Our tax dollars being spent wisely!!!! $100,000 spent on a pistachio tree at ASU.
Mar 17, 3:15 AM EST
Old pistachio tree at ASU Research Park not on state register
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- A 45-foot-tall pistachio tree at the Arizona State University Research Park in south Tempe has cost the school at least $100,000 in special care in 20 years.
A plaque on its 44-inch-wide trunk boasts that the giant tree was once nominated in the early 1980s to be recognized as a "tree of significant shade."
The champion trees listed on the Arizona Register of Big Trees include dozens of other timber giants rooted in Arizona soil: A 28-foot redberry juniper in the Ajo Mountains, a 21-foot jumping cholla in Pinal County, an African sumac with a 115-inch girth in Tucson and others. But no pistachio tree.
To become a champion tree, a botanist or other tree admirer needs to record the tree's circumference (about 4.5 feet from the ground), figure out the height and span of the crown, and then add the numbers together to find the tree's total points.
The information is then submitted to the state register to nominate the tree.
Despite the pistachio's lack of success, the tree has been lavished with attention since the 1990s, when Motorola began constructing a research facility at the site.
ASU facilities manager Dean Hooks said the Mount Atlas tree has been there almost a century, planted in 1908 after ASU botanists brought it back from the Canary Islands.
It has withstood hundreds of monsoon season storms and drought, weathered scratches from squirrels and other creatures, bowed in gusty desert winds and fended off many diseases, aphids and fungi that could debilitate or kill it.
The tree - a male that cannot produce the spicy pistachio nuts - has a botanical illness called slime flux, a bacterial infection that is incurable.
But the gray-leafed, bushy-topped tree continues to grow in breadth and age, thriving in the desert environment.
After spotting the plaque, Motorola adjusted its construction plans so as not to disturb the tree. Hooks made sure that no one parked near it, or put any tables or chairs underneath to preserve its root system.
"One of my duties was watching out for that tree," recalled Hooks, who was the former facilities director for Motorola. "We had a bright orange fence around it, a sign hanging on it. Even after the site was completed, we had an arborist on call 24 hours a day."