In celebration of National Arbor Day, the grounds and landscaping department will be planting different kinds of trees around campus the week of April 23 through 27.
Alan Billau, the arboriculture supervisor for the department, said these plantings, which are open to everyone, are a good way to connect with the community.
“We like to support National Arbor Day and New Mexico Arbor Day...and we found that it's a really good way for us to make the community more aware of what we're doing, allow them to come out and ask questions, learn more about trees and why we're doing this and try to make a better campus because of it,” Billau said.
Billau said that the department will be planting 12 trees around the dorm area on Main Campus. The planting locations will include the Lomas Parking Structure, Vassar Park (right across from Lobo Gardens RED), the natatorium, Coronado Hall, the Alvarado dorms and the Lobo Gardens RED, which is located on Campus Boulevard.
The grounds and landscaping department is collaborating with the Lobo Gardens class on the last day — April 27 — to plant fruit trees.
The collaboration is part of an effort to add more fruit trees to campus and to work more with the Lobo Gardens, Billau said.
Christina Hoberg, the Lobo Gardens coordinator, said the three trees that will be planted by the Lobo Gardens RED will be a jujube, a persimmon and a pomegranate tree.
“I'm hoping that the students will learn about the basics of how to plant a tree and what the needs for them are,” Hoberg said. “By having the fruit trees, I'm hoping that they'll have opportunities for learning how to prune them correctly, how to harvest the fruit, how to use it and what's edible.”
Hoberg said she was excited for the possibilities that the tree planting will provide the garden, like being able to have a bigger area.
“For one, it's a lot (more) sunny of a spot than a lot of the fruit trees we have (in the garden now), so I think the fruit will grow better,” Hoberg said. “I also think that this space is going to be more welcoming to a lot of the university and passerbys who maybe can't see our garden as well right here. This going to be a good way to invite people to this space.”
The Lobo Gardens is not the only place getting fruit trees, Billau said.
“We're doing a couple fruit or habitat trees, (and then) a couple serviceberries at Alvarado,” Billau said. “We're going to do some shade trees at the parking structure and the natatorium. Just about everywhere else is shade trees because of the benefits they provide. We're trying to get those where people will appreciate the shade.”
Each tree planted will be a tree in a container rather than a tree seed, Billau said.
“The ones we're putting at Lobo Gardens are basically 15-gallon-container-sized trees,” he said. “They should actually get a real good start being that size already.”
According to UNM’s webpage, “On-Campus Attractions,” UNM is officially considered an arboretum. Billau said that the upcoming tree-plantings will allow for expansion in terms of species included in the arboretum.
“There's going to be one new species — the persimmons — and we're actually planting two persimmons,” Billau said. “One's going to be across the street (from Lobo Gardens RED), and it will be close enough to pollinate between the (one in Lobo Gardens RED). So those two are going to be new species. We do have an existing jujube and some pomegranates, but very few, so we're trying to get a few more.”
Other new additions to UNM’s grounds will include: a city sprite zelkova, a common hackberry, a Texas red oak and three frontier elms.
Billau said he hopes the tree planting will bring greater appreciation for UNM’s tree canopy.
Ariel Lutnesky is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ArielLutnesky.