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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 24, 2004

University To Replace Ginkgo Trees Near Old Capitol

The University of Iowa will replace four ginkgo trees in a courtyard on the UI Pentacrest this spring. The trees will be replaced as part of landscaping site restoration following a major utility project under way since last summer. The UI Campus Planning Committee approved the replacement at its February meeting. At least one of the trees to be replaced has been a source of controversy on campus in previous years because fruit-bearing ginkgo trees in the fall drop fruit whose odor offends many people.

The trees being replaced are located in the courtyard between Jessup and Macbride halls on the north side of Old Capitol. Two have already been removed to accommodate reconstruction of a utility tunnels and will be replaced with non-fruit-bearing ginkgo trees, says Bob Brooks, campus landscape architect with the UI Design and Construction Services. The other two trees in the courtyard are to be replaced at the same time, as recommended by an outside consultant and approved by the UI Campus Planning Committee. All four trees will be replaced with non-fruit-bearing ginkgo trees.

"We had to remove two of the trees, which were located very close to the excavations and would not have survived," Brooks says. "The consultant, who prepared our Pentacrest Master Plan in 1978, recommended replacing all four trees at once to maintain the visual continuity required in the plan. In addition, the one tree on the south side of the courtyard has some serious structural problems resulting from poor pruning practices many years ago and posed ongoing maintenance problems. The issue of the odorous fruit was a consideration, but was not the principle factor in the decision.

"The new trees will not be as large as the mature specimens in place now, but we are working with local nurseries to find replacement trees of significant caliber and height," Brooks added. He is in the process of acquiring the trees now. The two remaining trees will be removed and replaced in planting season this spring, Brooks says, most likely in May.

The Campus Planning Committee is a UI charter committee made up of 11 students, staff and faculty members that is charged with advising the UI president on issues concerning the physical campus, its facilities, its uses and its continued development.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Charles S. Drum, 319-384-0048, charles-drum@uiowa.edu;
Program: Bob Brooks, 319-335-3671, robert-j-brooks@uiowa.edu