A plan to return some lost foliage to Forest Lawn will kick off this weekend with the planting of about 200 trees at the historic Buffalo cemetery.
Ultimately, an additional 4,000 trees will planted at the cemetery over the next decade as a means to restore Forest Lawn’s historic overarching tree canopy, partly in response to the devastation to the trees from the surprise October 2006 snowstorm.
In March, Forest Lawn officials announced that they had commissioned Heritage Landscapes to create and implement a landscape-renewal plan for the cemetery. Tuesday, officials announced that the plan has been completed.
The first phase of the project, which is to commence Friday and Saturday, calls for planting 200 trees along the inside perimeter of Forest Lawn near the iconic statue of Red Jacket.
Joining Forest Lawn officials Tuesday were representatives from the John R. Oishei Foundation, which provided a $250,000 grant toward funding the project, and Re-Tree WNY, which donated trees.
The aim, overall, is to return the cemetery to its original landscape that existed from 1849 to 1959.
Dutch elm disease devoured 38 percent of the cemetery’s trees during the 1960s.
More than 600 trees were downed or removed during and after the October 2006 storm. An additional 2,000 required pruning. Also damaged in the storm were monuments, fences and other landscape features that added up to a $1.2 million.
The trees that will be planted will vary in variety and range in height from 15 to 20 feet.
They are expected to grow from 60 to 90 feet at maturity, once again offering the kind of dappled light and shade that existed for more than 100 years on the 269-acre site.