A large Willow Oak tree outside of Miller Hall that was estimated to be around 70-80 years old was removed over Christmas break on Jan. 7 and 8.
According to Director of Landscape Services Mark Antone, Administration and Landscape Services came to an agreement that the tree was compromised and a likely hazard, after a branch and a large portion of the tree fell with little to no warning on July 30.
“Safety and peace of mind is my most important responsibility for students, staff and community who walk our campus,” Antone wrote in an email. “Trees are my thing, but not when they could potentially hurt someone.”
Antone said trees on campus are routinely monitored by on-campus staff and evaluated by professional arborists, especially when there is a concern about the health or structure of a tree.
The Miller Hall tree had begun to have hollowed-out spaces behind many of the large branches, weakening their holds to the trunk, making other options for saving the tree unviable, according to Antone. He said that he is currently unsure as to why the otherwise healthy tree presented these anomalies, but that the tree likely sustained some damage in the past.
After the removal of the tree, Landscape Services plans to plant an additional tree near the same area but further away from the building.
Some who have been around campus for a long time, like School of Journalism and Communication professor Stephen Ruf, were sad to see the tree go.
“Well, I was very sad to see that old tree come down,” Ruf said. “It was a beautiful, old grand lady. It was gorgeous in the summer with its spreading limbs and I’m sure it’s been here for a very long time and seen a lot of things come and go. So, to see an old-timer like that come down kind of breaks your heart.”