With the help of a few students, the arborists with the Physical Plant Department’s (PPD) Grounds & Landscaping unit planted two Piñon Pine trees, one near the Social Sciences building and the other in the grove just north of Zimmerman Library.

New Mexico’s Arbor Day fell on March 10 of this year, and Alan Billau, lead arborist, felt it important to plant the state’s official tree on The University of New Mexico (UNM) campus to commemorate this day.

New Mexico’s Arbor Day
Alan Billau talks about proper planting techniques with UNM students.

“Trees are an important part of our environment, so I couldn’t think of a more appropriate tree to plant on New Mexico Arbor Day, than the New Mexico Piñon Pine tree,” Billau said.

The Piñon Pine is a native tree to New Mexico and can be seen growing at 4,500 feet up to an elevation of about 8,000 feet. It thrives in our environment because it requires low amounts of water and an arid, sunny climate. The Piñon Jay heavily relies on the nuts from the Piñon tree as a food source and the tree provides shade year-round. Its nuts are even used in New Mexico cuisine.

The UNM campus is home to over 5,000 trees located in the heart of Albuquerque. There are a wide variety of trees ranging in size and age, some saplings and some that are many decades old. Caring for the tree environment on campus is a full-time job, requiring a team of arborists with the expertise to care for a wide variety of species in this unique urban high desert environment.

The arborists at UNM spend time caring for the tree environment, including the planting of new trees which requires planning and care. It is important to maintain the vibrant tree environment for decades to come.  

During the week of National Arbor Day in April, the PPD arborists will host several tree plantings across campus to ensure the future of UNM’s trees. 

The PPD arborists would like to thank Richard Perce and his staff at Satellite Coffee in the UNM Student Union Building (SUB) and the LGBTQ Resource Center for their donations and support of this event for New Mexico’s Arbor Day.