Civil War-era tree on Quad removed

Civil War-era tree on Quad removed

A large circle of dirt is all that remains of a natural landmark on the east side of the Quad. Over spring break, a tree crew removed a more than 150 year-old tree that lived through the Civil War and saw the University grow from 154 students to more than 30,000.

“Trees get old, and when they are dying they have to be taken down if they pose a safety hazard,” said UA Director of Media Relations Cathy Andreen.

Duane Lamb, the assistant vice president for facilities and grounds, said the tree, a water oak, had been dying for at least four years. A fungus called hypoxylon canker had attacked the bark system during a drought. Lamb also said years ago cars used to park on the Quad, perhaps adding stress to the roots.

This stress, the fungus, the tree’s age and the heat combined to seriously weaken the oak.

“It had already started losing its primary branches, which is why we took it down, because it was becoming a safety hazard in addition to its poor health,” Lamb said.

The tree crew removed most of the tree with a chain saw and used a stump grinder. The root system was so deteriorated that the roots were easily scraped up.

Lamb said the Grounds Department always tries to replace trees with new ones, and has replaced around 1500 so far. The Grounds Department is using a tree survey software that marks the size, type and age of the trees. Lamb said this is a part of protecting our “urban campus forest.”

“We continuously monitor the campus trees,” Lamb said. “A lot of the trees are getting old, and are around the same age as the oak.”

Sophomore Colby Leopard said he misses the tree and feels that its absence negatively affects the appearance of the Quad.

“I don’t like that that tree is gone,” Leopard said. “Now we just have a big ugly spot of dirt over there.”

Sarah White, a freshman majoring in marine science and biology, had a different view on the dying tree. White said that the appearance of the campus is important in attracting students to the University.

“Landscaping-wise, it wouldn’t have looked appealing,” White said. “A dead tree isn’t going to be good for the University.”

Hanna Arvin, a freshman majoring in biology, noticed Wednesday that the tree was gone. She said she used to use the landmark as a meeting spot for friends.

“It was easy to just [say] ‘I’m at the tree on the non-tree [side],” Arvin said. “You knew it was that tree.”

Lamb said that there is a possibility that a new tree will be planted on the east side of the Quad. The new tree, he said, would be a little more out of the way so students will have room to play Frisbee, flag football, and do other activities.

Junior Grahm Hoffart said he remembered the tree as attractive, but sees the positive side of its removal.

“It was pretty dead, but now there’s more field space to play on out on the Quad,” Hoffart said.

“I would always look at the tree and notice how big it is,” freshman Ashleigh Harris said. “It was a very, very pretty tree. I never even thought about it dying; I just always thought it was there and would be there for a while.”

 

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