Tree Restoration Project Continues in Spring Term

Carefully packaged trees, front loaders and piles of dirt lining the sidewalks of campus mark the next phase of a tree-planting project to restore damage caused by a snowstorm from last October. The storm felled several trees around campus, including elm trees that were over 20 years old. More than 50 trees had to be removed due to storm damage, according to Ron Johnson, Manager of Grounds and Capital Projects. The tree-planting project, which began in November, continued with its next phase on Monday. The project will replace a total of 42 Valley Forge Elms across various parts of campus, including the Great Lawn, Elm Arch Walkway, the Quads and perimeter areas around the Memorial Bell Tower. According to the Campaign for Andover website, $95,050 towards a goal of $150,000 has been raised in gifts and pledges to fund the project. In honor of its upcoming 55th Reunion this year, the Class of 1957 pledged $55,000 to restoration efforts, according to the Andover Gazette. Because of the generous donation, the Grounds Department was able to kick off the project in November by purchasing six mature elm trees that were planted in front of Samuel Phillips Hall. “We decided to start the renewal effort [in front of Sam Phil], since it is the site of Commencement and is an important focal point on campus,” wrote Johnson in an e-mail to The Phillipian. Donations by alumni from other classes also allowed the immediate response to the snowstorm. “Shortly after pictures of the storm destruction were seen on the [Andover] website, calls were received inquiring how alumns could help restore the campus trees,” Johnson wrote. The tree restoration project quickly became one of the top priorities of the Campus Beautification Committee. Johnson wrote, “Elm trees line campus walks and frame vistas and are an integral part of the campus design, so it was important to replace these trees.” The greatest concern about the project was the availability of high-quality trees, especially Valley Forge Elms. Because this variety is a new, disease-resistant American elm, many nurseries do not supply them, according to Johnson. Andover ultimately acquired trees for the project from different nurseries, including Halka Nurseries and the Millstone Township, both located in New Jersey. Because most of the planting sites are in open lawn areas, few locations will be closed off as construction areas. There should be limited disruption to pedestrian foot traffic, according to Johnson. A crew from Hartney-Greymont, a division of the Davey Tree Expert Company based in Needham, MA, is directing the tree-planting efforts. Planting will be completed by next week. Johnson wrote, “[Hartney-Greymont] has managed the campus elm tree program for the past 20 years, including dormant season pruning and programs to sustain the older elms from the deadly Dutch Elm Disease.” The Grounds Department also hopes to replant other areas of campus with different kinds of trees such as Red Maples, Sugar Maples and other flowering species. A different contractor will be coordinating this restoration effort, according to Johnson.