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The Blue & Gray Press | December 10, 2018

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Students react to Double Drive holly tree maintenance trimming

Students react to Double Drive holly tree maintenance trimming


Staff Writer

Before spring break, a campus-wide email notified the UMW community that the holly trees on Double Drive were going to be trimmed, a promise that came to fruition just one week later. While the email explained the necessity of pruning, many students still do not like the holly trees’ new look. Other students, however, have expressed their acceptance of the short term sacrifice of campus beauty for the long term health of the plants.

Students, who have classes around the entrance of the university and at Combs Hall, did not like the recent changes on the holly trees.

Reem Amin, a senior accounting major, stated that the trees, “are ugly and that they [the trees] should be changed.” While she agreed that the tree trimmings are beneficial for the plant to grow healthy, she preferred how the holly trees were before instead of what it looks like currently.

Richard Blair, Director of Landscape and Grounds for the University of Mary Washington, explained why the holly trees needed to be trimmed down to their branches.

“The holly trees on Double Drive had exceeded the desired bounds,” said Blair. “They also were posing problems for people parking their cars and then not being able to open the car door.  Besides the aesthetic reasons, the hollies had not been pruned back hard for at least 12 years.”

Blair explained more specifically the health benefit for the hollies. “By pruning them back as hard as we did,” explained Blair, “it allows better sunlight penetration and air circulation to reach the interior of the tree and thus promotes healthier and balanced growth.”

Blair added that the trim, “also aids in the reduction of scale which we have been combatting for several years now.”

While most students don’t like having the holly trees getting trimmed and making its new appearance on campus “ugly” to the environment, few students seem to not be as upset as others.

Jacqueline Huppuch, a junior creative writing major, is one of these students.

“It was a bit of an eyesore, but knowing plants, trimming the branches is healthy for the plants so that way new branches can grow better.” said Huppuch.

Huppuch added that, “it’s better to trim the branches during the winter, so that when spring comes around, the holly trees becomes a fuller plant.” “It’s something that we [the students] should get used to, but it’s for the best.” she concluded.

She explains that her father would park around the trees and have a hard time trying to get out of his car, it was for the best and was glad that the branches are trimmed down.

Sophie Gringer, a senior accounting major, replied simply, “It’s just part of maintaining a tree,” when asked about the trees appearance.

Fortunately for everyone whether they appreciate the pruning or not, the effect of the trees is temporary and the email from Marty Morrison promises that “the hollies will look much better by Commencement, and they’ll be as good as new in time for Move-In Day.”