Elm trees re­turn­ing to UD Green

Project to re­store his­toric look of cam­pus cen­ter

Newark Post - - Front Page - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

Ma­jes­tic elm trees will soon re­turn to the Univer­sity of Delaware’s North Green, years af­ter most of the univer­sity’s orig­i­nal elm trees fell vic­tim to dis­ease.

The elms will re­place nine trees that were felled last month to al­low for the re­place­ment of steam lines un­der The Green.

“The re­moval of the trees was nec­es­sary to re­place the steam lines, but we are also view­ing this as an op­por­tu­nity to re­store his­tor­i­cal com­po­nents to cam­pus by us­ing an elm-dis­ease re­sis­tant cul­ti­var that will most closely re­sem­ble the Amer­i­can elm,” UD spokesman Peter Bothum said in an emailed state­ment.

Amer­i­can elms were a fo­cal point of the orig­i­nal lay­out of The Green – for­merly called The Mall – which was de­signed by land­scape ar­chi­tect Mar­ian Cof­fin in 1919. Though there were once more than 160 elms at UD, over the years, most had to be cut down due to Dutch elm dis­ease, which is trans­mit­ted by bee­tles.

The elms were re­placed with Ja­panese zelkova trees, which were thought to look sim­i­lar to the elms, but the re­sults were dis­ap­point­ing be­cause the zelko­vas did not cre­ate the arch­ing ef­fect most peo­ple as­so­ci­ate with the ex­pan­sive canopy of a large Amer­i­can elm, ac­cord­ing to Sue Wyn­d­ham, UD’s cur­rent land­scape plan­ner.

The cur­rent re­place­ment project be­gan in early June, and crews have closed off The Green be­tween Main Street and Delaware Av­enue, dug up most of the ground and cut down nine trees. Only two re­main­ing elms were saved.

UD will be re­plac­ing a failed steam line, and the project is slated to be fin­ished by late Au­gust, in time for stu­dents to move in.

Af­ter the steam line is in, work­ers will plant 14 to 16 Prince­ton elms, which are less sus­cep­ti­ble to dis­ease.

“The re­place­ment of these trees, how­ever, pro­vides a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to re­store the trees planted in this area to the orig­i­nal de­sign in­tent,” Wyn­d­ham said in a state­ment.

Still, though, re­turn­ing stu­dents used to see­ing tall trees pro­vid­ing shade on the North Green may find the scene jar­ring. The new trees will even­tu­ally grow up to 60 feet tall, but will take at least a decade to reach full height.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Work­ers in­stall new steam pipes un­der the Univer­sity of Delaware Green. Most of the ex­ist­ing trees had to be cut down to make way for the project, but they will be re­placed by elm trees.

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