Tree Inventory Takes Root on Campus

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Many agree that trees contribute greatly to the aesthetic value of the Johnson C. Smith University campus. In the summer of 2011, Bartlett Tree Experts performed a tree inventory for the University and identified 915 trees or groupings of trees of 66 different species.

The trees were tagged and noted for their condition, health and vigor. Some were deemed a hazard and marked for removal. Others were recommended for pruning, soil or pest management to promote tree safety, health and longevity. The tree locations were mapped using Global Positioning Satellite Receiver hardware and Geographic Information System (GIS) software.

The Bartlett Visual Tree Structure Analysis System ranks the relative degree of risk for prioritizing remedial treatments when managing large tree populations using criteria such as failure potential and consequence of failure. The documentation of these attributes will help in future management decisions relative to tree health, preservation and safety.

Some of the recommendations over the next three years are:

  • pruning 618 trees for safety, health, structure and appearance
  • removing 51 trees due to poor tree structure or health
  • providing tree risk assessments for 23 trees to evaluate the impact of wood decay in stems and buttress roots that show potential for failure
  • installing new structural support systems in 60 trees to reduce chance of branch failure
  • providing root collar excavations to 317 trees
  • implementing an integrated pest management program
  • taking soil samples throughout the area and bulk density samples to determine the amount of soil compaction

This inventory also estimated the total value of all the trees on campus at about $5 million. It also identified willow oaks as the most precious trees on campus, with values ranging from $46,506 - $69,957.

Value calculations were based on a modified form of the “Trunk Formula Method” published by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers in The Guide for Plant Appraisal, 9th edition.

The campus continues to plant trees each year as part of its sustainability program and Earth Day celebration.