for Tree Removal Explained
Over the coming winter, the Mount Holyoke grounds crew
will remove trees that are in danger of failing due to a combination of factors
including stress, decay, disease, and old age, according to Ellen Shukis, director
of the College’s botanic garden. “The reason is people’s
safety,” said Shukis, who is concerned that misinformation is spreading
on campus about the tree removal program.
As Shukis explained, the maturing tree canopy on campus is monitored closely
for potentially dangerous conditions. The College has identified 26 trees that
pose a risk to pedestrians and vehicles on campus.
Even though a tree appears healthy, said Shukis, it may be compromised. Since
1990 many more trees have been planted on campus than have been removed. Shukis
and her staff have arranged, when possible, to relocate trees that have been
in the path of underground utilities or construction projects, and plans are
under way to replace trees that will be removed this winter.
Shukis led a foliage walk on Family and Friends Weekend and identified some of
the trees targeted for removal. “Before we even left the greenhouse, parents
were asking me about the trees being cut down. I showed them the decay, cracks,
and cavities as we walked, and they saw the problem for themselves. They said, ‘Of
course, take them down.’ Once people really look at them they see there
isn’t any doubt.”
According to Shukis, winter is the best time to cut down trees, because the ground
is frozen and heavy machinery will cause less soil compaction. In addition, tree
removal is safest when there are few people around who might be struck by falling
Most of the removed wood will not be reused because it is decaying. On occasions
when a healthy tree needs to be taken down, the College sends the wood to be
milled for use in carpentry projects on campus.