Aug 8, 2019 | Atlanta, GA
After a recent inventory and inspection, four campus oak trees were identified for removal due to a disease infestation called Hypoxylon canker. A water oak located in Harrison Square, a willow oak near the Van Leer building, and two additional willow oaks located on Ferst Drive will be removed before students return to campus on August 19. There will be no interruption in campus flow during removal.
Hypoxylon canker develops within the inner living bark of trees as seedlings. As the trees grow, the fungus continues to grow but does not enter the sap-wood. Certain types of stress, such as drought or other weather extremes, can activate the fungus and cause it to spread throughout the tree.
The trees are scheduled for removal in an effort to prevent the fungus from infesting surrounding trees. Other factors that contributed to the decision to remove them are the potential risks to the campus community such as personal injury, damage to property, or disruption of important activities. Because the trees are diseased, the wood will not be reused for projects or mulch but rather removed from campus to reduce further contamination of other trees.
Georgia Tech is committed to responsible urban forest management. As an inaugural signatory of the Tree Campus USA program, Tech has celebrated 11 years of Tree Campus USA certification. Georgia Tech is also a certified arboretum, providing a platform for the development of educational tools defining the performance of individual trees and the collective forest in the urban landscape. Tech’s dedicated three-man tree team employs a Tree Management/Care Plan, which inventories every tree on campus that is greater than 2 inches in diameter. This tracking system ensures that every tree removed is replaced, caliper to caliper. The four diseased oak trees will be replaced by the installation of hundreds of trees planned for the Eco-Commons surrounding The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, which is slated for completion in July 2020. For more information on Georgia Tech’s urban forest management practices, visit facilities.gatech.edu/landscaping.