Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is that a monkey in the tree?

I love working in the Environmental Horticulture department. I never know what I'm going to see. Yesterday, as I was going to a meeting in the main building across the street, there was Dr. Gilman with a hard hat on. Dr. Gilman is universally known as "the tree guy" so it's not unusual to see him under the canopies. Yesterday, though, I hear him yelling at the trees as I'm walking past! This is a little unusual. I took the time to stop and look and there's a student up in a tree - probably 30 feet up! Dr. Gilman is coaching him for a student arboriculture contest on tree climbing and using the opportunity to get some of the trees pruned around the building. The student was following Dr. Gilman's yelled directions on which branches to cut. There is apparently quite a bit of research that Dr. Gilman has done on tree pruning to help with tree health and hurricane preparation. It's pretty interesting stuff. I've seen Dr. Gilman blowing trees over with two airboat engines to simulate what different pruning techniques do to trees in hurricanes. That was cool. So, now I pay more attention to my trees at home and how we prune them. Remember, if you want to be more prepared for hurricane season, don't forget about your trees!

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