Knocked wood: Some of the problems of the Church Street elm include large cavities, damaged branches, cracked branches, bee hive.

A Farewell to Elm

Next month a bit more sun will shine on Moravian College’s south campus, following the removal of the large Scotch elm tree on west Church street near Main Hall. After shading Moravians, Bethlehem residents and visitors for more than two centuries, the tree is showing unfortunate signs of its age. Decay in its trunk and leaders, storm damage, large cavities, cracked branches, and other forms of wear-and-tear make the venerable elm a hazard to people, cars and nearby buildings, according to a report by arborists from Bartlett Tree Experts of Dublin, Pennsylvania. They add that the tree’s severely restricted root zone may not be strong enough to keep supporting it. And, unfortunately, there aren’t any accepted arboricultural procedures that could reduce the risk of "tree failure." Rather than wait for the elm to fall at an inopportune moment (or on an inopportune person), the College has decided to remove it in a controlled manner during spring break.