WSU rushes to restore trees across campus after windstorms

Lissete Landaverde

Weber State University canceled classes on all campuses on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 due to high winds that damaged buildings and trees, and left 150,000 Rocky Mountain customers without power.

As a result of the winds, 60 trees on campus were lost. Another 92 had damaged limbs, requiring they be trimmed and monitored so they are not entirely lost.

Employees were quick to respond, as the Facilities Management group had an “all hands” day of help on Sept. 9. According to WSU landscape manager Troy Bell, over 100 members were able to help with a large portion of the cleanup.

Despite the damages done to the trees and landscaping, it will not impact WSU’s status as a Tree Campus USA.

“We will definitely submit higher numbers in loss for the year, but also higher numbers in resources spent to maintain and improve our trees,” Bell said.

Some of the fallen trees will be replaced with identical tree species, but some will be changed.

Bell said while it is hard to plan for situations like this, there are still many things to consider when choosing what trees to plant around campus, such as the soil, color and size.

Weber State has been named a Tree Campus USA school for nine years in a row by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Every fall and spring semester there is a tree planting event in which both students and the community can participate.

Students and staff helped plant nine new trees during the fall 2019 tree planting event; however, the spring 2020 tree planning event was canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Bell praised his landscaping group’s work, particularly following the windstorm.

“They show up every day to create a safe and gorgeous place for us all to enjoy,” he said. “Their hard work, especially in stormy conditions like this, makes me proud to be a part of their group.”