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ISU Grounds crew sharpening their chainsaws and tree removal skills

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With the Emerald Ash Borer feasting on ash trees, the ISU Grounds Team has been busy this year clearing 118 trees damaged by these insects (and other causes) while planting 104 new ones.  Maintaining a green campus has been a long standing priority as evidenced by the Fell Arboretum designation. Removing trees can be a tricky situation based on the tree’s size and location.  Carefully assessing the natural lean of the tree is essential to mitigating the removal impact on nearby equipment, buildings and pedestrian areas. Most times, the team uses the bucket truck to first remove top sections of the tree and then work their way down.

Since the ISU Farm had three dead ash trees, it provided a great opportunity for 11 Grounds crew members to participate in a chainsaw safety refresher training course. Jay Hayek from the University of Illinois, who is also a safety and wood worker certified trainer, facilitated the daylong course. The team practiced chain maintenance and filing, the five step felling plan including cutting options, as well as a review of OSHA regulations.

The ISU Farm provided the perfect open area to practice the assessments and skills so the team can continue to safely remove trees from our more congested areas. The entire Grounds team, comprised of 19 people, does an incredible job of managing the ongoing and ever changing needs of our campus.  This team also serves as ambassadors of the university to anyone who is walking campus and needing assistance, ranging from prospective students/families to members of our larger community.  When you see them out, be sure to give them a friendly wave to show your appreciation for all they do.