Cannon Drive’s Budding Beauty

In September 2017, Cannon Drive began to blossom into the version of what we see today. The project, designed to straighten and elevate the roadway, created a certified flood levy, opened 12 acres of developable land and created new green space along the Olentangy River. 

Last month, the green space got a facelift thanks to 25 newly planted trees in conjunction with Earth Day and the university’s Sesquicentennial. 

“We planted 25 trees on each Ohio State campus, totaling 150 in honor of this year’s Sesquicentennial,” said University Landscape Architect Steve Volkmann. 

The Cannon Drive greenspace was the centerpiece for the Columbus campus Sesquicentennial plantings. The 25 trees join an additional 310 trees planted in December 2019. Multiple species line the 18-acre park, including river birch, big leaf magnolia, American elm, hickory, Kentucky coffee and sycamore.

“We had the university’s Tree Advisory Committee weigh in on the tree selection,” Volkmann said. “It all supports the university sustainability goals that include increasing campus ecosystem services by 60% by 2025.”

Stephen Schneider, a landscape planner with Facilities Operations and Development, inspects all saplings to ensure they meet tree grading standards. 

“I try to pick trees that are native and will grow in the area,” Schneider said.

Careful coordination went into the planting process, including the time of year, location in the park, terrain and sun exposure. The saplings are expected to take 20 to 25 years to reach mature growth.