As a land-grant institution, West Virginia University is committed to ensuring a more sustainable future for our students, faculty, staff and citizens of our state by engaging our campus community in meeting WVU’s environmental and conservation goals.
These efforts include the work we are doing to effectively manage the urban forest areas across our campuses. However, in addition to tree planting initiatives and caring for existing trees on campus, effective urban forest management also involves the removal of trees when they become a potential safety hazard to our campus community.
The Office of Sustainability and Facilities and Services recently partnered with a third-party expert in tree care and conservation to assess the health and potential safety risks of several trees in high-traffic areas across our Morgantown campus.
The study evaluated seven historic trees near University Ave., including:
The sugar maple on the eastern side of Chitwood Hall.
The American sycamore on the eastern side of Martin Hall.
The American sycamore in front of Elizabeth Moore Hall.
The American elm between Martin Hall and Elizabeth Moore Hall.
The American sycamore beside Martin Hall.
The red oak between Elizabeth Moore Hall and Purinton House.
The sweetgum on the southside of Purinton House.
In the mid-1960s, the University began taking remediation steps to prolong the life of several historic trees across our campus. However, many of our trees have succumbed to old age, weather and insect damage and currently are in a state of disrepair.
The study determined five of the seven trees evaluated should be removed due to significant amounts of decay and potential safety risks to pedestrians, vehicles and historic buildings.
The trees slated for removal include the sugar maple on the eastern side of Chitwood Hall; the American elm between Martin Hall and Elizabeth Moore Hall; the American sycamore in front of Elizabeth Moore Hall; the red oak between Elizabeth Moore Hall and Purinton House; and the sweetgum on the southside of Purinton House.
The study also determined that two of the five trees (the sugar maple on the eastern side of Chitwood Hall and the red oak between Elizabeth Moore Hall and Purinton House) should be removed as soon as possible.
To minimize disruption to pedestrian and vehicular traffic along University Ave., we plan to remove these two trees during spring break (March 14 through March 22). We plan to remove the remaining three trees identified as potential safety risks later this year.
To honor these historic trees and other trees that have been removed across campus, the Facilities Management Roads and Grounds team is working with the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design on an urban wood program that will make products from the trees’ residual timber. The first batch of products should be available for purchase in the fall 2020 semester.
Further, several new trees recently were planted in proximity to the five historic trees slated for removal. In fact, while WVU removed 41 trees last year, we planted 51 new trees throughout 2019.
Watch an Inside WVU Today video explaining the process.
Visit the Office of Sustainability website for more information and to view FAQs. The site also includes WVU’s current tree inventory and information on how you can get involved with the University’s Tree Campus USA program.Contact us at email@example.com or 304-293-7916 with any questions. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest WVU sustainability news and information.