Trees cut down on Lowry Mall as part of beautification project

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 | 7:40 p.m. CDT
Nine tree trunks are left at Lowry Mall on Wednesday. According to Pete Millier, director of the Mizzou Botanic Garden, there are 11 trees in total to be replaced at Lowry Mall this fall or early winter.

COLUMBIA — As of Tuesday, 11 trees have been cut down on Lowry Mall as part of a beautification project.

Two of the trees were dead and were removed several months ago. The nine cut down Tuesday were unhealthy and contributing to what Pete Millier, director of the Mizzou Botanic Garden, described as a "disharmonious mismatch of trees."


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The red maple trees had succumbed to stress, soil depletion, leaf shedding and dieback — a condition in which a tree will prematurely die due to lack of replenishing resources.

"I don't know what they were thinking, planting these trees 12 or 15 years ago," Millier said. "They don't like heat or a lot of reflective light."

To make matters worse, upkeep for these particular trees was difficult in the type of planters used on Lowry Mall. 

"Imagine having a cup or a bowl and trying to grow a tree inside of it," Millier said. "There's a limit to how much they can grow."

The project will entail digging out and removing the remaining root masses in the planters, replacing the soil and planting bare root trees that can handle the climate. The project will cost a couple hundred dollars per tree. This time around, Millier hopes to plant trees that will be better suited to the location.

What's left of the maple stumps will be replaced with a tree variety known as a green vase zelkova, a large Japanese tree species. Another variety of the zelkova species, known as the green village zelkova, is located at the sidewalk connecting Jesse Hall and Hill Hall.

Karlan Seville, Campus Facilities communication manager, said landscapers will temporarily fill the empty planters with colorful foliage and plants until the new trees can be planted in the fall or early winter.

New black iron benches and trash cans as well as new plastic recycling receptacles similar to those in the Francis Quadrangle will be added to the mall as part of the project.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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Kevin Gamble July 19, 2012 | 12:14 p.m.

It's difficult to not see this as one head-scratcher followed by another - why not choose a local native tree species? There are plenty to choose from. The result would not only be beautiful and easier to care for (most likely using fewer resources to boot), but would help reflect the actual local ecology for the benefit of all students. This choice will presumably be "efficient", but evocative of nothing to do with this area or its history.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 19, 2012 | 4:36 p.m.

Kevin asks, "...why not choose a local native tree species?"

Probably because no Missouri native tree is adapted to that kind of environment. Take a look at the provided pic....a Missouri native tree generally will extend roots to approximately the same diameter as the crown. As the article says, "Imagine having a cup or a bowl and trying to grow a tree inside of it...There's a limit to how much they can grow."

Missouri native trees do not do well in cups/bowls.

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