The recent windstorm sent trees falling all around Whitworth, especially in the Loop.
Whitworth is ranked 20th in beauty for Christian campuses across the globe, according to Christian Universities Online. The campus has a grounds crew that helps maintain this standard through upkeep of the campus.
However, the unnatural growing conditions associated with this upkeep may have altered how the trees grow.
Some trees may have needed to be removed but were kept for their beauty. Others didn’t grow the way they needed to because of the sandy soil underneath much of Whitworth, university arborist Will Mellott said.
“Because of the soil, the trees’ roots can’t grow down, but have to grow out to reach water,” Mellott said. “This means that the roots are shallower and don’t provide as much support.”
Normally roots can extend out in equal proportion to the tree’s height in order to reach these nutrients. Because of the proximity of the trees they begin grafting which causes them to fall together, Mellott said.
Last year Whitworth experienced two small storms that uplifted almost 100 trees on campus. Because those trees fell, it left previously protected trees open to nature’s forces, Mellott said. Many of the trees that fell last summer had grafted roots, which caused them to fall in groups.
Mellott attributes the amount of trees that fell this year to the fact that this protection was gone.
It was those combined forces, along with the force of mother nature that ultimately caused the trees to fall.
“It is a combination of a bunch of factors, “ Mellott said. “Part of it is an action of God. Everything on this earth evolves and dies, and this is the way that the trees followed this course.”
Instead of looking at the destruction, he urges students to examine the future.
“This is an evolving landscape. As caretakers for God we are called to watch over them, but we can’t worship the creation,” Mellott said. “Just because the trees fell, doesn’t mean our responsibility to maintaining nature is over. Now we look to the future student and plant more other trees that do fit this system and follow the natural evolution.”
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