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Explore The Arboretum This Fall - Inose/Field Trip

Photo of breezeblocks on a forest path.

Inose [Ee-no-say] is an Anishinaabemowin word that means to walk in a certain way, to a certain place. This 25-minute sound walk is an intimate aural experience emerging from the fertile collaboration between artist Yolanda Bonnell and scientist Dr. Jesse Popp, two Anishnaabe leaders deeply engaged with Indigenous knowledge systems in their different fields. Inose/Field Trip encourages participants to connect with their surroundings, awakening curiosity and the potential for new relationships with the natural world. This project was inspired through a walk in The Arboretum's old growth forest, and can be enjoyed from anywhere. Visit the webpage to download and access this beautiful sound walk.

Commissioned by Imagining Climates, a project of the Guelph Institute for Environmental Research, in collaboration with The Arboretum, with support from the College of Arts. Inose/Field Trip was created by Yolanda Bonnell in conversation with Dr. Jesse Popp, with soundscapes by Dawn Matheson and dramaturgy by Natasha Greenblatt.

Photo: sophia bartholomew, snow flower sunset lake, 2017.

Arb Expo 2021 Was a Hit!

From September 9th - 12th, The Arboretum hosted a hybrid event, featuring virtual and in person panels, workshops, and even live music! All 50 plants from our virtual auction have officially made their way to their new homes, and we’re already growing some unique species for next year. While you look forward to our next plant sale, you can take a look at this year’s inventory here! We want to thank all of our amazing panelists, guest speakers, and staff who worked so hard to make this event possible, as well as everyone who came out to in-person events, tuned in to our virtual panels, and participated in our auction. If you were unable to attend, or missed out on something you wanted to see, recordings of our virtual and hybrid events are available on our Arb Expo webpage, or check them out below!

Virtual Talk - Suzanne Simard

Screenshot of a recording of author Suzanne Simard giving a talkDr. Suzanne Simard joined the University of Guelph Arboretum community for a virtual talk on her new bestselling book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest. A pioneer on the frontier of plant communication, she has been hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas for a broad audience. This talk was presented in partnership with The Bookshelf in Guelph and Penguin Random House. 

Participants had the special opportunity to gain deeper insights into Simard's book and life's work by asking her questions. To watch the recording, click on the image on the left, or visit Youtube.

Film Screening - Borealis

Photo of the film screen of Borealis. The film is projected on a screen, in front of treesIn this new feature documentary Borealis, acclaimed director Kevin McMahon (Waterlife) travels deep into the heart of the boreal forest to explore the chorus of life in Canada’s iconic wilderness. How do trees move, communicate and survive the destructive forces of fire, insects, and human encroachment? Borealis offers an immersive portrait of the lifecycles of the forest from the perspective of the plants and animals that live there. Presented in partnership with Guelph Film Festival

The weather cooperated beautifully for this event! Audience members brought their lawn chairs and blankets over to The Arboretum's west lawn to watch this fascinating documentary. This screening was a fund-raising event for both The Arboretum and the Film Festival. Proceeds from the event were shared between the two organizations. If you missed the film screening, you can watch Borealis here.

Art Installation

Image of Ron Benner's Remains in Association with Cultural Deposits. The art piece is installed on a board in front of a row of trees, with a garden beneath it.The University of Guelph's School of Environmental Sciences Artist in Residence, Ron Benner, has created an on-campus art installation by the Harrison House. The art installation titled Remains in Association with Cultural Deposits aims to remind Western society of the history and connection that plants have to their native lands and caretakers. Benner's installation uses a garden and photo mural to represent the history of indigenous farming and plant use. To learn more about this art installation click here.

Benner's art installation will be displayed through Fall, 2021 at the Harrison House, 372 College Ave E, Guelph, ON N1G 3B9.

Hybrid Panel - How to Draw a Tree  (Trees, Mental Health, Creativity)
Dawn Matthews, Elder Peter Shule, Sean Fox,Chris Earley, and Mwangi Wa Wairimu sit at a table in the Arboretum Centre. They are all facing the camera and wearing masks.
Featuring artist Dawn Matheson, Elder Peter Shuler, Eco-Psychologist Memona Hossain, Horticulturalist Sean Fox, Interpretive Biologist Chris Earley, Tree Planter Mwangi Wa Wairimu, Nature Educator and Podcast Producer Byron Murray and Ignatius Spiritual Director Greg Kennedy SJ. Matheson's participatory art project brings individuals living with mental illnesses together with trees for a yearlong creative, care-taking, reciprocal engagement culminating in an immersive public sound walk at The Arboretum in Spring 2022. The work aims to reflect the parallel crisis of mental illness and the environmental crisis by expanding ideas around art and new media, art practice as care, and the interdependency between humans and our natural environment. Hear more about Matheson's process and this project on this radio program, or check out the public Facebook group for the project here. To watch a recording of this panel, click on the image on the right, or visit Dawn's website.

