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TCU celebrates annual Texas Arbor Day by planting three new bur oaks on campus

Cecilia Le
Approximately 30 people attended the Texas Arbor Day celebration to help plant three new bur oaks outside Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center on Nov. 2. (Cecilia Le/Staff Writer)

TCU made more plans for the future Thursday morning with the planting of three bur oaks outside the Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center. 

The bur oaks were chosen for that spot because they will grow into large, long-living shade trees and will enhance the campus’s extensive tree canopy, Erik Trevino, the director of landscaping and grounds, said.

Katy Hardy, a first-year nutrition major, helped plant the bur oaks outside Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center for Texas Arbor Day Tree Planting on Nov. 2. (Cecilia Le/Staff Writer)

About 30 people attended the Texas Arbor Day celebration. Katy Hardy, a first-year nutrition major, helped plant the trees. She said she found it important to take care of the campus landscape and help bring life to campus.

TCU plants trees on Texas Arbor Day and National Arbor Day in an effort to diversify TCU’s urban forest. 

“We want to make sure we have a landscape that can withstand different diseases and different weather cycles,” Trevino said. 

The planting helps offset tree loss.

“We lose trees every year because of the heat, because of drought and because of winter damage,Trevino said. “During the winter storm of 2021, we lost all of our Indian hawthorns on campus because they couldn’t handle how cold it got… And so we just need to keep replanting them and trying to diversify the type of trees.”

With over 3,000 trees across its 302-acre campus, TCU was named a Tree Campus Higher Education Institution by the Arbor Day Foundation for the seventh consecutive year for promoting tree education, tree healthcare and tree plantings and recently received the Green Star Grand Award for mid-size university and college landscaping grounds by The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS).

Trevino estimated some of TCU’s live oaks are around 100 years old, but most are 60 to 100 years old. He said he wants to continue diversifying the tree population, promoting pollinator gardens and maintaining TCU’s beautiful landscape vision.

“Plants have lifespans; we have weather that kills plants, we have lots of foot traffic for events like football games, Christmas Tree lightings and concerts,” he said.

Trevino encouraged students to appreciate and acknowledge campus trees by taking photos with them over time.

“Go take a picture in front of a tree,” Trevino said. “Five, 10, 20 years later, come take another picture… You’ll see how a small tree grows into a mature shade tree over time.”

Erik Trevino, director of landscaping and grounds, led Texas Arbor Day Tree Planting on Nov. 2. (Cecilia Le/Staff Writer)

He said Arbor Day creates awareness of TCU’s beautiful tree canopy and engages the campus community on the importance of our trees and landscape.

The landscaping and grounds team includes several supervisors, each with a team of about 10 that is responsible for different sections of campus.

Their duties include mowing, picking up trash, clearing leaves, trimming and planting. 

Trevino said with their care and attention to what the landscape needs, the campus can remain beautiful even after obstacles like this past brutal summer. 

“I just found the most incredible group of guys here that care about their work and take pride in it,” Trevino said. “When you have a team made up of guys that have been here this long, you can tell that they buy into the culture of the university and they care about what’s here, not just for the short term, but for the long term.” 

Trevino attributed the recognition landscape’s beauty to his team.

Hector Rodriguez has been on the team for over 20 years. He said being recognized for his dedication to the campus landscape means his hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed and is appreciated. 

Trevino added, “After events like these, participants typically become more aware and appreciative of the trees around them.” 

National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, but Texas Arbor Day is celebrated on the first Friday of November when the weather is cooler.

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