Campus News

UGA consortium will help care for 9/11 memorial trees

Four years ago, Bartlett Tree Experts, an international tree company, was asked to care for the trees that will bring life back to the World Trade Center Plaza.

More than 400 white swamp oaks and sweetgum trees were relocated to a New Jersey nursery to be groomed for placement at the 9/11 memorial. Only 386 will eventually call the site home. Data collected from the trees will help experts determine which trees will be best suited for the memorial.

To help Bartlett care for the trees, which will be cast into the global spotlight, the company enlisted the help of the UGA Consortium for Internet Imaging and Database Systems, or CIIDS, which created a database system to track the trees’ care.

The system monitors and stores important information like watering schedules; pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer applications; pruning; weed control; tree height and diameter; and fall color. It also includes a sensor system that reads the soil moisture and temperature in the root ball of each tree.

“You essentially have the history of the tree at your fingertips,” said Sherri Clark, principal developer with CIIDS. “If a tree has suffered some storm damage or its soil was too dry, you can see it. This information is important when selecting trees to move to the site.”

Weekly reports are automatically generated by the system and e-mailed to stakeholders.

“We have so many parties involved in this project, we needed a central repository for all the information,” said Mike Sherwood, Bartlett inventory solutions manager. “Having a central place for people to get the information was identified as needed early on. We were happy with our other CIIDS products. So we approached them for help.”