Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas
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News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Storm packs punch to campus landscape

Thanks to their abundance of trees and well-tended shrubbery and flowers, university campuses are generally known for being some of the most beautiful areas within a community. But with last weekend’s storm causing trees to crack and fall under the heavy weight of the ice, it’s no surprise that the landscape of the Pittsburg State University campus has come out from the storm damage with more than a few fallen limbs.

Due to the severity of the storm, approximately 90 percent of the trees on campus have experienced damage. In about half of the trees, that damage is significant.

“There are major limbs that fell off these trees that are needed to make a tree balanced and look whole,” said Larry Miller, supervisor of the university’s ground maintenance crew. “There are going to be a few trees that we have to cut down entirely.”

Miller estimates that over the next few weeks, crews will permanently remove about 5 percent of the trees on campus, including three trees located by the old bookstore (near Axe Library), another east of Horace Mann, and a Chinese elm located on the Oval.

One tree that survived but will require major trimming and TLC, said Miller, is the most significant tree on campus: the water oak located on the southeast side of the Overman Student Center. Recorded by the Department of Forestry as a state champion tree, it is the largest water oak in the state of Kansas. In addition to the oak’s significant damage, another large white pine on the Oval experienced its share of destroyed limbs, as well.

The shrubbery on campus has also taken a blow, and Miller says he’ll be looking into additional landscaping funding next year to absorb the cost of planting new trees and foliage.

“Many of the trees will be unsightly until they grow out on their own,” Miller said, adding that the last major storm in 2002 doesn’t compare to this week’s damage. With a crew of 14 full-time employees, he’s prepared for chainsaws to be worn out over the next few weeks. “A storm like this makes every tree left all the more valuable. Having lost so much at once, we’re going to try to make them look like something.”

---Pitt State---