Damaged Cathedral lawn tree will have to come down

Tree near CathedralOne of the stately American elm trees that line the Omicron Delta Kappa walkway between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Chapel will be cut down next week because of damage it sustained when two large branches broke off on May 20.

Andy Moran, senior manager of grounds, told a group touring the campus this week that an arborist inspected the tree after the branches fell on a windless day and has deemed it unsafe. The walkway is currently closed.

The breaks caused a 6-foot crack in the trunk and took out 50 percent of the tree’s leaders — the vertical stems at the top of the trunk. 

Moran said the tree, which he estimates is about 90 years old, is one they’ve paid special attention to maintaining over the years. When the lawn was redone between the Cathedral and chapel, one of the paramount concerns was saving that tree.

In 2018, the University’s Oakland campus set a goal of increasing tree canopy 50 percent by 2030. Last year, the Arbor Day Foundation certified the Oakland campus as a 2021 Tree Campus for the first time, in recognition of the University’s commitment to protecting and enhancing local tree canopy.

Read more about how Pitt cares for its trees on Pittwire.

— Susan Jones