Historic elm loses battle with 'Mother Nature' and 'Father Time'

The mighty elm at the end of the double sidewalk in the upper quad, a landmark on the St. Paul campus, is estimated to have been 120 years old. It was a mere twig in the early years of the university, which was founded in 1885 – 121 years ago.

Historic elm loses battle with 'Mother Nature' and 'Father Time'

A St. Paul campus elm that might have been as old as the university had to be cut down this week.

The university's grounds and landscape manager, Robert Reed, said his staff had been trying for years to fend off disease and keep the tree alive. Reed said that as early as 1979, the tree was cabled to give its limbs some extra protection. Four years ago it exhibited signs of early Dutch elm disease, and staff had been treating it with chemicals and pruning to relieve any further stress that would have made it more susceptible to the disease.

High winds earlier this week caused one of its limbs to split, so staff called in the tree specialists at S & S Tree Service to take a look and remove the problem limb. Unfortunately, the arborist and grounds staff saw excessive deterioration inside the tree's trunk. The tree was damaged to the point where it was unstable and unsafe. So it had to come down.

Reed, who thought the tree was about 120 years old, said, "There definitely will be a large void in the center of this beautiful campus that we all will miss."