Live Music in the Japanese Garden

screenshot of a video of the japanese garden In the David G. Porter Japanese Garden, Charles Davidson played the Shakuhachi, a Japanese Bamboo flute, which, like the Japanese garden itself, arises out of Zen and other Japanese traditions and aesthetics.  Both the garden and music invite contemplation. Please click here to hear a sample!

There were so many other great workshops, guided tours, and activities that happened over the weekend! To look at a full program of Arb Expo 2021 events, click here.

Upcoming Workshops

colour photo of stones in cocentric circles on the beachEco-Art Therapy with Memona Hossain
During this 8-week course, participants will explore introductory concepts of Eco-Art Therapy and participate in hands-on learning experiences that are embedded in our nature-connective relationships. No previous learning or experiences required! Sessions are recorded, so sign up now to catch up on any that you may have missed! Sept 14 - Nov 2

colour photo of a red berry on a shrubNature Throughout the Seasons - Fall Changes
This free online series is catered to University of Guelph international students and other community members new to Canada. Fall is a transitional season for a lot of things in Canada - everything is starting to prepare for the winter! And with all of these changes, there is a lot to see. In this program, we will be exploring some notable signs of fall! Oct 13

colour photo of a watercolur painting of treesVirtual Constellation "Walk" with Trevor Chandler
Join us for monthly sessions as we get to know the night sky a little better. Participants will be introduced to prominent stars and constellations, where to look for them and how the motions of planet Earth cause them to appear to shift from hour to hour and month to month. You will receive a downloadable star map to help you make your way through the stars! Sept 30

All of our virtual programs are offered live on Zoom, and recordings are made available for registrants to access for a limited time. Visit our website to learn more about these and our other programs. Register early to save your spot!

From the Collection: Katsura Trees

Sadie Campbell, Horticultural Intern
photo of a trail through a grove of katsura trees
If you’ve walked along the Ivey Trail through the World of Trees in September or October, you may have noticed a sweet fragrance in the air as you pass through the katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) grove. Katsura trees are large, deciduous trees, usually reaching heights of 12 to 20 metres in cultivation, but have been known to grow up to 30 metres tall in the wild. Though they are native to Japan and China, katsura trees are related to an extinct member of the Cercidiphyllum genus that once grew in North America and Europe before the last ice age in the Pleistocene Epoch, over 10,000 years ago.

Katsura trees are recognizable byColour photo of yellow and green katsura leaves their fine, shaggy brown bark and cordate (heart-shaped) leaves. When the leaves first emerge in spring, they are a deep red-purple colour, before changing to a bright blueish-green in the summer. Though they are also notable for their spectacular golden yellow or red fall colour, the scent of katsura leaves is what makes these trees a standout in the autumn landscape. Likened to cotton candy, brown sugar, or caramel, the smell released by katsura trees is caused by the chemical compound maltol, which also contributes to the scent of fresh bread, coffee, and cocoa. Maltol is also present in the leaves in the spring and summer, but it is only in the fall when the leaves change colour and drop that the chemical is released into the air, giving the trees their unique autumn scent. As you explore the changing colours in The Arboretum this fall, check out the katsura grove along the Ivey Trail in the World of Trees to add a different sensory experience to your autumn walk!

TOP: The katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) grove in early September. BOTTOM: Katsura leaves beginning to turn yellow. Photos by Sadie Campbell.

Wall-Custance Memorial Forest Tree

Every yImage of the memorial forest bur oak and plaqueear, The Arboretum plants hundreds of native trees and shrubs as a part of our Wall-Custance Memorial Forest Program. This unique partnership between The Arboretum and Wall-Custance Funeral Home & Chapel invites families and friends to commemorate the life of a loved one by contributing to The Arboretum's forests. Each donation to the program allows for the planting of one tree or shrub, which are spread across The Arboretum as a part of our reforestation efforts. Thanks to the contributions of families, friends, and individuals, over 18,000 trees and shrubs have been planted to commemorate loved ones since the program began in 1989. 

