The circle of life means new trees for willowfilled space

The 64 large willow trees in Isaac Brock Circle had been a part of Brock University for half a century, but Grounds Services Manager John Dick knew the time had come for them to come down.“They’ve been in decline for a number of years. Willows have a lifespan of about 40 or 50 years and they’ve reached the end of their lives,” he said, pointing out that the original willows were planted 54 years ago.Over the past few years, a significant number of the dying willows were taken down, and this spring the remaining trees will also be felled and their stumps removed.The good news is that replanting of 64 new willow trees will happen this year. The new trees will be around six to eight feet tall when planted.“We have two good windows of opportunity — in the spring or in the fall. If it gets too late into the spring we’ll wait until the fall, but they will be planted by the end of this year,” Dick said.The original willows were planted in eight groups of eight trees. Dick believes the number 64 was not an accident and reflects Brock’s founding year of 1964. That pattern will be repeated, but the locations of the groupings will be shifted slightly to create more open vistas looking north to Schmon Tower and east/west toward the main entrance to campus.“That space is always going to be retained as part of the campus landscape. It’s a huge backbone of the original landscape and road system anchoring the campus mall north and south,” said Dick. “Now that there are more buildings on campus, the core is becoming more congested. This new configuration will really open up the views.”

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