By AVA WELSH
Multiple trees were cut down and pruned on UHS campus during the course of spring break. Trees were chosen due to the threats they posed, ranging from diseased trees to threats to cement foundation.
“What we were told as to how specific trees were chosen, there’s a couple reasons,” said Ms. Connie Park (Assist. Principal). “One was if the roots were interfering with the foundation, like the one pulling up the pillars in front of admin. Also if the tree was unhealthy in any way, or if there was a structural issue it was taken out.”
Annual maintenance of trees on campus have always taken place, for safety reasons and for the health of the trees themselves. Such maintenance includes pruning the trees in attempt to lessen the weight of leaves on the branches. Branches that are too weighed down by leaves pose a threat to both students and faculty, causing a potential for falling branches as well as more work for custodial staff with an excess of leaves falling down.
“We do a tree walk through every year and this school didn’t have any tree trimming for four years. The whole process of taking the trees down took three days,” said Mr. Raul Manriquez (Head Custodian). “Maintenance is usual. It’s to prevent branches from falling due to excessive weight. It’s healthy for them to get trimmed every year, so it was well needed.”
“One of the challenges in California is that a lot of our groundwater is right under the surface, so that’s where the roots grow, which is how we get the uneven blacktop areas. Some of the blacktop and cement work they did over break was to fix some of those problems,” said Dr. Kevin Astor (Principal). “For the most part it was trees that were already causing damage or on their way to causing damage to the blacktop and cement area that were chosen for removal.”
UHS has been moving more towards water saving trees, and conservation efforts will continue as the administration plans to replace some of the trees taken down with water saving trees like palm.
Manriquez said, “The one taken out in front of 223 will most likely be placed with a palm tree. The school is going to a different way of water saving, palm is very good for that. We lose a tree, we plant a tree.”
However, taking down these trees has raised questions from the student body as well.
“I was pretty surprised that the trees were taken down without any announcement, it’s hotter atop the Latin Hill without the shade from the tree,” said Michelle Young (Jr.). “I like the idea of a palm tree going there, but it won’t offer as much shade as the old tree.”
Not only has the loss of the Latin hill tree- among others- affected students, but faculty as well.
“That tree’s been a part of my day’s and JCL [Junior Council League] events here on campus for thirty years, and it will definitely be missed,” said Mr. Josh Davis (World Language Dept.). “However I understand the need to remove the tree, and look forward to the new one that will be taking it’s place as well as the places of the other trees removed around campus.”