Any student, faculty, or staff member who has parked in the south side parking lot, has noticed a little less shade from the ash trees right about now and fewer spaces to park in. Over the last few weeks, a few of the ash trees outside of the south side of the building have been taken down.
The first tree, an ash tree, was planted on the Boone campus on Earth day in April of 1970.
“We planted it to make a statement in support of peace and the earth,” said Jeanne Duffy, DMACC Boone Alumna. “It was kind of a big deal when I was here.”
DMACC Boone Provost, Dr. Andrew Nelson had to make the tough choices about removing the ash trees.
“The campus is currently cutting down ash trees which have been infected by the Emerald Ash Borer . . . the borer takes away the ability of a tree to get nutrients into the crown,” said Nelson.
Most of the ash trees have small branches up high with little to no leaves on them. But the Emerald Ash borer isn’t the only thing damaging the trees. Woodpeckers have also been boroughing into the trees.
“I am hoping that it may be possible to save a handful of the less damaged trees, at least for a few years,” Nelson said.
Arborists and many other specialists have come to evaluate the situation. Even treatments to kill the Emerald Ash borer and protect the tree have only just helped a few.
“We’ve contacted a nursery/tree service specializing in native trees. We have a plan to plant larger saplings, but this time we are planting a variety of species in hopes of not losing everything to the next invasive disease.” Nelson continued, “In planting, we must consider the usual factors (drainage, spacing) and we also have to keep things relatively clear at ground level for security reasons—we can’t put a lot of shrubs near the parking lots, for example.”
“We are hoping to start replanting this fall,” Nelson said.
Biology and Environmental Science Professor, Dr. Tim Bergin believes that with the colder weather on the horizon, it is more likely that planting will start in the spring.
“So we’ve been talking about what to plant out there,” said Bergin. “I would love to have something that would live a long time.”
Photos from The 1970 Cub yearbook and a special thanks to Jeanne Duffy for lending her yearbook to Banner News.