Southeastern's Friendship Oak undergoing treatment

Monday, February 22, 2016 Friendship Oak
by: Rene Abadie

FRIENDSHIP OAK UNDERGOES TREATMENT – A longtime symbol of Southeastern Louisiana University, Friendship Oak, is undergoing an extensive checkup and treatment plan designed to preserve it for years to come. The tree is listed as a member of the Live Oak Society of the Louisiana Garden Club Federation.

     HAMMOND – Friendship Oak, the iconic symbol of Southeastern Louisiana University that has graced the campus for its 90 years of existence, is undergoing an extensive checkup and treatment plan intended to preserve it for years to come.
    This month, the massive live oak tree – located at the North Oak Street entrance end of Friendship Circle – is receiving tree preservation treatment to include pruning of dead wood, fertilization, systemic insecticide applications and other work,” said Carlos Doolittle, who supervises landscape, grounds and recycling at Southeastern. The work is being handled by licensed arborists with Biggz Tree Care of Baton Rouge.
    “In order to do some of this work, we needed to remove the decking that surrounded the tree because it covered a crucial root area,” Doolittle said. “The decking will not be replaced at this time. We’re also reminding visitors and others that climbing on the tree or its ground-level branches is not allowed because doing so can cause damage. ”
    Friendship Oak is one of 23-named live oaks on the campus listed as members of the Live Oak Society of the Louisiana Garden Club Federation. The tree has long been a meeting area for students, especially in the earlier years of the Southeastern’s history when it was near the original student union and before that when its branches sheltered the “pop stand” where students could get cold drinks and snacks. A long-held tradition claims that couples who kiss under the tree are destined to marry.
    Doolittle said trees on campus are continually assessed for tree health and campus safety, which sometimes results in the removal of those that are declining or posing a safety hazard.
    He added that Southeastern continues to actively plant trees to maintain the traditional beauty of the campus. In the Student Union Park and nearby landscapes, 46 new shade trees and 20 ornamental landscape trees will soon be planted, thanks in part to a grant from the Student Government Association.

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