Forest Succession at Selby

When Selby Gardens was developed in the mid-‘70’s, there were many trees on the property, including native pine trees (Pinus elliottii) and Laurel oaks (Quercus laurifolia). Over the years storms, disease, irrigation, and age have taken their toll. Laurel oaks are relatively short-lived oaks (about 70 years), and these oaks at Selby are all coming to the end of their lives at roughly the same time. Already we are noticing significant dieback and borer insect infestations, signs of weakened trees. The “coup de grâce” is an infection of a root fungus (Ganoderma spp.) that damages roots to the point of making the trees unstable. The telltale signs of this infection are shelf-like fungus fruiting bodies attached near the base of the tree. Because these trees now present a liability issue, they will be removed over the next few years on an as-needed basis. The good news is that new canopy trees are planted every year at Selby Gardens to replace the aging trees, just as with natural forest succession!