Our newest tree has been planted and a temporary plaque has been installed along the Ivey Trail to commemorate the loved ones whose families donated in the 2020-21 year. This year’s tree is a bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) grown from seed collected in Ontario. Bur oaks hold special significance in Guelph, as they are the only native species of oak that is indigenous to the area. Though currently small, this tree has the potential to grow up to 30 metres tall with a wide-spreading canopy. These majestic giants would have once been found in forests in the Guelph area before the land was cleared. They produce sweet, edible acorns that are an important food source for local wildlife. Bur oaks are also incredibly hardy, resistant Image of a green bur oak leafto both drought and flooding, and can also survive forest fires due to their rough, thick bark. They are incredibly long-lived, sometimes surviving for more than 300 years. As you walk along the Ivey Trail, you can imagine how the branches of this tree will one day cover and shelter the pathway and provide shade and habitat for hundreds of years. 

In past years, we have hosted a memorial ceremony on the grounds, but due to COVID-19, the dedication service will be replaced by a pre-recorded ceremony and invitation to the trails that will be shared online in mid October. If you are interested in learning more about the program or are considering making a donation in honour of a loved one, please visit the Wall-Custance website.

TOP: Photo of the new bur oak and temporary sign in the Memorial Forest Grove. BOTTOM: Photo of a leaf from the Memorial Forest bur oak. Photos by Sadie Campbell.

What To See

To learn more about what is happening or what to look out for at The Arboretum please follow us on social media. We are on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Search for us at @uogarboretum.
[Click on the photos below to see the posts and more on Instagram.]

a colour photo of a jagged ambush bug and a bee on some goldenrod It’s the season for goldenrod and we can’t be more excited for these golden fields full of biodiversity! And it’s not all just bees buzzing around these blooms…One of the common insects you’ll see on goldenrod is the Jagged Ambush Bug. These amazingly camouflaged insects are sit-and-wait predators, waiting patiently in the flowers to snag a pollinator that gets just a *little* too close!

colour photo of a jack in the pulpit flower under the leaves Abundant throughout Ontario and other provinces, this herbaceous perennial plant called Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is an unusual looking plant due to the arrangement of the flower. This type of inflorescence is called a spadix, where small pollen-bearing flowers are borne on an upright stem. A spathe, which is a large and often colourful leaf-like bract, overhangs and surrounds the spadix in the centre. In August, the plant goes to seed, and clusters of red berries are produced that linger into fall, which the birds enjoy eating. This plant can be found in forest, woodland, and swamp and marshy areas. 

colour photo of a green darner dragon fly resting on tree bark As the weather cools and summer draws to an end, we start to see more Green Darners take to the skies. That's because these dragonflies, just like Monarch butterflies, undergo a multi-generational migration each year; the ones that journey south this fall will be the grandparents of the ones that return to The Arboretum next spring. Being one of the largest dragonflies in North America, we look forward to seeing these incredible insects every year. Be sure to watch for these bright, bold masters of the skies on your next visit!


From the Forest: Tar Spot Disease

Casey Howard, Summer Student

Colour photo of the green leaves of a norway maple with black spots on them.

Tar spot disease is caused by several different pathogenic fungi in genus Rhytisma. Rhytisma fungi belong to the phylum Ascomycota. Rhytisma fungi are host-specific and can affect species in the Acer (maple) genus and the genus Salix (willow). In the Arboretum, the maples are most commonly affected, and we’ll focus on this genus today.
The tar spot found on maple species can be caused by either of three fungi species, Rhytisma punctatum, Rhytisma acerinum, and Rhytisma americanum. Maple species such as Norway maple (Acer platanoides), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple (Acer rubrum) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum) are commonly infected in Ontario.
Symptoms of infection first show in mid-June as chlorotic (yellow and pale green) spots on the upper surface of the leaves with tiny black fungal reproductive structures developing in the center of the spots as disease progresses. These tiny black sexual fruiting bodies, called apothecia, grow larger in diameter over the summer and by August coalesce to form raised, large black spots on the leaves that resemble spots of tar. On some maple species, tar spot can be seen as many small black spots, and sometimes the surface of the spot can have a pattern of wavy indentations.
Ascomycota fungi like Rhytisma produce sexual spores, ascospores, in sac-like spore-producing structures called asci that are housed in sexual fruiting bodies called apothecia. In the spring, the disease spreads when ascospores are ejected from apothecia on the overwintered infected fallen leaf debris from the previous year. The spores are then carried by the wind and land on the foliage of susceptible tree species, where if there is moisture on the leaves, spore germination and subsequent infection can occur. This disease is generally a cosmetic issue and does not cause long term damage to the affected tree. It can cause premature leaf drop in the late summer if the infection is severe enough, though this is often not harmful for the tree.
To help manage this disease and reduce yearly reoccurrence, the best method is the proper removal of fallen infected leaf debris in the autumn. The infected foliage still has the Rhytisma fungus on it, and if left on the ground over the winter season, will sporulate the following year and the disease cycle will continue. However, this method only works well when the fallen leaves of all nearby infected trees are raked up, meaning that if neighbours close by have infected trees they need to participate as well to help reduce the number of overwintering spores. Despite this, it’s still good practice to rake up the infected leaves on your property. Lastly, fungicide application is not recommended as a treatment for this disease.

