Traffic around Friendship Circle remains off limits


Ian Stewart

Friendship Oak with signage and tape surrounding it. The old oak is still undergoing preservation construction which will be affecting on campus traffic.

As the Spring 2023 semester begins, the Friendship Oak preservation initiative is ongoing, which means pedestrian travel in the area is still restricted due to tree maintenance projects meant to preserve its health. 

Bob’s Tree Preservation has been doing critical work to improve the soil conditions around Friendship Oak since December. The main areas of concern are the roots of the tree absorbing too much water, and the amount of foot traffic in the area. Grounds, Landscape and Recycling manager Carlos Doolittle explained the process needed to remove soil around the tree.  

“The work includes opening trenches with an AirSpade to install four French drains under the tree canopy. With the AirSpade, a biochar and compost product was blended into the root zone under the oak. The soil had become compacted by foot traffic while it was wet,” Doolittle said. 

Woodchippings were also installed around the tree which serve to improve the quality of the soil. Sod installation and the final grading process will be performed next month after new concrete has been poured. 

Parking spaces in the area will also be redesignated until the project is completed.

“Sidewalks have been rerouted to allow the lateral branches of Friendship Oak space to sprawl without conflicting with pedestrian traffic. Parking spaces on the south side of the tree have been reallocated to accommodate a new crosswalk location and to allow large vehicles to swing wide around tree branches that extend over the street,” Doolittle said.