The Indiana State University campus is a little shadier these days thanks to the recent planting of dozens of trees.
Ranging from 25-foot tall Siena Glen maple and American elms to smaller Canada chokecherry and tulip trees, about 45 trees were transplanted from university-owned tree farms to replace some of the more than 100 ash trees that have succumbed to the emerald ash borer in recent years.
About 2,500 trees adorn the Indiana State campus, helping secure it's designation as a Tree Campus USA from the Arbor Day Foundation. The transplanted trees came from three of 15 tree farms the university maintains on Terre Haute's Central East and Near North sides.
"We have surplus properties to maintain and planting tree farms is the best use of these properties," said Stephanie Krull, landscape and grounds manager. "Lots used for tree farms require less maintenance because grass grows slower in the shade, trees improve the appearance of a neighborhood and contribute to higher property values and cleaner air."
The university uses a tree spade to transplant trees because that method is healthier for trees than digging and wrapping them, Krull explained.
"Spade-transplanted trees are better for us because it is less stressful for the trees, allow us to choose from more varieties and provides greater flexibility in scheduling," she said. "This method also provides instant shade at a much lower cost than nursery trees."
The university has its own tree spade capable of handling trees up to 5 ½ inches in diameter, but the drought of 2012 put transplanting behind schedule. That means many recently transplanted trees were too large for the university's spade, requiring the use of a 90-inch spade from Bellinger'sTree Care in Lafayette.
Look for transplanting of trees to continue at Indiana State, which Krull estimates will lose another 100 ash trees to emerald ash borer in coming years. However, about 180 ash trees, including some impressive ones on the north side of Hulman Center, are thriving after being treated to protect against the threat.
The university has a good track record when it comes to transplanting. Krull said the past success rate has been between 85 and 90 percent.
In addition to maple, elm, tulip tree and chokecherry, other newly transplanted trees at Indiana State are yellowwood, various species of oak, Norway spruce, linden, serviceberry, and sweetgum.Krull stressed that sweetgum, which provide excellent shade but produce spiky balls that annoy pedestrians and can even lead to falls, are planted only in backlot areas.
Photo: https://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2015/Tree-Transplanting/i-fq4mGrD/0/X3/Tree%20transplanting-3245-X3.jpg - A tree spade from Bellinger's Tree Service in Lafayette transplants an oak tree outside Sandison and Hines halls on the Indiana State University campus Aug. 11, 2015. (ISU/Angelique Bokamba)