Good-bye to a grand old tree with deep CALS roots

The Goff Larch, a venerable campus landmark that served as a centerpiece in the Allen Centennial Gardens, fell on Wednesday under the weight of the unwelcome wet, heavy snow.

The tree is featured in “Every root an Anchor: Wisconsin’s Famous and Historic Trees,” authored by arborist Bruce Allison. The tree was transplanted from Door Co. when it was two feet tall in 1899 by Emmett S. Goff, the College’s first professor of horticulture. The tree’s demise wasn’t unexpected, says Bill Hoyt, head gardener at the Allen Gardens. One hundred years is about as long as larches last, and this one’s trunk was decaying. But it will be missed, and not just by garden visitors. The shade-tolerant species that thrived under the tree’s canopy won’t do so well with it gone. The planting scheme will definitely need some rethinking, says Hoyt.