Trees and Tribulations
When planting bushes, be sure they won’t block lights and surveillance cameras in a few years
Don’t get me wrong, I really like trees. They look nice, give us shade, and even remove carbon dioxide from the environment, replacing it with good breathable oxygen. Trees are really okay, although the types, numbers and locations where they are placed can create a deluge of unanticipated problems for the unprepared campus environment.
Consider this: Almost all trees look small and innocent when they are first planted. Just remember that they are going to grow. The small Ficus that would look right at home in the corner of your office will someday grow into a towering giant, with a canopy spreading out to 100 feet and beyond. At its full 20-year growth, it will have the potential to disrupt campus lighting, block video surveillance and decrease the nighttime feeling of safety. In the wrong areas, it could prevent the grass from growing by blocking sunlight.
To avoid problems with trees, it’s critical to know how big they will grow. Just make a Google or Bing image search of the proposed tree, using its common or Latin name. The search engine will produce Web sites that will have growth statistics and photos.
Next, remember that trees must live compatibly with lights and surveillance cameras. This can be worked out by having your architect create a campus drawing that shows the spread of each tree at full growth, along with the location of campus lights and video cameras.
Finally, remember that trees exist in three dimensional space. This means the full growth height of each tree must be factored in relation to the mounting height of lights and cameras.
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