Spring Tree Series with Mike Herrema: Tree Selection
Sometimes I get into kicks planting only native trees, but I think when working at a college campus we should be mindful of who the end audience is.
I was driving around my campus the last few days and I was surprised how well it looked. Cornerstone lends itself really well to spring, and for my part it doesn’t take a whole lot of actual work being done in the spring. Probably the biggest reason why the campus looks well is the abundance of flowering trees. There are Bradford pears, dogwoods, varieties of flowering crabapples, redbuds and magnolias. I have to admit that I would probably would have lacked the foresight to plant these trees, but the landscape architect and the former groundskeeper didn’t. While Bradford pears have weaker branch unions, and crabapples are incredible tough, they can be a pain to take care of the rest of the year. But what these trees do very well is flower around graduation, when everyone is on campus. From students, to parents, to grandparents and friends, these trees will help create a lasting impression of the beauty of the campus, so it’s probably worth putting up with the maintenance the rest of the year.
Sometimes I get into kicks planting only native trees, but I think when working at a college campus we should be mindful of who the end audience is. The majority of students just know if a tree looks good or not. Native trees are good and proper and should be planted on campus to promote diversity, but some thought should be given for visual interest for the students and visitors. Any flowering tree is beautiful in the spring. Fall color is important so planting the sugar maples and other trees that delivery rock star colors (I’m still not for Ginkgo trees no matter how great their color is; I’ve had too much trouble with females). For winter interest plant plenty of evergreens. These plantings are what students and visitors are going to remember the campus for.