For the past six decades, majestic oaks have encircled the University of Missouri’s Francis Quadrangle, one of the most visited, photographed and cherished places on campus.
These oaks keep company with MU’s iconic Columns, all that remains of Academic Hall, destroyed by fire in 1892, and some of the University’s oldest and most attractive buildings, including Jesse Hall. The Francis Quadrangle is the site of the Tiger Walk, the annual tradition welcoming freshmen students to MU, and the Tiger Prowl, the annual senior send-off, events sponsored by the MU Alumni Association.
Planted 60 years ago, the remaining 15 of the original 26 pin oaks are sadly nearing the end of their natural lifespan of 70 to 90 years, somewhat foreshadowed by damage caused when an irrigation system was installed in the 1990’s.
Determined to be immediately hazardous to pedestrians and buildings, five of the mature oaks were removed in July 2018 and precarious limbs were removed from the remaining trees at that time. Prior to that, six had been removed, four of which fell prey to bacterial leaf spot.
Replacing the trees with varieties better adapted to current conditions on the Quad is a solution that will be neither easy nor inexpensive.
Landscape Services and the Mizzou Botanic Garden convened a group to advise the campus on procedural logistics and selection of replacement trees. The group advised removal of the pin oaks replacing them within two to three years with white oak species, which are better adapted to growing conditions on the Quad and Missouri in general.
The Mizzou Botanic Garden worked with Forrest Keeling Nursery in Elsberry, Missouri to supply replacement trees that will live for 100 to 200 years. Specimens are now growing on MU’s South Farm until they reach a moderate size and are ready to take their place as the Legacy Oaks on the Francis Quadrangle.
Help restore these beautiful oaks with a gift today!