Anyone who has ever visited LSUA or the LSU AgCenter Dean Lee Research and Extension Center has probably noticed — and maybe even stopped to snap a photo of — a pair of huge live oaks that stand in a field behind an office building.
The trees are estimated to be between 250 and 300 years old. They’re an icon associated with both LSUA and the LSU AgCenter, appearing on numerous websites and publications.
But the famous oaks have sustained significant damage over the years. And with Louisiana Arbor Day coming up later this month, a group of AgCenter horticulture agents recently decided the timing was right to plant two new southern live oaks near the older trees.
“We felt it appropriate to continue the legacy of these magnificent oaks for this year’s Arbor Day,” said Dr. Tara Smith, director of the AgCenter Central Region. “The current oak trees in addition to our newly planted oaks will be a legacy for the entirety of the LSU community in central Louisiana for years to come.”
Central Region horticulture coordinator Sara Shields and agents Michael Polozola and Keith Hawkins planted the trees, which were donated by a nursery in Forest Hill, on Jan. 6. They took advantage of the occasion to record an instructional video, available online at https://youtu.be/azv0zsRl8Ls, for people interested in planting trees of their own this Arbor Day.
Louisiana celebrates Arbor Day on the third Friday of each January, which falls on Jan. 15 this year.
“January is an ideal month for planting hardy trees in Louisiana for several reasons,” Shields said. “The trees are dormant during this period, we generally receive adequate rainfall and the cooler weather reduces overall stress. The trees will have several months to acclimate before the warmer spring and summer months arrive.”
By Olivia McClure, LSU AgCenter