Photo of tar spot on Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) by Casey Howard.

Weddings at The Arboretum

Photo of wedding guests sitting in front of a white tent in october. The guests are masked and sitting 6 feet apart in wooden chairs.

The Arboretum can now host outdoor ceremonies and indoor events following the guidelines of the University and the province's public health rules. We have newly renovated barrier free access to The Arboretum Centre and Step 3 safety measures including limited capacities.

For more information, rental rates, and availability, contact Dawn Ann Webster at 519-824-4120 ext. 54110 or

Photo of a wedding in the Conifer Collection by Brandon Taylor, 2020.

In the Ecosystem

Take2 logo

Wellington Water Watchers recently launched a project called the Take2 Watershed Clean Up! It asks people to pick up two pieces of trash when they go for a walk or enjoy a trail and then photograph and log the items they saved from entering our local rivers on an impact map. Groups can register on the Take2 webform, so classrooms, families, and businesses can track their cleanups together. Visit the Take2 webpage to begin tracking today and check out this article or this video to learn more about the project!


Image of one of artist Tracey-Mae Chambers' hope and healing installations featuring red thread woven in the branches of a treeMétis artist Tracey-Mae Chambers brings her site-specific art installation #hopeandhealingcanada to the Guelph Civic Museum. The completed installation was unveiled on Friday, September 24 to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The exterior installation display continues until Sunday, October 24, 2021, while the interior installation in the Museum’s glass entrance will remain on display until Sunday, February 27, 2022. Both are free for the public to view. Guelph Museums page to learn more about this exhibit!

Virtual Wednesday Walks With Our Summer Naturalist

screen shot of a woman next to an image of a funnel spider web

It’s pretty hard not to love spiders! They have adorable faces, lots of legs, and they’re beneficial predators. Join our Naturalist Intern Michelle, as she gets to know some of the spiders in The Arboretum!
screenshot of a woman next to goldenrod
Already missing summer flowers? There's still plenty of beautiful and exciting wildflowers to see in The Arboretum! Join Michelle as she takes a closer look at wildflowers blooming in late summer and early fall!

Donation and Dedication Opportunities

colour photo of a forest at dawn in the fog with the words Support the Arb Give Today
We are excited to share that we have a new dedicated portal for Arboretum Supporters to make direct donations!

This year we are focusing our efforts on sustainability, interpretive and wayfinding signage, and the next stages of our tree conservation work. With your help we can make our efforts go further, join our community of supporters today.


Donor Stories 

Three Arboretum Auxiliary volunteers pot plants to be sold at the plant sale. We are incredibly privileged to have many volunteers who donate their time to keep The Arboretum beautiful and support our programs and activities.

Volunteers are involved with The Arboretum in many ways, including maintaining the grounds, supporting administration and visitor services, harvesting and preparing seeds, growing and caring for plants in our greenhouse and nursery, leading educational programming, and organizing and coordinating fundraising.

The Arboretum’s volunteer program, The Arboretum Auxiliary, first began in 1995. Eighty people attended the first meeting to learn more about how they could assist The Arboretum. The Arboretum’s grounds, programs and services have flourished thanks to the assistance of our past and present volunteers. We were thrilled to be able to start welcoming back our fully vaccinated volunteers this summer after a year without their support. Their hard work and enthusiasm has already made a difference to our staff and grounds! If you are interested in volunteering or want to learn more about The Arboretum Auxiliary, visit our volunteering page or email us at for an application form.

Photo: Three Arboretum Auxiliary members pot plants that will be sold at The Arboretum's Plant Sale. Photo taken before 2020.


colour photo of biodiversity sheets in a pileOur biodiversity identification sheets are a excellent way to learn more about the world around you! Great for people of all ages, these sheets allow you to scan through over 50 colourful images instead of flipping through a guidebook. Fall is the perfect time to explore some fungi or look for life on goldenrod in The Arboretum!

Visit our Merchandise shop to check out all of our biodiversity sheets along with some other great items. Order online and have your items shipped directly to you!

Ways you can connect with The Arboretum

Make sure to keep in touch with us on social media -  follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
Make a Donation Download & Print an Arboretum Map Think About Volunteering
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camera icon for photo creditThe header of this month's newsletter is a bee collecting pollen from New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). Photo by Sadie Campbell.