Texas Tech University’s Operations Division, Grounds Maintenance and University Student Housing teams have come together to plant 300 new trees on campus.
Weather, age and expansion have all impacted the flora of campus, but the Operations Division is dedicated to restoring the beautiful landscape of Texas Tech University by planting 300 new trees before the end of the centennial year.
In recent years, the unprecedented freezing temperatures experienced in Lubbock have caused significant damage to several trees on campus, others have had to be relocated due to construction projects, and some are as old as the university itself and have reached their full life cycle.
But Associate Vice President for Operations Sean Childers said the Operations Division is committed to enhancing the landscaping on campus for all to enjoy for our next 100 years.
“The Operations Division will be focusing heavily on rejuvenating and replenishing not only what was lost, but also adding to the beautiful landscape around campus,” he said.
A tree planting of this size is not typical. According to Lance Rampy, associate managing director for Grounds Maintenance, in an average year, only 25 to 100 new trees are planted on campus.
“This is the first time I have seen something of this magnitude,” Rampy said. “I think it's a pretty lofty goal, but it's great for campus.”
Before planting began in March 2023, months of planning and preparation took place. In September 2022, Mike Quartaro, an arborist at Texas Tech, began searching for the perfect trees to bring to campus.
“We've had some hard winters and some of the nurseries have lost quite a few trees, making it hard to find the sizes and varieties you want,” Quartaro said.
During his search, Quartaro traveled to Stephenville, Texas, and Glen Flora, Texas, to locate the desired tree species for this project: Chinese Pistache, Cedar Elm, Red Oak, Redbud, Crepe Myrtle, Crabapple and more. All trees selected for the project are native to the area to ensure they thrive once planted.
After the trees were located and brought to Lubbock, a detailed tagging process took place. Quartaro examined the branch patterns of the trees and hand-selected those that would be planted.
Such a monumental effort has meant all hands on deck with members of University Student Housing getting involved as well.
According to Tanya Massey, senior managing director of housing at Texas Tech, her predecessor, Sean Duggan, noticed the loss of several trees after a freeze in 2019 and wanted to contribute to restoration efforts. Duggan retired in 2022, but Massey is committed to honoring his wishes to contribute to campus revitalization.
“He was very forward-thinking about giving back to the university,” Massey said. “He allocated $25,000 to go toward this tree replacement.”
With the $25,000 contribution from University Student Housing, 60 of the 300 trees will be planted around residence halls on campus. Massey hopes planting these trees will increase color and curb appeal, as well as make campus more welcoming and comfortable for students.
“This is our way to give back to the Texas Tech community,” said Massey. “Our students spend 90% of their time here on campus because they live here, they work here, they go to class. We want to make sure we are contributing to the campus culture.”
While all those involved in this project have high hopes for what the trees will bring to the campus, Childers especially hopes these enhancements will be enjoyed by members of the Texas Tech and Lubbock community for another 100 years.
“The Operations Division is committed to maintaining the utmost visually appealing and sustainable outdoor landscape,” Childers said. “This commitment is not only for appearance, but for the enjoyment and pleasure of both the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities, as well as our guests and visitors to campus for years to come.”