Editorial, Issue 6: Keep SRJC’s heritage oaks healthy


When two trees, weakened by disease, fell down in inclement weather earlier this year, the Santa Rosa Junior College administration decided to remove four more trees due to safety concerns.

Planting more oaks, which SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong says the administration plans to do, is a great idea, but it will be a long time before those trees reach maturity.

The removed oaks suffered from an oak-root fungus that severely compromised their overall health. Time and disease are inevitable, but we at the Oak Leaf remain concerned with preventable factors that affect the future lifespan of our remaining majestic neighbors.

Oak trees’ roots are incredibly vast, spanning up to 70 yards. According to experts, these roots suffer when the soil above them is compacted or becomes too wet.

The administration has announced plans to clear the lawn away from the bases of the remaining oaks to reduce the amount of water they’re inundated with, but with root systems that expansive, it’s just a drop in the bucket for the roots’ health.

Students trample the dirt around them. Cars drive over them. Entire buildings constantly oppress them with their monstrous weight.

We can’t demolish buildings or tear up roads for the sake of the trees at this point, but we can  divert pedestrian traffic around their roots to relieve some stress.

Dr. Chong announced plans to turn the fallen oaks into tables and benches. By encircling living oaks with their fellows, the fallen can protect roots from the strain of thousands of students’ feet and pay tribute to their living comrades.

Until physical barriers can be built, SRJC students should tread softly around the oaks. Take notice of your surroundings and choose other routes. Bask in the shade of other trees on sunny days.

Some of the most prominent trees on campus fell to sickness and wind. We should do our best to preserve the few remaining heritage oak trees.