Five towering pin oak trees were cut down on the MU Francis Quadrangle this summer.

The pin oaks were determined to be a safety hazard after a recent tree health and safety study, according to an MU news release Monday.

Pete Millier, MU director of campus facilities-landscape services and the Mizzou Botanic Garden, said two limbs from the pin oaks facing the north side of Jesse Hall dropped in the past few months.

“They could harm you even if you were wearing a hard hat,” Millier said.

More than 20 pin oaks have been planted on and around the quad since the 1950s. They live between 80 and 100 years but need more acidic conditions than are found on the quad, according to Millier.

The root systems of the pin oaks have become less stable over time because of an irrigation system installed years ago to keep the turf green and healthy, according to a release posted on the Mizzou Botanic Garden website

The 15 other trees will have any dead wood removed.

The pin oaks, which have pointed rather than rounded leaves, will be replaced with as many as four white oaks upon recommendation from a tree commission.

The commission consists of “forestry and plant sciences faculty, MU Campus Facilities-Landscape Services staff, MU’s master planner and tree-knowledgeable alumni and community citizens,” according to the news release.

Millier said MU also consulted with the Missouri Department of Conservation on the tree replacement.

White oaks tolerate urban soils better than pin oaks and have a life span of up to 200 years, about double the life of pin oaks, Millier said.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the university understands the emotional value of the trees but can’t take the risk of someone getting hurt.

“The trees are old friends,” Millier said. “But it’s time for them to be replaced.”

A fundraising campaign through the Mizzou Botanic Garden called The Legacy Oaks of the Francis Quadrangle will pay for the tree replacement.

The white oaks will be raised in a nursery, then planted on the quad.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey:, 882-2632.

  • I am a summer 2018 general assignment reporter. I'm a senior studying convergence journalism. You can reach me at (636) 373-2480 or

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