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Survey to Account for Campus Trees

January 25, 2011 11:15 AM
Nick Marinello

There are roughly 750 trees on Tulane's uptown campus, with more than 200 of that number comprising majestic live oaks. But the exact figures are hard to come by. A new survey of campus trees that is being launched this week will provide the university with a comprehensive, updatable accounting of its population of trees.

oak trees2

A survey of trees on the uptown campus is critical to preserving the landscape. The goal is “to recognize and treat our trees as individuals,” says grounds superintendent Tom Armitage. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

The last systematic reckoning of campus trees was conducted in 2004, the year before Hurricane Katrina blew through town taking with it a multitude of trees.

“The goal is to be able to be able to recognize and treat our trees as individuals,” says Tom Armitage, superintendent of grounds. “It's a recognition that will carry through to the future and allow the university to understand these trees as assets.”

The document will be a “fantastic tool” to develop a maintenance plan for the campus canopy, says Lee Stansberry of Bayou Tree Service, a local company contracted by the university to conduct the survey. With the help of student worker Daniel Marksbury, Stansberry will assess the entire uptown campus, determining species, location (through GPS readings), diameter and condition of each tree.

Since Katrina, the university has actively engaged in planting new trees on the uptown campus.

“Based on our count, there were 92 new trees planted in 2009 and 65 planted in 2010,” says Mihnea Dobre, design project coordinator in the Office of the University Architect. “Only 19 were removed, so that's a great positive balance.”

According to records from the university architect, there were 185 trees planted on campus between spring 2006 and spring 2009. In 2009, Tulane was awarded Tree Campus USA status from the Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of its dedication to campus forestry management and environment stewardship. According to Stansberry, updated tree inventories will be useful in attaining future Tree Campus USA awards.

Stansberry says the new survey should be completed in approximately six months.