Stately campus trees lost

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A week ago, we lost five friends at Augusta State University. Those friends were tall, slender pine trees that had graced the south side of our campus for the past 60 years.

Pine trees lay cut at Augusta State University because their needles and roots were deemed infrastructure nuisances.  MATTHEW BOSISIO/SPECIAL
Pine trees lay cut at Augusta State University because their needles and roots were deemed infrastructure nuisances.

The trees were killed because they reportedly were becoming nuisances, sending their pine needles into the adjacent cooling tower and threatening underground pipes with their roots. One remaining pine still stands at the site, but is it now under a death watch?

I wonder, this being the 21st century, if there was not a modern way to have avoided this event that many of us in the community consider an unnecessary tragedy. Screening for the cooling tower, for instance, might have redirected falling needles, and a few feet of PVC pipe could have deflected insistent roots.

Thanks to Augusta State tradition and policy, the death of these five trees means new trees will be planted somewhere on campus. But those replacements will not reach their glory for decades – a glory these pines already had attained.

If as a new university we intend to nurture and promote green space, as planners have indicated, let us begin by thinking of creative options to chopping down magnificent, healthy trees. Let’s think of alternatives first and leave the chain saw in the garage until later.

Matthew Bosisio


(The writer is an associate professor in the Department of Communications & Professional Writing at Augusta State University.)

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ralphinga 09/23/12 - 12:28 pm
Tree Hugger?

I am sure that if you had donated the substantial amount of funds needed to remedy this situation as you suggested, your solution would have been considered. Why are folks always so quick to spend taxpayers money?

The Force
The Force 09/23/12 - 06:43 pm
The "solutions" wouldn't have

The "solutions" wouldn't have been considered regardless of the amount of funds donated, they weren't possible to adhere to. It is possible that a group could have donated the funds to obtaining a better solution than cutting down those wonderful trees, however it was not realistic to screen the cooling tower or put pipes down. The piping would've caused much more problems than it would have remedied. They weren't "So quick to spend taxpayer money", they spent money made off of tuitions and other fees paid by the students. Those fees aren't taxes, they're realistic things that need to be paid in order to keep the campus looking clean and orderly as well as pay for repairs and other equipment. The trees needed to come down, the roots would have cause major campus issues just by themselves. There will be other trees planted, though, and thus providing shade just as these 5 did before.

omnomnom 09/25/12 - 01:56 pm
pines need to go.

pines need to go.

bigcornus 09/27/12 - 01:33 pm
Making a call

As an arborist I can't make the call with the limited information in this story and not looking at the actual site; however, the use of the word "nuisances" rather than "hazards" is telling for the university just as "killed" rather than "removed" is for the author.

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