Amid the relative calm of the winter break, the university will tackle three major projects involving campus trees.
The projects, beginning Dec. 19, include pruning, transplanting, and laying the groundwork to help create a
southern gateway into campus. Following are descriptions of the individual projects and their significance to the campus fabric.
Tree pruning in original 40 acres of campus
On or after Dec.19, contractors from the Davey Tree Expert Company will begin pruning 115 trees in the south half of the original 40 acres of campus. The goal is to remove dead or dying limbs and branches, and to improve the health of the trees.
“We chose to prune part of the original 40 acres because those are some of the oldest trees on campus,” says Larry Maginnis, the university’s urban forester. “We’re pruning to promote health and help preserve the trees, and, of course, to ensure the safety of the campus.”
Seven crews will prune trees between Inner Campus Drive and 21st Street, and Guadalupe and Speedway. This will be the largest one-time pruning event ever on campus, and will be the first time the area has been pruned since 1981. The project will be complete Jan. 13.
University Avenue tree work
On Dec. 20, the Davey Tree Expert Company will remove and recycle three old pecan trees from the University Avenue median. This is part of a bigger landscaping plan to recreate a southern gateway into campus that will begin on Martin Luther King Boulevard and lead all the way to The University of Texas at Austin Tower.
Senior Project Manager Will Shepherd notes, “The recycling of the aging pecan trees on University Avenue will be the first step toward restoring the original campus vision of formally introducing the university to Texas from the south side of campus.”
This original vision for the campus was the brainchild of Paul Cret, the architect who designed the tower and many buildings on the South Mall. This project will revive Cret’s vision by creating an unobstructed view of the tower and Littlefield Fountain along University Avenue. The old pecan trees will remain a part of campus, because the university will recycle them and use their wood to build furniture for the new ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center.
Experimental Science Building tree transplants
During the first week of January, the university will move three live oak trees to make way for extensive construction at the Experimental Science Building (ESB).
To ensure the transplantation of as many trees as possible, Maginnis and tree moving contractors/consultants surveyed the eight trees around the ESB earlier this year and found that, despite a lot of piping and other underground utilities in the area, three were good candidates for transplanting. Maginnis was disappointed to find it was physically impossible to transplant all the trees, but says, “These three are the most handsome, healthy candidates and are totally worth the investment to transplant.”
The trees will be moved to a gravel lot at the northeast corner of 24th and Speedway, and will remain there under close watch until they are moved back to the new and improved ESB three years from now. This will affect parking in the area and eliminate parking in the gravel lot for the foreseeable future. The university will begin pruning trees along 24th Street after Dec. 19 to make sure there is a clear path for the tree move, and will also install fences and an irrigation system in the gravel lot.