Planting for the future

East end transformation will feature 350 new trees

Work has just begun on the Danforth Campus east end transformation. But already, architects, landscape architects and arborists are preparing to plant hundreds of new trees when construction wraps up in 2019.

“When the project is completed, the east end landscape plan will provide approximately 350 new trees, representing 32 different species,” said Kent Theiling, grounds manager and horticulturist for the Danforth Campus. The new trees will include six different varieties of oak, and 27 species native to Missouri.

Mike Rood is president and co-owner of Pea Ridge Forest in Hermann, Mo., where the majority of the trees are growing.

“The big thing is, having a diversity of plant material,” Rood explained. Monocultures are susceptible to pests, blights and other problems. “If something gets in, you lose everything.” A more diverse planting strategy “helps ensure that you’ll have something for the future.”

Forty-one young trees were moved from the east end construction zone to inner parts of campus. (Photo: James Byard/Washington University)

Theiling also noted that 41 young trees were moved from the construction zone to the inner campus. In addition, wood recyclers have milled approximately 10,000 board feet of oak, which are currently air-drying at Tyson Research Center. Though details still are taking shape, the wood eventually could be used to create benches or other east end projects — a symbolic connection between the new landscape and old.

When the transformation is completed, “I would hope that people appreciate the diversity and forethought that went into this,” Rood said. “And the years it took to make it all come together.

“When it’s go time, these 350 trees are going to have to be installed in pretty short order.”

Tree facts and figures
Trees currently on Danforth Campus: 3,800
Trees being cultivated for east end landscape: 350
Trees relocated to inner campus: 41
Trees harvested for milling: 25
Lumber harvested for future use: 10,000 board feet