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White Oaks to Replace Unsafe Pin Oaks Coming Down On MU Quad


Five towering pin oak trees are being cut down on the MU Francis Quadrangle this week. 

The pin oaks were determined a safety hazard after a tree health and safety study, according to an MU news release Monday.

Pete Millier, MU director of landscape services and Mizzou Botanic Garden, said two limbs from the pin oaks facing the north side of Jesse Hall have dropped in the past 90 days.

"They could harm you even if you were wearing a hard hat," Millier said.

More than 20 pin oaks have been on and around the quad since the 1950s. They live between 80 and 100 years but need more acidic conditions than are found on the quad, according to Millier. The 15 other trees will have dead wood removed.

The pin oaks, which have pointed versus rounded leaves, will be replaced with as many as four white oaks upon recommendation from a tree commission.

The commission consists of "forestry and plant sciences faculty, MU Campus Facilities-Landscape Services staff, MU's master planner and tree-knowledgeable alumni and community citizens," according to the news release.

Millier said MU also contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation to confirm the tree replacement.

White oaks tolerate urban soils better than pin oaks and have a life span of up to 200 years, about double the life of pin oaks, according to Millier.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the university understands the emotional value of the trees but can't take the risk of someone getting hurt.

"The trees are old friends," Millier said. "But it's time for them to be replaced."

The tree replacement will be paid for by a fundraising campaign through the Mizzou Botanic Garden called The Legacy Oaks of the Francis Quadrangle.

The white oaks will be raised in a nursery then planted on the quad.