround the Memorial.
By Michael Frazier, Sr. Communications Manager for the 9/11 Memorial