Wishtree might still be alive

Roots show signs of growth

OPUSD%27s+Wishtree%2C+on+the+corner+of+Calle+Rio+Vista+and+Oak+Hills+Drive+next+to+the+high+school+varsity+softball+field%2C+showed+new+growth+over+the+last+couple+of+weeks+from+roots+deep+down.+This+comes+after+the+tree+fell+during+a+storm+over+winter+break.

Alex Goldbeck/Talon

OPUSD's Wishtree, on the corner of Calle Rio Vista and Oak Hills Drive next to the high school varsity softball field, showed new growth over the last couple of weeks from roots deep down. This comes after the tree fell during a storm over winter break.

After the Oak Park Unified School District’s Wishtree was blown over during a storm over winter break, the future of the tree was uncertain. At the beginning of the semester, the district claimed the tree appeared to be dead. However, recent observations show otherwise.

“During [a] meeting, we noted that there was new growth. We asked our arborist to come by and verify that the tree is indeed still alive and that the growth was not from stored energy in the tree. Based on the amount of the root ball still intact, the arborist thinks the tree may yet live,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jay Greenlinger said.

The meeting was originally planned to find ways to use the limbs of the tree. Since noticing the new growth of the tree, the district is planning to leave the tree intact on its side to see if it can survive.

“After consultation with our arborist, we decided to leave it in place, fill the root hole, and post signs to keep people from climbing it to protect the tree and for the safety of others,” Principal Kevin Buchanan said.

During the storm, some of the tree’s limbs completely broke off. The district planned to cut those portions into rounds and discs for future plaques and other purposes. However, OPUSD is very hopeful about the new growth.

“This reminds me of a quote from the book Wishtree, ‘Sometimes things happen that aren’t so good. When they occur, I’ve learned that there’s not much you can do except stand tall and reach deep,’” Greenlinger said.