When Cameron University added three Arizona cypress trees to campus grounds recently, students of Dr. Mike Husak’s Principles of Biology 2 and Patrick McAnerney’s Plants and Culture classes were on-hand to examine the specimens and learn about how this particular species is suited for the southwest Oklahoma climate.
“The Arizona cypress is a heat- and drought-resistant species that originated in the interior of Mexico and then extended into the southwestern United States, where it is the only native cypress,” Husak says. “It is an ideal choice for this part of Oklahoma, where it will thrive in full sun.”
Planted on the north side of Cameron Stadium, the trees should ultimately mature to a height of 40 to 50 feet with a spread of 25 to 30 feet. The species grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy and well-drained soils. It has normal moisture requirements but displays good drought tolerance. Growing in a pyramidal shape, it works well for Christmas trees and is well-suited for windbreaks and erosion control. The seeds of the Arizona Cypress are consumed by squirrels, ground squirrels and other rodents.
Participating in the tree planting initiative provides students with an opportunity to learn about the benefits of planting trees, including the positive impact on mental health and the importance of caring for the environment.
In addition to Husak’s and McAnerney’s students, members of CU’s Tree Care Advisory Committee were present, including student Wyatt Johnson and John Osborne, assistant director of Physical Facilities.