Gone With The Wind Heritage tree feLLEd following HURRICANE damage

A large scarlet oak tree that stood outside of Garrett Hall was felled on Nov. 25 after suffering damage during Hurricane Matthew.

The tree, which was already being monitored for decay, increased its lean by about 10 percent during the storm and had become a risk to campus safety.

• The scarlet oak was one of about 15 trees on ECU’s campus that are considered heritage trees. The label is used for trees of significant value due to their age, species and relationship to the campus. Some were present at the time of the college’s original charter and can be seen in archival photographs.

• Estimated age: 100 years.

• Height: 60 feet

¬ “The trees on our campus play an important role in the health and welfare of our campus community. The amount of shade and beauty cannot be measured in dollars but in the joy and satisfaction we get from having these trees around. Visitors to our campus can often be overheard remarking on the beauty of our campus when compared to others in the UNC system." – Gene Stano, grounds supervisor and arborist

• As the tree grew, the nearby driveway and curbing limited its ability to support itself. Decay was present in the roots and trunk, and it is suspected to have been hit by lightning at some point.

• Grounds supervisor Gene Stano and a private arborist evaluated the condition of the tree, which was starting to lift the adjacent asphalt. There was also a crack developing at the base of the tree connecting with an old wound.

• The art department will use wood from the tree for sculpture carving and to fire the kilns. Some was taken to Sam Jones BBQ for the smokehouse, and the remainder will be used for lumber or ground into mulch.

¬ “Matthew was the final push for this tree, but there were other issues that played into its decline.” – Gene Stano, grounds supervisor

• At least three trees will be planted on campus, one of which will be near the same location where the scarlet oak stood, in order to eventually help replace the canopy and other benefits of the old tree.

• ECU is in the process of becoming a Tree Campus USA site through the Arbor Day Foundation.

Created By
Jules Norwood
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Photos and video by Cliff Hollis

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