Facilities Management Relocates Trees Near OSH, Maintains Arboretum Status

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Facilities management is beginning the initial steps of the OSH demolition by relocating trees near the building.

Shireen Ghorbani, facilities management spokesperson, said 18 of the newer, smaller trees have been moved, while the relocation process for the larger, older ones will continue over the next couple of months. Sidewalks may occasionally be blocked for short periods of time, but Ghorbani said there will be no real disruption of pedestrian traffic.

Before a tree can be moved, facilities management must look at the health and viability of the tree and find a suitable location for it to be replanted. Ghorbani said the goal is to find an environment that is similar to the one the trees are currently in. Exposure to daylight, possibilities for future construction at the replanting site, and possible underground utility lines are all factors to consider.

Although Ghorbani was not sure of an exact cost, she said relocation is expensive and difficult. However, she also said it is part of the U’s “commitment as a state arboretum, and as a campus, to make sure we are good stewards of this space.”

The last major tree relocation that occurred at the U was in the 1990s during the expansion of the Marriott Library, and the process cost about $90,000. Even so, only about 50 percent of the trees survived.

Marita Tewes Tyrolt, horticulture director at Red Butte Gardens, said they might see similar costs for this project. She said large, old trees are especially vulnerable to movement and require a large piece of machinery to remove roots and some of the surrounding soil.

Facilities management reported it will not be moving some of the incense cedar and false cypress trees because of their condition, age and size. The only rare magnolia tree on campus will be relocated.

Ghorbani said the process has been slightly delayed due to the recent rain and snow.

Grounds and Open Spaces supervisor Sue Pope said the U has approximately 10,000 trees on campus, all of which have been appraised and given a monetary value. Pope said the current relocation could be appraised in the $2000-$3000 range or higher. The process is a bit of a gamble because the risk of damage could cost about $600 to move. However, Pope said she thinks the cool, wet weather may give the trees a better chance to live than during the Marriott Library relocation.

n.venugopal@dailyutahchronicle.com

@NikiVenugopal

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