cherry trees from Japan
have added spring color to riverfront
trees were a gift from
Madison Precision parent corp.
MADISON, Ind. (September 2004) Each spring
in the nations capital, fragrant blossoms blanket the branches
of more than 3,000 cherry trees that dominate the horticultural landscape
along the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park and
on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
by David Sutherland
trees along the Madison
riverfront were a gift from METTS
Corp., the parent of Madison
Some of the trees have been there since 1912. The rest
are replacements which have been planted over the years.
Likewise in Madison, Ind., sometime each year between mid-March and
mid-April, small white flowers adorn the Yoshino Cherry trees that,
while significantly fewer in number, similarly decorate the riverfront
along Vaughn Drive.
Planted in 1999, the trees were a gift of friendship from METTS Corp.,
the Japan-based parent company of Madison Precision Products Inc. in
It started out with the Japanese wanting to do something for Madison,
explained Madison Precisions vice president of Human Resources
METTS original plan called for 200 trees. That number was reduced
to 55 when concerns were raised about the trees obstructing the view,
While the cherry trees planted in Washington, D.C., in the early 1900s
were shipped to the United States from Japan, the trees in planted Madison
came from a grower in Tennessee.
The United States does not allow certain plants imported into the country
due to the possible spread of disease that could kill native trees,
according to Sutherland.
Sutherland, Madison Precision facilities maintenance engineer Louis
Alexander and city arborist Caryl Schwaller determined where the trees
would go. Most were planted along the south side of Vaughn Drive. Eighteen
were planted at Crystal Beach Pool, in Jaycee Park and near the turn-around
at the Hwy. 421 bridge. Another 10 were planted at local schools.
by Ruth Wright
Precision Products HR
vice president David Sutherland
helped decide where to place the
trees when planted in 1999.
The cherry trees were dedicated in a ceremony held on
Arbor Day 1999. Present were city officials, including Mayor Al Huntington,
Yozo Hasegawa, then president of METTS, and Masahiko Joe
Jomoto, president of Madison Precision.
Hasegawa, who has since retired, was enthusiastic about the project,
said Sutherland. He believed that the gift of Yoshino cherry trees would
help promote locally the friendship between the United States and Japan.
Approximately seven to 10 feet tall when planted, Madisons cherry
trees have since grown to 15-20 feet and will continue to mature up
to 50 feet. Generally hardy, the trees require little maintenance. Pruning
and protecting them against pests, primarily eastern tent catapillars,
is basically all that is needed, according to Schwaller.
This spring, during a drive along the riverfront, Sutherland said he
noticed a woman and an infant having a picnic beneath one of the trees.
I thought it was wonderful how Americans enjoy the cherry
blossoms just as Japanese people do, he later wrote in a letter
to the tree donors. Sutherland thanked them for the trees and enclosed
a collage of pictures taken this spring when the trees were in full
In appreciation of the cherry trees, the City of Madison donated several
dogwood trees to its Japanese sister city of Minobu. The dogwood is
the official tree of Madison.
Madison Precision has recently paid for planting 10 additional Yoshino
Cherry trees. They will will be planted along the riverfront this fall
or next spring, according to Schwaller.
Back to September 2004