Tree farm cost-effective way to beautify campus

OCCC has a secret it keeps right out in the open — a campus tree farm, located on the western side of campus just off Faculty Drive.

Project Manager Larry Barnes said most who see the farm think it’s just a grove of trees that serves to bring a welcoming environment to the campus but, he said, it has a more important job.

He said the farm was created about 12 years ago to provide trees for landscaping around campus at an affordable cost to the college.

“It was smarter to have our own reserve of trees, than going out and buying one by one,” Barnes said. “It’s more cost effective plus it saves a lot of time.”

After storm damage like the college just recently had or, in one case, when a car hit a tree on campus, a new tree is taken from the farm and set in its place.

Irrigation manager Charlie Neatherlin said most of the trees are native to Oklahoma. The farm consists of oak, bald cypresses, pines, and water oak trees.

“It was easier to get a hold of native trees as far as shipping and cost goes, and they grow well with very little problems,” he said. “It’s more like an outside warehouse of a product, only they’re plants.”

Neatherlin said the trees were bought as baby trees for three to four cents each from the Goldsby National Forestry Reserve just south of Norman.

The trees, located near Facilities Management, are watered for two hours every day from a series of hoses that line each row of trees, Neatherlin said. This method is called a dripline system.

He said the price to run the farm is inexpensive since the reserve’s drip line system runs from an automatic timer making upkeep minimal.

Barnes said currently, there are at least 90 trees in the farm.

“The farm is only one part in a master plan to beautify OCCC.”

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