Adams State plans removal of at-risk campus trees

(12-22-2014)

In accordance with recommendations from a Tree Risk Assessment recently conducted by the Colorado State Forest Service, Adams State University plans to remove 13 high-risk trees from its south campus, according the Bill Mansheim, vice president for Finance & Governmental Relations. He said the tree removal will take place in early January, prior to the start of the spring semester, Jan. 19.

Under the direction of Adam Moore, Alamosa District Forester, the risk assessment evaluated 173 trees with diameters of 18 inches or more located on the university's south campus, between First St. and Hwy. 160, and Edgemont and Richardson Ave.

The Forest Service assessment recommended 13 very high-risk trees be removed. Two of these are located along Hwy. 160, one is near Richardson Ave., and the remainder are located along the central campus sidewalk.

Mansheim said the assessment was undertaken this fall following the "failure" over the summer of an over-mature and declining cottonwood as the result of root rot and associated rot at the base and through the main stem of the tree.

The report defines a risk tree as one "that has some structural defect or location that increases the probability of failing and hitting an identified target." Defects may include large cracks, areas of decay, dead and broken limbs, and mushrooms or conk evidence on the bark or cavities. Overcrowdinig also places trees at risk.

The report identified 11 additional trees at high risk, and 117 at moderate risk. These will undergo crown cleaning, which involves selective removal of dead, diseased, broken or weakly attached branches from a tree crown. This removes larger deadwood, reduces weight on branch ends, and removes other defective parts of trees that could impact people and property.

Mansheim said most of the work will be done by university Facilities staff, with some tree removal outsourced to specialists at an approximate cost of $3,000.

By Julie Waechter