Arboretum and Landscape Committee
Annual Report: 1991-1992
The absence of the chairman on "chair leave" for the first semester of the current year makes
it possible for him to praise unreservedly the work of the Committee during that period. Having set
four major goals, the Committee under Ms. Takahashi's leadership accomplished significant progress
on all of them:
Tree Replacement. In recent years the Committee has tried to hold the line on tree
replacement, arguing that it is the responsibility of Facilities Management to fund this aspect of
grounds' maintenance, while the limited funds available to the Committee should be spent on major
landscaping initiatives. However, in view of the recent losses of significant numbers of trees in
important locations, the Committee has assigned a high priority to replacements, and has provided
matching funds of $5,000 to Facilities Management for 27 critical replacements.
Testing Materials for Ground Cover. A continuing problem on Grounds has been the
treatment of slopes that are too steep to be safely mowed. In an effort to discover which plants are
suitable for ground cover in difficult sites, the Committee has authorized the expenditure of $5,000
for six test plots in various sunny or shady spots where the slopes are critical. We hope to find some
definitive answers for treating these slopes.
The Emmet Street Corridor. Having determined to improve the northern approaches to the
University, the Committee worked with Mr. Leback to prepare a proposal to the Virginia Department
of Forestry for funds to landscape the Emmet Street corridor. The proposal was successful, and the
result has been an extensive landscaping renovation and planting in the neighborhood of University
Hall. Matching funds from the Committee were the key to success on this project.
The University Avenue Gateway. Also underway is a similar cooperative project for the
western part of University Avenue. We have recently heard that the proposal to the Virginia
Department of Forestry has been successful. Landscaping and planing will proceed next fall, in
conjunction with the project by the Intramural Department to light the Carr's Hill Field.
Observatory Hill Dining Hall. Another major project now nearing completion is the
renovation of the wooded area north of the O'Hill Dining Hall. The site was left in a disgraceful
condition by the contractors for the addition to the dining hall, a circumstance that has led, we hope,
to a significant improvement in the oversight of construction projects on the Grounds. The project
includes the removal of old debris from the construction, installation of new walks, removal of dead
and dying trees, and the addition of new plantings. The Committee has allocated $10,000 in matching
funds toward this project.
In addition to its work on these major projects the Committee has reviewed plans for many
others, both large and small. Among them are:
1. Landscaping, Newcomb Hall addition.
2. Landscaping and light standards, soccer stadium.
3. Redesign, McIntire Amphitheater.
4. Screening for nitrogen tank at Thornton Hall.
5. Siting for parking deck, West Scott Stadium.
6. Landscaping, Bemiss House.
7. Landscaping, Dawson's Row.
8. Parking lot design, Department of Mineral Resources.
9. Signage for Garrett Hall.
10. Landscaping, intramural superfield.
11. Locations for additional dumpsters.
12. Landscaping and run-off control, Miller Center.
13. Sidewalk for Culbreth Road.
14. Design of fence for hospital helipad.
15. Landscaping, Lane Road relocation.
16. Tree wells, Monroe-Newcomb Plaza.
17. Bollards for Gilmer Terrace.
18. Siting for temporary air conditioner, Randall Hall.
19. Landscaping, Chemical Engineering Laboratory.
20. Planting, Blue Ridge Child Care Center.
21. Design of retention pond, Gilmer Field.
22. Landscaping, addition to N. Grounds Recreation Center.
23. Landscaping, addition to Slaughter Recreation Center.
24. Design of plaza for Newcomb Hall and the new bookstore.
25. Replacement of boxwoods on the Lawn.
26. Street trees for McCormick Road at Monroe Hill.
27. Plantings for Newcomb Road.
28. Master Plan for bicycle routes.
On the recommendation of the Committee, the President planted on Founder's Day a memorial
tree in honor of Mr. William Odum, a long-time member of the Committee. It is a Tulip Tree
(Liriodendron tulipifera), located on the west side of Clarke Hall. In addition the Committee
approved the planting of a memorial tree, a Red Maple (Acer rubrum), for Prof. Charles E. Echols
in one of the courtyards at Thornton Hall. During the year one of the memorial trees, the Japanese
Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) dedicated to Prof. Edwin Betts, was lost in a windstorm. The
Committee plans to replace this unique tree as soon as possible.
On May 6th the Committee carried out its annual inspection of the Blandy Experimental Farm
and Orland E. White arboretum. We are pleased to report that the program there is proceeding well.
A recent visiting committee of botanical specialists representing the Institute of Museum Services
Conservation Project has confirmed that some of the specimens in the arboretum are of exceptional
quality and value, especially the collection of Maples and the exotic evergreens. There are a number
of quite rare species such as Grewia biloba, Stewartia serrata, and Stewartia koreana. The specimen
of Quercus variabilis may possibly be the largest of that species in the world.
Unfortunately the construction of the new entrance driveway has been delayed, but it may well
be completed this summer. The plans for the outdoor theater are complete, but funding is not yet
assured. The Committee was especially glad to see that the naming of specimens in the arboretum
is proceeding at a steady pace.
Among the residual problems that the Committee must continue to deal with, the most
important is probably the condition of the Lawn. Of the various available options, the Committee
believes that the best approach at present is to continue the campaign of public education, backed up
by discreet signage and increased enforcement. The next stage may well be to consider the
recommendation of the EDAW study, i.e. to lay down diagonal walks on the south Lawn.
Among the future plans that are under development by the Committee are ones dealing with
the precipitous slope dropping from the Math-Astronomy Building to Emmet Street and Jefferson
Park Avenue. We hope to be able to get matching funds from the Department of Forestry to solve
this long-standing landscaping problem. Also, negotiations are under way with the Class of 1989,
who intend to use some of the funds in their class gift to help complete the design of the Monroe-Newconb Plaza. We hope to be able to finish the landscaping of the north face of Monroe Hill.
Finally, the Committee will continue to meet at irregular intervals this summer to take care
of plans and problems as they arise.
J. J. Murray, Chairman