HAWTHORNE, NJ - In "normal times", the Hawthorne Shade Tree Commission and the Hawthorne High School Ecology Club had expected to celebrate Arbor Day this past April 24 by planting a Cedar of Lebanon just beside the gymnasium parking lot, the site of a tree that had fallen down some years past.  But with the coronavirus pandemic, those plans had to be delayed until June.

"Because of COVID-19 the planting was delayed but the Hawthorne Shade Tree Commission was happy to deliver on the promise of planting the tree," said Dria Lobosco, Chair of the Hawthorne Shade Tree Commission. 

Lobosco said that the tree is "slow growing" at approximately one foot per year, but could grow to between 40 and 70 feet with a wide canopy.  "The Cedar of Lebanon is the most cold-hardy species of cedar. It is very similar to the Atlas Cedar, but with a much thicker trunk.  The foliage is bright green and the canopy is open and irregular."

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She said that the branches sprout long as well as short shoots and clusters four-sided green needles, up to an inch and a half long.

"Cedrus libani is a monoecious species," Lobosco said, meaning the tree is hermaphroditic like a pine.  "You can distinguish the cones by their color; the males are yellow and the females are purple.  The egg-shaped cones are three to five inches long and change to reddish-brown as they reach maturity. This process will take two years to complete."

As the tree grows near the school, it may well stand as a symbol of steadily rising during uncertain times.  "We hope the tree will stand strong for many years at Hawthorne High School," Lobosco said.

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