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A new Palm Walk arises

First phase of 35 date palms being planted along southern portion of iconic walkway

New palm trees are installed on Palm Walk
July 29, 2016

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Whatever you call the new Palm Walk — revitalization, replanting or replacement — it’s a continuance.

This week Arizona State University began replacing the 110 Mexican fan palms lining iconic Palm Walk with date palms, which provide more shade plus an annual crop of Medjool dates.

The choice was made with an eye toward sustainability, emblematic of the New American University approach to practical problem solving. The work will be done in three phases, with the central and northern sections being replanted in the summers of 2017 and 2018.

Students over the next three years will see the gradual transformation of Palm Walk, in much the same way the Territorial Normal School at Tempe eventually morphed into the university they attend today.

“Freshmen will go through the entire transformation process,” said Byron Sampson, ASU landscape architect. “The freshmen of (2019) will never know it wasn’t this way. It’s kind of cool.”

Landscapers are planting 35 date palms along the southern portion of Palm Walk between the Computing Commons and the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. The first phase of replacement will be complete before students, faculty and staff return in mid-August.

“We have records that date the original palms were planted along Palm Walk to 1917,” Sampson said. “This project is intended to set the tone for the next 100 years.”

Sampson traveled to the Coachella date groves in Southern California earlier this year to hunt for perfect trees that matched.

“It worked out very well,” he said. He went to Coachella and found a perfect grove. “It was almost as if they were grown for this project. ... We know that we can go back to this grove in the future when we do the second and third phase. ... We’re pretty well set to find what we need."

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