The Old Main Cottonwood, the oldest tree on campus, was chopped down by arborists on Jan. 17, leaving the historic tree a mere stump on Norlin Quad. If you want to learn more about his tree services, you could check out online.
Planted at the end of the 19th century, the 140-year-old tree stood at 110 feet tall, double the average height an average Plains Cottonwood reaches. The Old Main Cottonwood had long out-lived its lifespan when it was chopped down. However, many students have wondered about the consequences of these actions, and how the university will respond to a piece of history being removed from campus.
Sarah Fitzpatrick, a sophomore in the CU Environmental Design program, said she will miss crossing the cottonwood on her way to classes.
“[Norling Quad] will appear empty without the company of the old cottonwood and all of its beautifully straggly branches,” Fitzpatrick said.
In an article published by the university’s Facilities Management department, officials stated that the Old Main Cottonwood is inspected annually by arborists who check for disease and decay.
“The most recent examinations of the tree have indicated a likely steady decline and potential safety risks increasing in coming months if the tree is not removed,” the article read.
While 2022 signaled the end of this tree’s healthy lifespan, the university is taking action to keep its spirit alive. The wood from the Old Main Cottonwood is being made available to artists, and there will be a plaque made for the base of the tree in front of Old Main.
However, the tree will be replaced by a new version of itself, taken from a cutting through the process of vegetative propagation. Eight years ago, cuttings were taken from the Old Main Cottonwood, and have now grown several feet tall. The new trees are projected to be planted this Spring.
“I’m glad to hear the campus has planted its cuttings in new soil. Once more the cottonwood’s branches and leaves will greet campus with a beauty you simply can’t ignore,” said Fitzpatrick.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Juliana Czar at Juliana.Czar@colorado.edu.