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Spaces left by monumental TUSD trees to be filled
TUSD trees work
The removal of diseased elms in front of the TUSD offices has allowed for some work to be done on the land before new trees are planted. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

The spaces left by the immense American Elm trees in front of the Turlock Unified District Office, which were sentenced to removal due to disease, will soon be filled with new trees that will hopefully carry on the historical integrity of their antecedents. 

TUSD director of maintenance and operations Scott Richardson reports that he has been meeting regularly with Jay DeGraff, owner of The Greenery Nursery and Garden Shop, to decide on a proper layout and tree variety that will be going in place of the recently removed American Elm trees.

“There are a couple varieties that we are considering,” said Richardson. “Our goal is to keep the historical integrity of how the district building has always looked, but we also want to pick a tree that is disease resistant.”

Last year, TUSD made the decision to remove the 22 diseased American Elm trees, estimated to be around 50 years old, as a safety measure. In an inspection conducted by a certified arborist, the extent of the trees’ disease revealed they were  rotten, with most hollow and prone to breakage.

With the trees severely damaged, falling branches were causing potential harm to pedestrians or parked vehicles. One incident involved a 30-foot branch breaking off from one of the trees earlier this year, causing minor damage to the District office.

With the trees fully removed, the district is taking advantage of their absence by leveling the ground and fixing sprinklers. Richardson reports that new grass and trees are expected to be planted this spring, depending on the weather.

“Our goal has always been to maintain the historical integrity of the building, since it is a well-known landmark in the community,” said Richardson. “For that reason, we are not trying to change anything, just fixing a problem. We want to improve what we already have.”