Date:  Aug 28, 2010

Press Release Number:  57


About 400 Swamp White Oak Trees Are Planned for the 9/11 Memorial’s Plaza

9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni today announced the arrival and planting of the first trees on the Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center site. At least 12 of the nearly 400 trees planned for the Memorial are expected to be planted throughout the day, furthering the commitment that the Memorial will open for the 10th anniversary next year.

The Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) trees planted are the first of approximately 400 planned for the Memorial Plaza, which features a complex soil supported paving surface and a unique cistern system designed to sustain the urban forest. The trees were carried two by two on flatbed trucks to the World Trade Center site from a nursery in New Jersey, where they have been growing since 2007.

Environmental Design is caring for the trees and coordinating the move and planting. The average height of the trees is currently 30 feet with leaf canopies between 18 feet and 20 feet wide. They are expected to grow to heights reaching 80 feet.

“The planting of the first trees on the Memorial marks a special moment in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center,” 9/11 Memorial Chairman Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said. “Over this next year, the trees will continue to be planted in stages as sections of the Memorial Plaza are completed. The Memorial grove consisting of approximately 400 trees will symbolize hope and renewal, and create a vital new green space in the heart of Lower Manhattan. ”

"Today’s planting of the first trees, which will soon be joined by a total of almost 400 trees at the Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center site, is an incredible event,” Gov. David A. Paterson said. “It symbolizes rebirth and growth, and as part of the larger World Trade Center Development Plan, is a powerful sign that our great City, State, and nation are moving forward on healing the wound which was inflicted almost nine years ago."

“These are the first of hundreds of trees that will grace the Memorial’s landscape as a symbol of rebirth at the World Trade Center site,” 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said. “The trees will create a space of reflection, and remembrance apart from the sights and sounds of the City.”

“The planting of these trees marks another step in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. Every day, we see visible, real and now living signs of our recovery. As a lifelong New Jerseyan, I am so proud these trees were grown in my home state, just 15 minutes from my house. This is a wonderful Garden State legacy at the World Trade Center,” said Bill Baroni, Deputy Executive Director of Port Authority of NY & NJ.

“The Port Authority is thrilled to see the finished Memorial plaza beginning to take shape. Installing these trees is a key step in meeting our commitment to opening the plaza on the 10th anniversary,” said Anthony Coscia, Chairman of the Port Authority of NY & NJ.

Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “Opening the 9/11 Memorial on the 10th anniversary of the attacks is our highest priority, and the arrival of the first trees on the site is a tangible sign that we will meet our commitment.”

“In these trees Peter Walker and Partners is delighted to see the initial realization of our vision for a living memorial at the World Trade Center, and we are grateful for the many skilled professionals—arborists, soil specialists, tree movers—who have cared for the trees since their selection and will continue to assure their health in the decades to come,” said Doug Findlay of Peter Walker and Partners. Landscape Architecture.

“We are the world’s premiere large tree movers and we are honored to be bringing life back to the site,” said Tom Cox, CEO of Houston-based Environmental Design.

Work is underway to raise the Memorial Plaza about six feet to create a natural soil supported paving system that contains the nutrient-rich soil and irrigation for the trees. Multiple tons of so-called structural soil was delivered in preparation of the planting of the first trees. Structural soil is a special blend of gravel, sand, and organic material such as worm castings. As landscaping work on the plaza is completed, more trees will be planted throughout the coming months.

The first trees were planted in an approximately 13,000-square-foot section on the western side of the Memorial Plaza. The design for the plaza will create one of the most sustainable, eco-friendly plazas in the world. The trees will be supported throughout the year by recycling rain and snow melt captured by a unique drainage system. The project is pursuing the Gold certification under the LEED for New Construction program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architecture designed the Memorial plaza, incorporating paving, an open turf glade for events every September, and numerous benches. Beneath a canopy of leaves, the plaza’s surface is made of elongated pieces of granite and bands of low groundcover and mosses. The design includes benches for visitors as well as residents and workers of lower Manhattan. One of the goals of the Memorial Plaza is to combine a green environment for reflection, remembrance, and human-scaled public open space.

For symbolic reasons the trees were selected from within a 500-mile radius of the World Trade Center, including New York, Pennsylvania and near Washington D.C. – these areas were impacted on September 11th, 2001. Additional trees were selected for the Memorial in the event replacements are needed.

Significant progress has been made to prepare the 9/11 Memorial for its opening next year. To date, 100 percent of the steel supporting the plaza has been installed and nearly 80 percent of the concrete has been poured. When construction is complete, the total amount of steel will exceed 8,100 tons – more than was used to build the Eiffel Tower – and the total amount of concrete will be nearly 50,000 cubic yards. The north reflecting pool has been lined with granite tiles, and work is nearly complete to install the same tiles in the south reflecting pool.

The Memorial pools are expected to be the largest man-made waterfalls in the country, pumping 52,000 gallons of recycled water per minute. The mammoth pools will sit within the original footprints of the fallen Twin Towers.


The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is the not-for-profit corporation created to oversee the design, raise the funds, and program and operate the Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site. The Memorial and Museum will be located on eight of the 16 acres of the site.

The Memorial will remember and honor the nearly 3,000 people who died in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001. The design, created by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, consists of two pools formed in the footprints of the original Twin Towers and a plaza of trees.

The Museum will display monumental artifacts linked to the events of September 11, while presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning and recovery that are central to telling the story of the 2001 attacks and the aftermath. It will communicate key messages that embrace both the specificity and the universal implications of the events of 9/11; document the impact of those events on individual lives, as well as on local, national, and international communities; and explore the continuing significance of these events for our global community.

Donations can be made through and more information can be found at the 9/11 Memorial’s Web site,