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- University News;
- University News / Commencement
Voorhees Mall Elms Add to Commencement's Ambience
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The stately elm trees on Voorhees Mall contribute to the ambience of the many important events that occur at the heart of the College Avenue Campus at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The 242nd universitywide commencement scheduled May 21 and the Rutgers College convocation the next day are two such occasions.
Most of the American elm trees that grace
the mall and the adjacent Old Queen’s campus date from the turn of the 20th
century. At the time, Bleeker
Place, a New Brunswick
street, cut across the mall. These living antiques were planted on either side
of the road and in a wide grassy median that separated the northbound and
American elms were once common on streets and in parks. They grow quickly, have dense, shady foliage and tolerate compacted soil and less-than-perfect air quality. But while many American cities have an Elm Street, many of those streets lost their elms long ago to a virulent fungus called Dutch elm disease. The disease, which decimated the American elm population beginning in the 1930s, was first identified in the Netherlands in 1921.
Dutch elm is believed to have come to America from Europe in timber from diseased logs. It is spread by elm bark beetles that carry the fungus from diseased to healthy trees when they emerge to feed each spring. The fungus blocks the movement of water in the tree and can be spread through the roots of adjacent trees.
The vintage American elm specimens at Rutgers have been kept green and leafy by vigorous maintenance, a process that continues to this day and includes horticulturally correct methods of timed treatments to help fight the spread of disease.
There are 55 mature elms on and in the vicinity of the mall. Another seven disease-resistant varieties have been planted as replacements.
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