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Projects Updates for Campus Tree Inventory

  1. Archived info - previous project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    This project will document existing trees on campus, using a GPS device and collecting tree details into the ArcGIS data layer.  The existing Tree Inventory was last updated in 2006, so it includes trees that have subsequently been removed and it is missing new trees that have been planted.  Through this project, the Tree Inventory will be updated to include all and only existing trees on campus.

  2. Tree Campus USA Celebration - Zoom Meeting

    Thank you to everyone who joined us live or watches later on the CCNet Facebook page!  We enjoyed a great turnout for the Tree Campus USA Celebration, with about 35 people on the Zoom call and a reach of 365 on Facebook.

    This event included a review of the five years that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been designated as a Tree Campus USA, by Brent Lewis. Senior in Integrative Biology student, Maddie Smith, presented the results of her diversity analysis for the campus' urban forest, and the F&S Tree Surgeons, Dustin Reifsteck and Sky Drewes, answered tree-related questions.  At the end of the hour, community announcements included Arbor Day and Earth Month events coming up.

    Celebrate National Arbor Day next week on April 24, 2020!

    Links from announcements and presentation

    The event concluded with a round of thanks, and several were captured in the chat log.

    12:56:43     From  Eliana Brown : Thank you to the Grounds Dept!
    12:58:28     From  Samantha Fisher : Thank you for this presentation! I really enjoy your monthly presentations.
    13:00:02     From  Stacy Gloss : Thanks CCNET for a great presentation today. Awesome collaborative effort.  Everyone have a great day!
    13:00:33     From  ekamarah : Thank you everyone for these interesting presentations and conversations. Have a great day.
    13:00:37     From  Brent Lewis : Yes, thank you everyone!
    13:00:49     From  Eliana Brown : Thank you, everyone! Great job!
    13:01:08     From  pattsi : Stay well everyone
    13:01:12     From  Marya Ryan : Yes, great presentations! So glad to reconnect with CCNet after a few years away.
    13:01:24     From  Miranda Vieson : Thanks!
    13:01:25     From  Marcus Ricci : It was a great presentation, with all of the different presenters nicely tying in to the theme. The Q&A was cool.
    13:01:26     From  Jenna Kurtzweil : Thanks, everyone!!
    13:01:26     From  Kate Gardiner : Love CCNet, thanks Morgan!

  3. Eco Talk: The perils of the Bradford pear tree

    Associated Project(s): 


    Eco Talk: The perils of the Bradford pear tree

    Bradford pear trees

    Bradford pear trees. Deposit Photos

    Judy Wright Special to The Citizen Jan 23, 2020 Updated 16 min ago

    As I write this column today, I am thinking about spring and looking forward to the flowering trees when spring does arrive. I am hopeful, as the up-and-down temperatures of this winter have caused some trees that bloom early to have their flower buds start to swell. I am sure we can remember some springs when the flowering trees either did not flower or their flowers were fewer in number than normal because a hard cold snap that damaged the swollen flower buds.

    One of the trees I used to look forward to seeing is now considered by some, and justifiably so, to be an invasive species. Unfortunately, the Bradford pear, also referred to as a callery pear, was planted just about everywhere in the 1990s because of its dense cone shape and white flowers. I recall seeing them everywhere, and how pretty the trees were when flowering. These trees were also chosen, at one time, as the urban tree of the year!

    Since then, we have learned that these trees, in spite of their visual appeal, did not come without problems. Imported from China in the 1960s by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an ornamental tree, they produce an unpleasant scent when flowering. Also, the branches and even the trunks are very weak and can break under snow, ice and even a strong wind. To counteract this weakness, other varieties of the Bradford pear were quickly introduced.

    At the time of their introduction as an ornamental tree, it was assumed the Bradford pear trees were sterile and would not produce any fruit. Part of that was correct, they do not produce fruit. however, as the newer, stronger varieties were introduced, it was later learned that they would cross-pollinate with the older varieties, and now they have become an environmental threat in eastern forests. Apparently, the newer varieties of Bradford pears would produce fruit that birds would eat, carry into the forest and deposit the seeds, which would grow.

    As the seeds grow into seedlings, the new plants carry the older genetics of the older callery pears, which produce thorns measuring up to 4 inches. It is reported that these thorns are very sturdy and can even destroy tractor tires! Once established, the thickets take over native forest trees like dogwoods, maples, oaks and redbud. Many of these native tree species produce fruit that is nutritious and palatable to birds and other animals, while the callery pear fruit has little nutritional value.

    So now you may realize you have a problem growing in your landscape and want to get rid of it. Suggested steps are to first cut the tree down and grind the root out. They will produce shoots or suckers from any remaining root pieces, so you will need to be vigilant and mow them off. They will continue to send shoots up for at least two years before all the root reserves are exhausted. Be vigilant!

    Once the shoots have stopped, consider replanting something more environmentally beneficial, such as maple or other shade trees. Redbuds or serviceberry will provide spring flowers, and Japanese maples are visually appealing. Many landscapers realize the damage the Bradford pears are causing and will not plant them. Recognizing the serious environmental problems the Bradford pears were causing, the state of Ohio passed legislation in 2018 stopping the sale or distribution of any callery pears by 2023.

    By the way, there are reported to be about 3,000 species of pear worldwide. Pears are relatives of apples and are a member of the rose family. They are native to Asia and Europe, and are reported to have arrived in America with the colonists when New England was settled in the 1600s.

