On Arbor Day, Take Time to Notice the Trees on the Memorial Plaza

On Arbor Day, Take Time to Notice the Trees on the Memorial Plaza

The Survivor Tree in bloom on the 9/11 Memorial plaza. Photo by Jin Lee.

As people celebrate Arbor Day and spring weather has truly arrived in New York City, it’s a good time to recall the importance of trees to the sustainable design of the Memorial plaza. The American Society of Landscape Architects describes the 9/11 Memorial as a “massive green roof – a fully constructed ecology – that operates on top of multiple structures.”

Chosen due to their durability and leaf color, more than 400 swamp white oak trees surround the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. The trees can reach heights of 60 feet in conditions like those on the plaza.

The most notable tree on the 9/11 Memorial plaza is known as the "Survivor Tree." The Callery pear tree endured the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center and was found at Ground Zero in October 2001 severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches.

The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation where, after years of recovery and rehabilitation, it was returned to the Memorial in 2010 to stand as a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth.

Click here to watch a time-lapse video of the blooming of the Survivor Tree.

In Sept. 2013, the Survivor Tree seedling program was launched in partnership with Bartlett Tree Expert Company and John Bowne High School to give seedlings from the Survivor Tree to three communities that have endured tragedy and committed to nurturing these trees to serve as landmarks symbolizing resiliency and hope.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff