Athens, Ga. – In the last year, about 225 oak trees have been planted on the University of Georgia campus.
The willow, shumard, overcup and nuttall oaks that now adorn all corners of campus were part of a $1 million commitment in 2009 from the Select Sustainable Tree Trust.
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.
“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.”
Not saplings, the planted trees are 4-6 inches in diameter and 10-12 years old.
The oaks have been planted more heavily on the newly developed areas of South and East Campus, 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. The trees will be watered and monitored, said Adams.
“They came from a nursery known for root pruning,” he said. “It’s good for survival.”
Plantings will resume in the fall. 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. The trees are pruned, watered and taken care of. When trees get diseased or damaged by weather, they may be removed if hazardous or beyond repair.
Last week, 17 trees were removed from the grounds around Stegeman Coliseum: seven maples on the Smith Street side and a variety of dogwoods, oaks and maples on the Carlton Street side.
Construction on the Stegeman Coliseum calls for wider concourses for the facility, and the trees, planted in preparation for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, had to be uprooted.
In October and November, when the renovation nears completion and the weather becomes better for planting, 20 trees-five maples, seven dogwoods, four magnolias, two cherry trees and two oaks-will be installed.
“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.”