    Unfortunately, this is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that I will write about an invasive species that we should be aware of. Invasive species are a significant problem all around the world. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlif/e Service, invasive species are costing the U.S. billions of dollars in damages each year.

    While this is staggering, if we each take time to learn about invasive species and then take steps to control those we can manage, such as removing Bradford pear trees even though they are pretty to look at when flowering, we may be able to stem the loss of valuable native species.

    Judy Wright is the senior agriculture specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Seneca County. For more information, visit or call (315) 539-9251 ext. 109.

  4. Social Media Coordination between Red Oak Rain Garden and Tree Walk

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hort Club is going to host an event on the April 25th (Thursday of Earth Week) for campus community members to try out the walk. Basically, we are just setting up a table on the quad and inviting everyone to come out, get the brochure/explore TreeKeeper, and do the self-guided tour. If you would like to share this event with your colleagues, that would be wonderful! I think it would be great if we had as many students, faculty, and CU community members as possible invited. I've attached a digital flyer to this email, and the link to the Facebook event: Illinois Earth Week Quad Tree Walk.


    -- Maddie Smith

  5. 18F Semesterly Report - Student-led census of the Trelease Woods Forest Dynamics Plot

    1. Purchase of Census Materials (06/30/18): We have purchased all the equipment and materials needed for the census. Some additional small purchases may be needed near the completion of the census (nails, tags, replacement tape measurements and flagging tape) due to wear and tear.
    2. Recruitment of undergraduate student census workers (08/14/18). We recruited 34 undergraduate students from SIB, NRES, AHS and Animal Sciences to work on the census. Students spent 4-8 hours a week tagging, mapping and identifying trees. So far, we have recruited 33 students to work on the census during Spring semester 2019. About half will be returning students and will both work on the census and do independent research projects in Trelease related to the census.
    3. Student orientation and training (08/21/18): Training was completed as planned. In addition we gave students quizzes on the census methods and spent time in the field with the students throughout the semester.
    4. Development of project website (10/15/18): We have initiated the website. We will continue to build content for the website during the first part of the Spring semester whilst it is too cold to do the census.
    5. Completion of the first 12 ha of census (11/9/18): We started the census at the south side of Trelease woods, which has very high stem densities. This has slowed down progress through the plot. We have now completed around 4 ha. We will resume work when temperatures warm later in the Spring semester. We anticipate requesting additional funds this summer from LAS and ACES to allow students to work on the census over the summer break.
  6. update on tree inventory

    Associated Project(s): 

    Davey Tree's staff person is averaging 214 trees per day.  He started at University Avenue and is working his way south.  Currently he is at Armory Avenue.  Depending on the number of trees on campus, he could be done by the end of September.

  7. Update from Davey Tree

    Associated Project(s): 

    Here is an update on the progress of the tree inventory. Tree Count - 1,117


    I began on the north side of campus as we discussed in our kickoff meeting, and have started working south. I have completed most everything north of Green St. I will continue to work my way south next week. See attached file.

    Next week I will also start to do some data quality checks and will include some of that reporting in these update emails. If you have any questions, please let me know.

    Reid Gibson, Project Manager, Davey Resource Group, ISA Certified Arborist/Municipal Specialist, IL-5319AM ISA, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified

    Attached Files: 
  8. Campus Tree Inventory Recommendation - unit approval

    The ALUFS SWATeam recommended that F&S complete an update to the campus tree inventory.  This recommendation was supported by the iCAP Working Group, and the Campus Tree Advisory Committee.  During spring 2017, Director of iSEE Evan DeLucia and Interim Executive Director of F&S Helen Coleman both approved using Carbon Credit Sales funding to complete the inventory.  Campus Landscape Architect Brent Lewis will be responsible for initiating the inventory and working with Superintendent of Grounds Ryan Welch to oversee the progress.

    See iWG ALUFS002 Assessment.

    See SWATeam ALUFS002 Recommendation.

  9. Campus Tree Inventory Recommendation - assessment with comments

    The iCAP WOrking Group (iWG) met on February 23rd, 2017, to discuss and start the assessment of SWATeam recommendation ALUFS002 Campus Tree Inventory. Their official comment on this recommendation was:

    "The iCAP Working Group supports the use of the Carbon Credit funds for a tree inventory update."

    See attached the iWG assessment complete with official comments from all the iWG members.

    See SWATeam ALUFS002 Recommendation.

  10. ALUFS002 Campus Tree Inventory recommendation - Submittal

    The ALUFS SWATeam submitted a recommendation to the iWG stating, "Recommendation to support a new tree survey on the main campus.  This project would fund the purchase of GPS equipment and purchase the time of an arborist and assistants to do a full survey of all trees on the main campus property. This survey would then inserted into the larger campus GIS plans for use and analysis by F&S and others. With an estimated cost of $50,000, we recommend that the campus fund this project, possibly using revenue received from the sale of carbon credits. As an alternative delivery method to doing the work partially in house, an outside vendor could be contracted to do the survey and prepare and maintain a useable web-based database of our tree inventory and condition. Funding allocation for this alternative method would be similar, but net a slightly different set of useable benefits."

    See attached the SWATeam recommendation ALUFS002 Campus Tree Inventory complete with comments from all the ALUFS SWATeam members.

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