A Healthy Long Life: Horticultural Practices for Cherry Trees in Japan (March 19)

The BU Center for the Study of Asia East Asian Archaeology Forum (EAAF), Preservation Studies Program, and Archaeology Program are pleased to present

A Healthy Long Life: Horticultural Practices for Cherry Trees in Japan

Professor Ron Henderson
(Illinois Institute of Technology— Department of Landscape Architecture)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 4 pm

Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, 121 Bay State Road, Boston University


Japan has many ancient cherry trees – some over 1,500 years old – which is remarkable given the soft wood and susceptibility to decay that characterize cherry trees. They owe their longevity partly to the genetics of their wild ancestors and partly to their human communities.  The Japanese have devised an array of structural supports that both stabilize and rejuvenate venerable and at-risk trees. One-legged crutches, two-legged braces, rope tents, tree wrapping, and tree skirts are among these devices which are not commonly employed in North America due to a cultural bias toward arboreal naturalism. In Japan, the visible presence of these supports signals a cultural commitment to a long healthy life.

Ron Henderson is Director, Landscape Architecture + Urbanism Program at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Department of Landscape Architecture, Chicago; Founding Principal L+A Landscape Architecture; Author of The Gardens of Suzhou (University of Pennsylvania Press 2013); Curator Sakura Orihon: Diary of a Cherry Blossom Journey, U.S. National Arboretum Exhibition, 2018 and 2019; and Senior Fellow of Garden and Landscape Studies, Dumbarton Oaks.


Research on the cherry trees and blossoms of Japan was supported with a four-month creative artist fellowship sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, and Bunkacho Japanese Cultural Agency.


Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko, Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002)

Sano, Toemon, Sakura: Flowering Cherries of Japan (Kyoto and Tokyo: Mitsumura Suiko Shoin, 1961).


The East Asian Archaeology Forum, supported by the Boston University Center for the Humanities, provides a broad range of academic and public presentations on the cultural heritage of Asia.