A green and lasting pledge

Students, alumni and visitors to the University of Georgia are likely to notice an even greener campus than usual. In the last year alone, about 225 oak trees have been planted.

In an effort to re-green campus with sustainable shade trees, the Select Sustainable Tree Trust, an organization affiliated with Select Trees, a nursery in Oconee County founded by alumni and with many UGA alumni as partners, pledged to provide 700-1,000 trees to UGA over the next 10 years. Contractors working for the UGA Physical Plant’s grounds crew are installing the trees.

“When one thinks about a campus environment, large, healthy trees indicate institutional permanence and heritage as much as any building possibly could,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “These sustainable trees-while significant in their immediate impact-will truly be appreciated by students and faculty 20, 50 and 100 years from now, just as we appreciate those individuals who planted the first trees on North Campus hundreds of years ago. We appreciate the willingness of the Select Sustainable Tree Trust to offer such a generous donation.”

Not saplings, the planted trees are 4-6 inches in diameter and 10-12 years old.

“We don’t usually plant this many trees-certainly not as many of this size,” said Dexter Adams, director of the grounds department. “We’re offsetting a lot of tree loss and taking advantage of a lot of planting opportunities.”

The oaks have been planted more heavily on the newly developed areas of South and East Campus, Dexter Adams said. The campus arboretum becomes denser toward North Campus, but new trees are still being added there. In addition, workers are planting new trees near older ones to ensure shade for future generations.

The first round of plantings was completed in April, with the trees in establishment mode for the summer. Plantings will resume in the fall, and Dexter Adams expects to add about 200 oaks in the upcoming academic year.

These tree plantings are supplementing the usual cycle of tree removal and tree plantings. All of the approximately 6,000 trees in the campus arboretum are monitored and maintained by the tree crew in the Physical Plant’s grounds department.

“We’re planting more trees, better trees, in a better conceived landscape,” said Paul Cassilly, director of the Office of the University Architects. “The master plan promotes improving landscapes every time we do new construction and renovations. Green space improvements are a part of all major construction on campus.”