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The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

SLU community gathers for Friendship Oak

The+area+around+Friendship+Oak+recieved+protective+additions+to+ensure+the+restoration+process.+
Ian Stewart
The area around Friendship Oak recieved protective additions to ensure the restoration process.
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On Monday, May 20, Southeastern’s Physical Plant hosted a community meeting in the Tinsley Student Lounge. 

The meeting was led by Assistant Director of Physical Landscape and Grounds Carlos Doolittle, who discussed the current status of the project to preserve Friendship Oak and the history of the tree’s legacy on campus. 

He described the measures taken in the past and in recent years to maintain the tree’s health, which include expanding the green space in the area by removing inner parking around the area, installing irrigation and removing recently installed asphalt. 

In recent years, the area has begun to gradually shift and take in more moisture in the soil. This shift and its effects impacting the health of the tree prompted the start of the preservation project. 

“In 2015, we decided to do a preservation project. Biggz Tree Service out of Baton Rouge performed the work and there were several things that were done at that time. The deck was removed due to arborist recommendations that even though the deck was providing a benefit, it was keeping the organic forest floor from happening,” Doolittle said. 

Doolittle credits consulting arborist Dr. Malcolm Guidry with providing recommendations for the preservation process in 2022. Measures to remove excess water from the tree’s roots involved using an AirSpade to blow compressed air to open trenches without damaging the roots. Bark fines or composted pine park and wood chips were added to the soil to provide more organic material. 

The sidewalks around the tree were moved away to allow the tree’s laterals to grow and bollards were added to prevent foot traffic. During last summer, dry spots were given water from sprinklers without oversaturating the entire area. 

Doolittle said he appreciated the cooperation from the campus community in respecting these new boundaries. 

Despite the appearance of dead limbs, Doolittle said that these aren’t signs of a tree dying from disease, but one that is fighting to live and overcome obstacles. He assured the community that the Physical Plant will continue to assist Friendship Oak in its efforts to survive. 

Meeting attendee Alumni Athletic Coordinator Larry Hymel said he felt the presentation gave the community an optimistic view of Friendship Oak’s future. 

“Carlos did a fantastic job outlining the history and really examining what’s going into preserving Friendship Oak and he left it with a lot of hope. A lot of us who have been around for a long time have some hope now,” Hymel said.

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About the Contributor
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart, Opinions Editor
Ian Stewart is a creative writing major and serves as the opinions editor. He has worked on the newspaper staff since the Fall of 2021. Ian is a native of Baton Rouge. He enjoys fiction writing, video games and watching new movies. After graduating, Ian hopes to be a fiction writer.
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