Ohio Wesleyan University's Walnut Problem Essay

1806 words - 7 pages

Trees generally are not a bother to anyone. Most would even agree that they enhance the experience of being outdoors, because of their grand stature and natural beauty. But, what about the kinds of trees that cause problems? On Ohio Wesleyan University’s college campus, there are many black walnut trees. The problem is that the walnuts fall from the trees, creating multiple issues for the students. Jeff Ball and Jeff Meyer in The Prized Black Walnut, confirm these allegations by stating “Consider your landscape carefully before planting a black walnut. Some consider the shape unattractive and the nuts can cause a mess if they get underfoot--or under car tires.” Ohio Wesleyan has officially learned the hard way. My initial solution to eliminate this walnut problem is to remove the walnut trees from campus and replace them with another kind of tree that does not bear fruit. As a result, Ohio Wesleyan’s campus would be able to reap the benefits of a cleaner and safer campus for its students.
The walnut trees on campus can be found up against parking lots as well as along the sidewalk on the students’ way to class. These trees grow black walnuts. When these walnuts are hanging from the trees they are not an issue. But, when they fall multiple problems arise for students. The black walnuts that fall on the sidewalk break open or become weathered and become mushy, wet, black, and green blobs on the sidewalk. Because the college does not clean them up, students are forced to tip toe around them. In Native Trees of the Midwest, Sally S. Weeks, Harmon P. Weeks, Jr., and George R. Parker these walnuts are also referred to as problematic, “in terms of yard litter and staining” (278-79.) Therefore, they not only put students at risk of rolling an ankle by stepping on one. These walnuts can stain students’ clothing, just as the walnuts are staining our sidewalks. When students walk under the trees on their way to and from class, they run the risk of a black walnut falling from the tree above them and striking them, just as they have struck other students so far this year. However, the students are not the only thing put in harm’s way by the black walnut trees. Our students’ property is also at risk. Multiple people on campus have been fuming about how the walnuts dropping out of the trees have put dents in their vehicles. One my say to just not park under them to solve the problem, except they are planted all around the parking lots! They are unavoidable and serve no purpose on campus that would give them a reason to stay planted here at OWU.
This problem originated when the decision was made to include black walnut trees in the college’s landscaping plans. In “Designing a Unified Campus,” it is explained that there is a strategy behind the landscaping plans for college campuses; the tactical placement of trees, flowers, bushes, open grass, and other greeneries is all a part of a system meant to induce certain feelings in the students, such as security...

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