Picture Ohio! Secrest Arboretum – Crabapple Display

Crabapple Collection, Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

One of my favorite Ohio places to visit in early spring is the Secrest Arboretum, which is tucked into the sprawling campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) just south of Wooster in Wayne County.

Secrest Arboretum is an Ohio public garden that deserves to be better known. There has been an arboretum here since 1908, when the Forest Arboretum was established, and in 1950 it was renamed in honor of Dr. Edmund Secrest, the founder of Ohio Forestry. The gardens are open  year-round from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.

Carabapple 'Candymint', Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio
Crabapple ‘Candymint’, Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

The Secrest Arboretum covers 115 acres, and includes about 700 crabapple (Malus) trees, one of the largest collections in North America. In addition to being a prime destination for local photographers, the crabapples are beloved by butterflies, and during one of my visits hundreds of Red Admirals were nectaring on the crabapple blossoms.

Red Admiral, Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio
Red Admiral, Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

Secrest Arboretum is also a favorite destination for local birders. When I visited early in the morning on May 5, 2020, a flock of more than a dozen Cedar Waxwings were feasting on crabapple fruits. I also observed several Northern Mockingbirds, a Brown Thrasher, Yellow-rumped Warblers and many White-throated Sparrows.   

Cedar Waxwing in Crabapple, Secrest Arboretum

The cool weather during April has continued into early May, and delayed the opening of many of the crabapple blossoms. This week and early next week will likely be the peak blooming period for the crabapples.

Malus 'Rosseau', Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio
Malus ‘Rosseau’, Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

 The main drive through the arboretum, Williams Road, is open to visitors during selected hours – see the Secrest Arboretum website. The arboretum grounds are open during the Covid-19 pandemic, but social distancing must be observed and visitors who wish to walk through the arboretum and crabapple collection must park at the main parking lot on Mill Road.  The crabapple collection is only a 5-minute walk from the parking lot.

Secrest Arboretum is located at 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. Tel: (330)-263-3761. GPS Coordinates: 40.78352N 81.917585W. Website: https://secrest.osu.edu/home


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