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Tree removal operations to occur near Hillcrest Hall

From: The Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities

The Witness Oak - the very large white oak (tree ID QUAL-1249) near Hillcrest Hall - is approximately 300 years old. Throughout its life, the tree has seen many changes at Virginia Tech but its structural condition has suffered throughout those centuries.

Throughout spring and summer 2022, University Arborist Jamie King began assessment to determine if the tree’s health and structure suited further preservation. Upon first inspection, evidence of extensive internal decay was observed in the tree’s trunk leading to an in-depth evaluation of the tree's structure and a level three tree risk assessment was scheduled. Through the tree risk assessment, the tree’s condition and proximity to the public were evaluated for potential risk and strategies for risk reduction were considered after consulting widely with industry professionals. 

The University Arborist concluded the assessment and unfortunately, the tree must be removed - the advanced stage of decay and the tree’s location on the site prevent further preservation. Planning for this removal has begun with a goal of completion by fall semester student move-in. The wood from the tree will be utilized on campus for wildlife value.

This fall, new trees will be planted at Hillcrest Hall to replace this oak. These new trees will grow to witness campus events with the future Virginia Tech community.

Questions may be directed to Jamie King at campusarborist@vt.edu

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