University of South Carolina


Taking another bough!

By Peggy Binette,, 803-777-7704

Studying, sunning and chilling in ENO hammocks take place every day amid the Horseshoe’s trees.

The care of those and all of the 7,700 trees on campus has earned the University of South Carolina the designation as a Tree Campus USA for a fourth consecutive year.

The program began in 2008 and this year nearly 200 campuses have earned the designation.

Tom Knowles, assistant director of landscaping and environmental services, said the care of USC’s trees is deeply rooted in the university’s commitment to sustainability.

“Tree Campus USA recognition continues to help promote Carolina’s urban forest to the entire Carolina community,” Knowles said. “The partnerships that have formed between students, faculty and staff have increased the awareness and the benefits of a healthy tree canopy, especially in an urban area like Columbia.”

Colleges and universities named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation have detailed plans and practices for the management of trees, emphasize the importance of an urban forest to the health of the campus community and foster student service learning activities that are centered on campus forestry.

“Healthy trees provide numerous benefits such as providing wildlife habit, decreasing soil erosion, cleaning the air and cooling people and buildings, not to mention their beauty and stately presence,” Knowles said.

In 2011, USC completed a tree inventory that will help sustain the campus forest for future generations. The university has added 3,700 trees since 2003, including 1,200 trees in 2012.

Knowles said students are dedicated to campus forestry. Students in Green Quad have planted trees and they maintain gardens. Outdoor Recreation, a carbon-neutral facility, has planted a fruit orchard and plants trees each year as part of the university’s landscaping and environmental plan. Outdoor Rec also started the Carolina Community Gardens, a series of raised bed gardens that groups of students, faculty and staff can use to grow their own food. The gardens are located between the Horseshoe and Preston Residential College.

News and Internal Communications

Posted: 05/22/13 @ 4:00 PM | Updated: 05/23/13 @ 8:27 AM | Permalink

Carolina's urban forest

  • 7,700 trees on campus
  • 90+ species
  • 53 trees on the Horseshoe bear markers that honor faculty members

A special tree-o

  • A live oak near Osborne Administration Building is believed to be the oldest tree on campus. It is estimated to be more than 150 years old.
  • A red oak between Petigru and Davis College is believed to be the largest tree on campus. It stands at nearly 100 feet and has a 56 inch diameter and a crown of more than 80 feet.
  • The southern magnolia in front of McKissick Museum was planted in 1954 by the Daughters of the Confederacy to honor Gen. Robert E. Lee.



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