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What’s Going On with the Trees on Campus?

As you may recall, Furman has a long-range plan for replacing aging trees on campus that were planted more than 50 years ago when the university moved from downtown to its present location. These trees have reached or exceeded their lifespans. As a result, many are dying and may become dangerous. Furman is replacing the aging trees with younger complementary trees with longer lifespans. Please see below for frequently asked questions regarding this effort.

Why is it necessary for the university to cut down so many trees?

We are replacing oak trees due to various issues.  Many of the trees are in poor condition due to age, disease, fungus growth, structural damage and decay.  We are being proactive in removing them, both safety and aesthetic reasons.  In other words, rather than waiting for trees to die and fall, we are replacing  sections of trees with new oaks, in stages, over a period of time.

What will that process look like?

The new sections of trees will be planted on a wider spacing to allow for wider growth over time.  The trunks of the new oaks are generally 6-8 inches in diameter and the trees stand 30-40 feet tall when planted.  These oaks are fairly slow growing, which ideally allows them to live more than 250 years.  The replacement program is in its sixth year, and we estimate the entire replacement will take another six years or so to complete.

What is being done with the wood from the trees that are being cut down?

Most of the wood chips are being aged for mulch, some of which will be used on campus, but most will be used elsewhere.  Some of the solid trunks will be sawed for making mantles, furniture, etc.

What is the long-range plan for replacement of all the trees, and how long will it be before the campus begins to look like it used to?

All the trees on the main mall will be replaced by about 2024.  Because we are planting 30-40 foot tall trees, the aesthetic will be similar to what we have now—just a little bit lower in height.  For these trees to grow to 70 feet tall, it will probably be 25 years or so before they reach that height.  But we need to remember that when the original trees were planted on campus they were about 10 feet tall and took almost 50 years to grow to their maximum height.

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Tagged Earth and Environmental Sciences, Furman Asks Questions, Sustainability

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