On a drive down Chowning Avenue by the University of Central Oklahoma
campus early last spring, one might have observed the many young trees
planted a couple of years earlier for Arbor Week 2011. However, later in
the season several large evergreen trees suddenly appeared, filling out
the landscape and providing some color, buffering and seasonal interest
to this vast, open median. Where did these trees come from? What is
their story? It is one of value beheld and repurposed for public
In 2006, the City of Edmond purchased the property
housing a J.P. Morgan Chase Bank at Littler and east Second Street.
Adjacent to the City First building, this acquisition added another
space to the downtown municipal complex. Initial plans for the site
included a new drive thru location for Utility Customer Service, but
since purchase the site has mainly served as additional public parking
for the downtown area. Several mature yaupon hollies grew on this site,
surrounding the building, parking areas and drive thru. For seven years
they continued to grow and mature here without disturbance.
2013, groundbreaking for a new Public Safety Center in the downtown
area began. As part of this project, the old bank site across the street
was to be cleared for use in staging materials, and then developed into
a parking lot. The Urban Forestry Department saw value in preserving
the existing, mature yaupon hollies and relocating them to enhance a
more suitable site, rather than removing them outright.
late spring of 2013, a contractor was hired to relocate nine yaupon
hollies from the bank site to the median of Chowning Ave using a tree
spade. Chowning runs north and south along the east side of the UCO
campus. Several years ago, mature Bradford pear trees were removed here
due to a storm water drainage project, and in 2011 the Urban Forestry
Department hosted the City’s first ever Arbor Day tree planting to
reforest the wide median. The relocated hollies were placed among these
plantings and within the areas that were not included in the first phase
of this landscape.
The full canopies of these evergreens
greatly soften the university corridor and diversify the aesthetics of
this young landscape. All of the trees fared exceptionally well during
the summer months and will continue to fill an important role in this
area in need of trees, with a better environment of increased growing
space and resources than their previous home. Shade continues to grow on
this median with the expanding canopies of the deciduous trees planted
in 2011, but now even the winter months see some contrast with the
presence of these mature broadleaf evergreens with their bright red
A tree spade was used to dig up the hollies from their previous site and relocate them to the median.
Here one of the hollies is being placed in its new home in the Chowning median.
A yaupon holly shown at the far left was incorporated into the existing landscape.