The Grounds staff at the University of Missouri–St. Louis recently completed the removal of more than a dozen moderate- to high-risk trees with contractor assistance using funds from a Tree Resource Improvement & Maintenance Grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The MDC makes TRIM grants available to public landowners each year, and UMSL has received approximately $28,000 in funding over the past three years.
The Grounds staff, led by Supervisor Gregory Ward, used its funding the first year to inventory each of the approximately 2,400 trees growing among UMSL buildings. In the process they introduced an inventory management software to allow members of the campus community to identify trees on campus as well as opening up opportunities for student-led research.
Funding the past two years has been spent on maintenance of the trees, which are an asset to the aesthetics of the campus and also help in the removal of particulate matter from the environment.
Several of the trees that were removed had more than 100 annual growth rings and would have been planted in the early 1920s, when Bellerive Country Club occupied the land that is now North Campus.
Ward expects approximately 15 trees will need to be removed each of the next two years before his team has addressed all high to moderate risk trees on campus.
Once that work is completed, Ward plans to direct the grant money to begin focusing on removals of invasive tree species as well as arboriculture conservation practices for mature specimens, including air spading for root compaction, structural pruning, cavity and decay assessments using tomography or resistograph, and for cabling and lighting protection.