Thread: Green Space Style?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central Indiana

    Green Space Style?

    Now that my leading a protest against my university removing trees led to a bit of action, I find myself on a new faculty committee that will advise the university on green space management. That raises all sorts of questions about what kinds of green space we want and need, especially when limited space is considered.

    So, what do you all think about this matter? Should we try to create small, "natural" spaces? I am a strong proponent of native species and I think we've won that battle for the moment. But HOW to plant them and where remains unsettled. Rows of trees are boring, but there are those who want the space to be used and insist that it needs to be mowed. Others want as much "natural" space as possible--without mowing, no pruning, no even spacing between trees, and so on. I try to remind them that we will have to manage the space or we'll end up with nasty invasives. And the university has liability issues to consider as well. Can you believe that they are required to prune trees to a certain height so that students won't be able to climb them (or at least not as easily)? I guess some drunk college student somewhere climbed a tree and fell out and hurt himself.

    There are far too many issues to even begin listing here. But I am having to think some of these questions through. I am trying to walk the line between the naturalists who want a dense forest without any humans near it and the utilitarians who can't wait to have shaded concrete paths.

    Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    RE: Green Space Style?

    What about low maintenance deciduous patches with shade perinnials underneath. That would mean shade in the summer and sun in the winter. Put a Baldcypress or a Dawn Redwood in for me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central Indiana

    RE: Green Space Style?

    We're going to plant at least the following trees:

    Bur Oak
    Yellow Wood
    Sugar Maple
    Tulip Tree
    American Beech
    Black Gum
    Black Walnut
    Chinkapin Oak
    Shumard Oak
    Northern Red Oak
    Shingle Oak
    Cucumber Tree

    Most of those are replacing the trees that will be cut down.

    For the understory, we've already considered:

    Umbrella Magnolia

    Any other suggestions for the understory? This is the extremely southern edge of zone 5 (most zone 6 trees flourish here).

    Thanks for any help!

  4. #4

    RE: Green Space Style?

    'Sprawl, could you give us a sense of how much acreage you've got to work with? My campus has a huge amount of space (in excess of 2000 acres in addition to the area actually used). This has allowed a diversity of applications ranging from very-tame park-like regions all the way to completely wild zones. But this is a real luxury. Are you working with ten acres? A hundred?

    My own inclination is to have as much space as possible simply left alone. But I do recognize some very good arguments against this. I just think the benefits of truly wild spaces outweigh those arguments. On a university campus, you also do have a very real concern about security: Wild space provides the potential for a haven for people and activities that the U. can't tolerate.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    RE: Green Space Style?

    A good understory tree that may be hard to find would be Carolina Silverbell. Sounds like Rhododendrons might also like it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central Indiana

    RE: Green Space Style?

    We're talking super small here--our whole campus is only 150 acres or even less. We're an urban campus, with about 4,000 students. The space is a couple of acres. So, the ideal of having some truly natural space that is just left alone is out of the question. This has to be managed space. The space presently has 250 odd trees in it (208 in the area to be completely changed, plus some that will be left alone). We'll hopefully save 150 to 160 of the 208. So, we'll have mature trees. But we want to work with the little bit of new space to preserve species diversity and promote the native trees. The understory is the big question at the moment, especially since the university wants to mow.

    I'd like to have a list of understory trees to take to the meetings with me. With the mature trees and our present list, I think we're okay except for choosing the understory.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Waco, Tx

    RE: Green Space Style?

    Contact your state forest service. They may have a web-site. Someone there can probably help you. Ours in Texas is happy to help if you have questions.
    Notice you didn't have any conifers on your list. I'm not from Indiana but thought there would have been some species of pine or maybe eastern red cedar native to your area. I always enjoy the mix of deciduous with evergreens, especially in winter.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central Indiana

    RE: Green Space Style?

    I've gone through the DNR and talked to the county forester. If we had more space, we'd have plenty of help! The city also has a tree planting program.

    I'll add your idea about evergreens to the conversation--white pine and eastern red cedar are both natives and common around here. A lot of people don't care for the cedars, though. I just planted three myself--only to have a tree that thrives on neglect die on me! Drought . . . wait til next year . . .

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Waco, Tx

    RE: Green Space Style?

    You've probably already thought of this, but a nature trail or just a walking trail, could highlight certain species. It could be both relaxing and educational and fit into some wierd spaces not useful for much else. Also seen other places high-light creeks, etc as nature areas.
    My own pet peeve with parking lots is that they ought to be lined with trees. A shady parking spot on a hot day is always in demand.

  10. #10

    RE: Green Space Style?

    All of these are tolerant of shade and can grow in zone 5:

    Cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata)
    Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
    Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virgiana) to Zone 6a
    Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
    American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
    American hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
    Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina)
    Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) not native
    Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
    Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra)
    Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
    Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)
    Three-flower maple (Acer triflorum) not native
    American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
    Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla)
    European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) not native
    Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
    American Holly (Ilex opaca)
    Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

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