Tree labeling at ANC to continue through November
Steve Van Hoven, chief of horticulture at Arlington National Cemetery, secures a label onto an Ulmus americana, also known as an American Elm tree, near the gravesite of Joe Louis, "Heavyweight Champion of the World" between 1937 and 1949.

ARLINGTON, Va. - An opening process to eventually convert Arlington National Cemetery into a full-fledged arboretum is slated to be completed by the end of November.

Through the end of fall, 297 trees will be labeled with their own 5 by 7 inch aluminum information plate which will help nature lovers become additionally educated about tree life inside ANC.

"We have the goal to receive an accreditation that you can get through the Morton Register of Arboreta," said Steve Van Hoven, ANC urban forester and horticulture division chief. "One of the criteria to achieve accreditation is that you have to have trees labeled. There are five or six main criteria that we must have.

"The labeling of the trees is really a first step toward our objective of creating an arboretum at the cemetery. The labeling is really a key step in that because the label has the authoritative information on the tree."

Information included on each metal plate includes the tree's Latin name, its common name, along with its vital native range and habitat facts.

Van Hoven has been busy labeling trees since October, but the overall process began earlier this year.

"This started this summer; our first step was to identify the trees to be labeled," he said. "We look at every tree in the cemetery as part of a collection. There are about 8,500 total trees in the cemetery. We actually walked with our other horticulturists, and we picked out the trees."

The location of the labeled trees is being made easy for visitors to find. The main concentration of documentation runs along a route from the visitor's center to the Kennedy gravesites to the National Amphitheatre. Thirty-six Medal of Honor memorial trees, which were planted in 1992, plus three state champion trees, have achieved labeling status.

Since the labeling is the initial step toward arboretum accreditation, ANC staff will center attention on public outreach to include horticultural walking tours and a possible smart phone app which would complement the now popular ANC Explorer app.

"We are looking to integrate this into the website. We're investigating that," Van Hoven said of the app, which would detail the location of labeled trees.

Page last updated Tue November 12th, 2013 at 10:27