Botanic Garden Says Good-bye to a Woody Friend

July 20, 2017:

An American elm tree between Washburn House and Neilson Library will be removed this week as part of the Neilson Library construction project.

While the tree has been slated for removal since the project’s beginning, Facilities Management, in close consultation with the college arborist and construction contractors, had hoped to salvage it.

“We knew that the chance of saving the tree was remote,” said Smith College Botanic Garden Director Tim Johnson. “Despite our planning, it became clear earlier this week that removal was the only viable option.”

The tree, which is estimated to be between 150 and 175 years old, sits between several underground utility lines being moved for the project. Johnson described the removal as a safety decision. “Trimming the roots for the utilities work significantly weakened the tree, posing an immediate danger of it falling,” he said.

Other trees, including the two heritage trees on Burton Lawn on the west side of Neilson, are unaffected. Protecting those trees will continue to be a priority for the Neilson project.

Lumber from the American Elm will be examined and considered for use in the Neilson project.

elm tree surrounded by construction