Photo courtesy of Jim Mussetter, University Arborist

With the help of some serious equipment, Landscaping Services staff members successfully removed 24 trees from the future site of the business school, Farrell Hall, and transplanted them at three locations: the new Welcome Center, South Hall, and North Campus Apartments.

The various maples, oaks and redbuds that made up the initial transfer group were moved during the dead of winter to promote their chance of survival in their new locations. Trees lie dormant during the cold months, making it easier to transplant them with minimal risk to the root system.

“I don’t know but I don’t believe we’ve ever lost a tree on campus that we’ve transplanted with a large spade,” reported David Davis, Manager of Landscaping Services.

Though the university has relocated trees in the past, the practice had not been common in recent years. University Arborist Jim Mussetter, who has worked in Landscaping Services for 19 years, could recall few instances when trees had been saved from construction sites during his tenure.

According to Mussetter, the decision to relocate the trees, rather than to remove them, was made largely in response to the negative reaction from the Wake Forest community to the removal of many trees from the new admissions center site last fall. The effort to relocate trees is also in keeping with the university’s commitment to tree care that is articulated in the newly adopted Campus Tree Care Plan.

The Campus Tree Care Plan was created by a team of Facilities and Campus Services staff members led by Jim Coffey and Jim Alty, with assistance from two interns in the Office of Sustainability. The plan meets guidelines established by the Arbor Day Foundation. The completion of, and adherence to, this plan is just one crucial step on the way to Tree Campus USA designation, anhonor bestowed on colleges and universities that have demonstrated a commitment to prudent care of their trees, including their protection during construction projects.

In addition to articulating tree care guidelines, the Tree Care Plan also provides the framework for a new Tree Advisory Committee and a commitment to an annual Arbor Day celebration.

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern