Orange Grove gets slow renovation

Daily Sundial

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Despite limited funding for care and maintenance, the renovation of six acres of the Orange Grove, preserved by and located at CSUN, is underway.

The renovations will update the irrigation system, from sprinkler irrigation to drip irrigation, for the second time, as well as remove dying trees.

According to Tom Brown, director of Physical Plant Management, renovation is proceeding slowly in the Orange Grove, located at the main campus gate near the corner of Lindley Avenue and Nordhoff Street.

“The raisers were problems,” Brown said about the sprinkler system that has watered the orange grove since its installation following the “Feeling Grovey” festival in 1993, which raised funds for the sprinkler system.

Several of the sprinkler raisers that stand approximately a foot above the ground have been tripped over by students walking in the grove or accidentally knocked off by lawn mowers during routine maintenance, causing them to be semi-functional or inoperable, according to Robert Gohstand, retired geography professor and former chair of the Historic Orange Grove Committee of the Faculty Senate.

The new irrigation system will provide water to between 500 and 600 trees via underground lateral pipes, giving special attention to the tree’s drip line, or area surrounding the base of the tree, according to Brown. This system will present a more direct watering system that will eliminate over-watering or flooding.

The new drip irrigation system installation will start on the west side of the Grove.

It is still unknown, however when the project will be completed.

“(CSUN’s) not managing (its) water,” said Mark Mizarhi, senior history major. Mizarhi, who has been walking through the Orange Grove every day for the past five years. Mizarhi said he has seen the Grove flood from over-watering.

The Orange Grove, consisting primarily of Valencia orange trees, was originally planted in 1929 prior to the construction of what is now CSUN.

When the campus was built in 1956, it inherited the Grove and the responsibility of its maintenance. In 1972, Associated Students deemed the Orange Grove a historic site.

Unrecognized by both Northridge and the state of California as an official historic site, CSUN has the sole responsibility of maintaining and obtaining funding for the Orange Grove.

According to Gohstand, not enough money has been raised to give the Orange Grove the care it needs, yet it is “still worth saving.”

Since CSUN has cared for the Orange Grove, trees have died and been replaced. In 2000, 29 trees were planted to replace diseased and dying trees with money from A.S. Empty holes can now been found throughout the Orange Grove where trees once stood.

PPM plans on filling these holes with new trees in time for commencement in May 2006, Brown said.

Mary-Alexandra Andrusco can be reached at maryalexandra@gmail.com.