An oak tree that has been a fixture in the courtyard nearly as long as Meredith College has been located on Hillsborough Street has come to the end of its long life, and will be removed over the semester break in December.
Meredith’s Grounds Department will hold an appreciation event for the oak on Reading Day, December 4, from 1 – 2 p.m. to allow the campus community to learn more about this tree and others on campus. Faculty, staff and students are invited to attend the “retirement party” for the tree.
The tree is the largest oak on campus, and was planted soon after Meredith College moved to its current location in 1926.
Grounds Manager Aaron Schettler and Professor Emerita of Biology Janice Swab will be available at the event to answer questions about this tree, its care, and other trees on the Meredith campus. Images of the tree from the College archives will be on display.
The tree has been in decline for many years, and the Grounds Department has managed it carefully for the last ten years, with regular inspections, soil treatments, and crown reductions. The tree is in a high-traffic location on campus, and it will be removed because of safety considerations.
“The campus can feel very good about how we’ve taken care of this tree,” Grounds Manager Aaron Schettler said. “We have done everything we could to preserve it as long as possible, and it has served us well.”
The tree will continue its usefulness even after it is removed. Schettler is working with the N.C. Urban Forest Council to recycle the wood. A specialty woodcutter will be milling full width slabs onsite during the removal and wood that would normally go to waste will be put to good use. The Grounds Department is considering ways for the wood to be reused on campus.
An American tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, will be planted in the oak tree’s place. The tree will be planted in the spring of 2015 as a donation by North Carolina Governor’s School East in memory of a longtime GSE faculty member Greg “Bear” O’Bryan.