July 16, 2018  

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Overcast, rain, 78.8 °F

University Officials Assessing Branch Break of Friendship Oak

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On Friday morning, the Friendship Oak at The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Park campus in Long Beach suffered a branch break in the same area as the 2016 branch failure. The previous branch failure was determined to be due to recent hurricanes and a lightning strike that occurred post-Katrina.

The current break appears to be the result of heavy new growth and water weight due to the amount of rain received this summer. At this point, the remainder of the tree is healthy and stable. The area has been secured, and the affected branch is supporting itself on the ground. There is a possibility that the branch may be able to remain as it is, once pruning has been performed on visibly broken portions. Only the affected branch will be pruned; no other part of the tree will be removed or altered.

We are consulting with a qualified, certified local arborist who specializes in the preservation of Live oaks to perform a full inspection of the tree. More will be learned and a full preservation plan will be completed within the next month.

Please be reminded that access underneath the Friendship Oak and surrounding area is restricted for the foreseeable future.

To learn more about the Friendship Oak, visit usm.edu/friendship-oak. For additional questions, contact the Southern Miss Physical Plant at 601.266.4414.