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Pruning Projects Address Tree Care and Safety While Also Enhancing Campus Views

Posted March 26, 2012 | Emily Vincent
enter photo description
A worker prunes a tree in the Front Campus area. Annual
tree-pruning projects on the Kent Campus began this month.

In order to address safety issues and enhance views of the Kent Campus, Kent State University began its annual tree-pruning projects this month. The projects involve selectively removing tree branches or limbs that are deemed unhealthy or potentially dangerous in the Front Campus area.

“It is in the best interest of the health of our trees and the safety of our faculty, staff, students and visitors to our campus to do these projects,” says Brian Pickering, project manager – landscape architect in the Office of the University Architect at Kent State. “During the week of spring break, select branches that are lower to the ground or considered potentially dangerous in the Front Campus area along East Main Street were removed. We also had a beech tree that was coming to the end of its life, which we removed.”

Heather White, manager of grounds with University Facilities Management at Kent State, says these projects are part of the university’s ongoing maintenance program for tree care.

“Kent State is proactive in taking care of our green infrastructure,” she says. “We want to make sure that the trees on campus are sound and are not at risk of being compromised in a storm or due to insects or disease. We’ve been doing a great job with that.”

Kent State is committed to the environment and tree care. The university has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA university for the past four years, meeting standards of tree care and community engagement. In 2011, Kent State planted 132 trees, which included replacement trees for those that died and trees planted in construction projects.

White says these annual pruning projects are occurring earlier this year.

“We generally do our pruning in the summer, but we have a lot less traffic on campus during spring break week and decided to take the opportunity to do the work now,” she says. “Pruning helps mitigate potential dangerous situations. Some branches and limbs may be dead. Some are growing toward buildings or growing into other trees. Some limbs should have never been let to grow that big. This gives us an opportunity to do some corrections on trees that we haven’t been able to pay close attention to.

“We haven’t always proactively pruned our young trees so that they can become healthy adult trees,” White continues. “With these projects, we’re going to be able to affect the long-term health of more trees than we ever had in the past.”

The pruning of the tree limbs will help improve vistas of the historic buildings on campus, Pickering adds. “Enhancing the views of campus is important for branding, recruitment and safety as you can see further back from the road to the campus buildings.”

The university’s partner in these projects is the Davey Tree Expert Company based in Kent. Davey is using the pruning projects as an opportunity to train some of its employees on some advance climbing techniques.

Safety and enhancing the gateway into campus also was addressed earlier this month when trees were cleared at Campus Center Drive and state Route 261. The line of sight for cars traveling through this busy intersection was improved.

“The university plans to enhance the gateway in this area to alert travelers who travel from the south that you have found your entry into Kent State,” Pickering says. “We want to make it more of an arrival point to campus that is welcoming and more distinctive so that you know that you have arrived at Kent State University.”