Replanting helps SDSU retain Tree Campus USA title

Meghann Rise

Meghann Rise

The recent removal of various trees did not affect SDSU’s title as a Tree Campus USA, as the university has taken steps to replace those trees that were cleared for construction.

The campus removed many of its elm trees due to disease this summer and also removed pine trees to make room for the new dormitories on campus, said Dean Kattelmann, assistant vice president of facilities and services.

While many trees were removed, there are landscaping plans in action to replace the trees and to reuse those that were cut down. Kattelmann said 32 new oak trees have been purchased and planted already. There are also plans to create a boulevard on 11th Street as an entrance to the campus.

Not only is the campus replacing trees that were removed, they are recycling them. The campus purchased a wood chipper in order to use the wood chips for bedding around the new trees, Kattelmann said.

SDSU received its designation as a Tree Campus USA, a program started in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, last year after having met five requirements. According to the official Web site, the program determines a Tree Campus USA based on five standards: establishment of a Campus Tree Advisory Committee, recognition of Arbor Day, involvement of the student body, as well as the outside community, evidence of a tree-care plan and allocated finances to maintain the trees.

SDSU did not qualify in 2008 for the program because there was no recognition of Arbor Day. However, last year, the campus recognized Arbor Day with the planting of a new tree, and therefore, qualified as a Tree Campus USA. A celebration to recognize Arbor Day is planned for the last Friday in April this year.

Because of diseases and bugs, a special committee plans for removing and replanting trees frequently. This year, elm disease wiped out many of the campus’ elm trees. Some speculate that the ash beetle is making its way from Michigan and will inevitably end up in South Dakota, Kattelmann said. When this happens, many of the ash trees on campus will suffer.

To prevent the wipe out of the campus’ trees, a variety of trees have been planted. Soon, an inventory will be taken of every tree on campus.

“We have the best diversity of trees on campus than anywhere in the state,” Kattelmann said. “As a forestry major, you don’t even have to go anywhere to see these trees; we have them right here.”

Kelsea Hotvet, a business economics major, agrees.

“I think the campus has a really great landscape, and a really balanced number of trees,” Hotvet said. “As far as them removing trees, I understand why they had to do it, and as long as they are getting replaced, I don’t think it’s a problem.”