Summer Shade: Heritage Trees

A cool place at Awbury Arboretum for hot summer days

It is finally summer. One of the best ways to take a break from the hot sunshine is to find respite under a nearby tree.  You may even discover that the tree providing the shade is a Heritage tree – trees of certain species which are of high value to the environment and have a trunk at least two feet in diameter.

Townships list their approved tree species for Heritage trees, and Philadelphia includes about thirty tree species, many of which are native to the region. These include Maples, Birches, Tulip Poplars, and many more. Homeowners, park-goers, and anyone interested can see the species list at

Heritage trees provide a great deal for our environment, including carbon sequestering, food and shelter for wildlife – and of course oxygen. These trees are so valuable to our quality of life that there are restrictions to removing them.

Awbury Arboretum has many Heritage trees throughout the property, and visitors can access both an interactive and a printable Heritage tree tour at

In addition to Heritage trees, Awbury is also home to two State Champion trees. Champion trees can be any species of tree and are judged by a local arborist who measure features of the tree’s health and size on a point scale. The two Awbury Heritage trees that have been labeled as State Champions are the River Birch and American Linden.  They can be seen along with the other local Champion trees at Some of these trees are estimated to be 100 – 200 years old! Take a break from the hot summer sun and spend some time in the cool shade of these trees.

Awbury Arboretum
One Awbury Rd.
Hours: Although the Cope House and the Arboretum offices are closed until further notice, the meadows, gardens, and grounds of Awbury are open every day from sunrise to sunset, and, as always, free.

Awbury Arboretum (the former Cope family estate) transports visitors from city streets into a country retreat that is the largest remaining oasis of open space in Germantown. Trails weave through 55 acres landscaped in the English romantic style, with open meadows, ponds, woods and rolling hills. The Copes lent their Quaker sense of aesthetics to this world-class arboretum; in 1870, they hired William Saunders, designer of the Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C., to bring their vision to fruition. Today, Awbury’s mission is to preserve and interpret their historic house and landscape, in order to connect the community with nature and history. Awbury is free and open to the public every day (dawn til dusk). More info at

 Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @awburyarboretum


About Karen Flick 10 Articles
Karen is Awbury's Landscape Manager. She is a former intern at the arboretum and a Temple University graduate with degrees in psychology and horticulture.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.