CU Boulder Celebrates Its Award Winning Trees

Every spring for the past 15 years, CU Boulder staff have been leading a free public tour of the trees on campus. The campus has also been named by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA for the ninth year in a row. KGNUs Katie Bursack spoke with CU Boulder’s Lead Arborist for Facilities Operations, Vince Aquino about the history of the trees on campus.


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The CU tree population has grown to nearly 5,000 trees representing more than 100 species from all over the world.

Aquino says that there are several factors that make the campus an ideal place to grow a variety of trees.

“For one thing we have a ditch right so that we’re able to irrigate. So we’re able to use water from that ditch right to be able to grow some things that maybe would be a little more difficult to grow non-native species on the campus.”

In addition there are several micro climates on the campus that allow the arborists to introduce different species. “We’ve got some unique opportunities to try stuff.”

Some of the mature trees are between 75 and 140 years old. Aquino says the oldest tree that they know of is the plains cottonwood tree that is just south of the Old Main building. “That tree is about 140 years old. We have a receipt from when (CU) President Sewall purchased a group of cottonwoods and planted those around the Old Main building when Old Main was basically the entire campus.”

The trees on campus make it a more pleasant place to be, but the campus forest has other effects says Aquino. “It has measurable effects in regulating temperature, maintaining air quality, captures a lot of dust and a lot of sediment in the air. Cools the air, cleans the air, just makes the place more comfortable. Provides shelter from wind, provides shelter from sun and also captures a lot of storm-water, keeps it in the system.”





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