Urban Forest Plan

Summerhill, ca.1920
15. Summerhill, ca.1920

Summerhill Park in the Past
16. Summerhill Park in the Past

Summerhill Park Today
17. Summerhill Park Today

Storm Damage to Canopy
18. Storm Damage to Canopy

Summerhill Park: Existing Condition
19. Summerhill Park: Existing Condition

Summerhill Park: Improvement Concept
20. Summerhill Park: Improvement Concept


Summerhill "Park" is a pastoral garden of excellent heritage landscape value. It is one of the original landscapes on campus. Its position as the most significant landscape space on campus is currently threatened. Immediate horticultural attention as well as a long range planting and maintenance plan should be initiated to improve and restore this space.

Priority rating: 1

In a tradition common to universities, Summerhill Park was planted with a variety of trees to achieve an arboretum landscape. Some of the species include Gingko, Kentucky Coffetree, Beech and Sycamore. Other plantings, such as the Sugar Maples, are historic. Many of these trees are old and nearing the end of their life span. The loss of the majority of tree canopy in the recent ice storm has heightened attention to this fact. In addition, inappropriate species selection such as Norway Maple (girdling roots and self seeding) and the planting of trees too closely has resulted in a landscape that is overcrowded and in poor condition.

The Hackberry, Norway and Manitoba Maples, and Mulberry should be removed and replaced with more suitable specimens. Where growing conditions are favorable, new successive infill plantings should be started to restore the structure and canopy of the space. These areas include the northwest corner of the area between Theological Hall and Summerhill, along the east edge of the tennis courts, as well as along primary paths and roads. New plantings should reinforce the spatial character of greens, edges and walkways, and provide a variety of sunny (e.g., open greens and sections of walkways), partial shade and shady conditions (e.g., edges of greens, walkways and street edges). A row of formal street tree planting should be initiated along Stuart Street and Arch Street to define the edges of the park while maintaining views to Summerhill.

Generally, Summerhill Park requires a higher level of attention and maintenance in keeping with its value within the campus landscape. All of the trees in Summerhill Park should be inventoried and assessed for form, structural integrity and long term viability. Some trees may require fertilizing, pruning and cabling, while others may require complete removal. A detailed planting plan should be prepared in conjunction with actual site conditions. This plan could then be used as a guide for new installations and horticultural donations. New plantings should be from a palette of arboretum species, with an arrangement of singular specimen trees and groves of indigenous species. Evergreens should be planted in groups of three minimum and situated to frame and accentuate views.

Species recommendation

Summerhill Park
   Acer sp.,Maple species (Sugar, Red)
   Aesculus hippocastanum, Horsechestnut
   Carya sp., Hickory species (Bitternut,Shagbark)
   Fagus sp., Beech species (American, European Copper)
   Gymnocladus dioicus, Kentucty Coffeetree
   Liriodendron tulipifera, Tulip Tree
   Platanus acerfolia, London Planetree
   Quercus alba, White Oak
   Abies concolor, Silver Fir
   Picea abies, Norway Spruce
   Picea pungens, Colorado Spruce, also Hoopsii’ Blue cultivar
   Tsuga canadensis, Hemlock

Stuart Street
   Acer sp., Maple species (Sugar, Red)
   Gingko biloba, Maidenhair Tree