UMSL’s Self-Guided “Spring Flowering Tree Tour” Technology is Part of Campus Tree Inventory

    By Kathleen Berger, Executive Producer for Science & Technology

    On the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus, all trees are fully assessed and identified. UMSL ended its 2018 tree inventory with 2,361 campus trees tallied. In 2020, UMSL has approximately 2,400 trees. More were planted while others have been removed in the last couple of years.

    Gregory Ward, UMSL Grounds Supervisor, said tree inventories help land managers create appropriate and proactive plans for tree care.

    Ward obtained a Missouri Department of Conservation TRIM grant for the inventory. The Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant provided funding for TreeKeeper Inventory Management Software by Davey Resource Group.

    Reid Gibson, Project Manager for Davey Resource Group, captured the initial 2,361 trees after he walked the campus for several days in 2018. From pin oaks, crab apples, sweet gums and more, Gibson recorded 53 tree varieties.

    “Tree inventories used to be all paper and pencil. If you wanted to find a tree you had to look through pages and pages, maybe find it or maybe not,” said Gibson. “Now everything is digitized and online. You have a database and you search for specific trees.”

    UMSL’s tree inventory is now available online to the public through Davey TreeKeeper,

    Anyone wondering about a particular campus tree can stop where they are and use the TreeKeeper link. It provides access to a map of all campus trees. Every dropped pin on the campus map is the exact location of a tree and contains information about the tree from the inventory.

    During the spring months, flowering trees are picture-perfect. When curiosity about the blooming trees peak, UMSL hopes onlookers will take advantage of the self-guided “Spring Flowering Tree Tour” option on TreeKeeper. There are almost 400 flowering trees on campus.

    “The yellow icons are the trees that are selected,” explained Ward. “This is really exciting that I can share my love of trees with others, in a setting that isn’t typical.”

    From cherry blossoms to saucer magnolias, Ward said the trees add beauty and play a role increasing air quality by removing harmful particulate matter from the environment. He explained how TreeKeeper helps him assess overall eco-benefits of campus trees. Based on the inventory, the economic benefit is more than $140,000 per year. The total savings include management of property and clean air, as well as a savings on water and energy.

    “We now have real data telling us what this tree is doing for us in terms of eco-benefits and monetary value. Everything from the ground up, including the estimated canopy coverage,” said Ward.

    UMSL Spring Flowering Tree Tour Directions

    Type into your browser.

    On the left hand side look for the magnifying glass icon and click on it.

    A side window will open on the left.

    Click on the pink flowering tree icon.

    Once selected, spring flowering trees will show as yellow dots.

    Each dot can be selected individually for genus, epithet and cultivar name.

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